Mario contracted polio when he was five. He had high fevers and never walked again after that. He spent nearly eight years crawling anywhere he needed to go until someone donated a wheelchair to him.
Mario is now 49 and lives in Piedra de Agua, El Sauce: “When it was raining and I had to go out to take care of my necessities in the old latrine, the wheelchair often got stuck in the mud. I had to yell until someone could come and help me. It was very sad.”
When the community members approached us and asked for support to build 25 new latrines, they told us about Mario. We were able to work with the makers of the latrine shells to create a sliding door on a bigger shell to make the latrine wheelchair accessible; we also worked with the family to pave a path from the home to the latrine so Mario would no longer get stuck in the mud. The inside design was modified as well to include a bench for transferring from the wheelchair to the seat.
Mario wrote a note on the door that says, “Thank you, brothers at El Porvenir, for making my dream come true due to my disability.”
“This latrine works for me for my needs. It doesn’t matter if it rains, I can get my wheelchair into the latrine, and I have a seat where I can sit and do my necessities with ease,” he says with a big smile.