Wed | Jan 16, 2019

Legless man gets motorless cycle

Published:Thursday | June 30, 2016 | 12:00 AMCarl Gilchrist
Clive Lewin on his personal emergency transportation.


Almost 20 years ago, Clive Lewin, aka 'Chuku Man', of Fern Grove, Ocho Rios, was an established electrician working to support himself and his family. Then one day while he was on a utility pole working, tragedy struck.

'Hotline' work mi did a do. Mi deh 40 feet inna di air a work pon a 12,000 volt, a change over some wire and lean back pon it," Lewin told Rural Xpress.

With his body serving as a conductor, thousands of volts surged through his body.

"Ah it burn mi foot them," Lewin pointed out.

He lost both legs, one above the knee and the other below it. His life changed dramatically and he was confined to a wheelchair.

Over the years, persons in Ocho Rios have become accustomed to seeing Lewin on the streets in his wheelchair going about his business.

He still worked as an electrician and would take a taxi, with wheelchair in trunk, to do a job and return home

Around three years ago, his mode of transportation changed.

The Building Bridges Medical Mission, based in Kansas City and collaborating with the Rotary Club of Ocho Rios, has been visiting Jamaica for several years, offering free medical, dental and optical care.

Three years ago, the team brought the first personal emergency transporter (PET) to Jamaica, a motorless three-wheel cycle that allows movement through pedalling by hand.

Lewin was the first recipient.

"It tek me any weh mi waa go. It a serve mi well, mi appreciate it," he said of the tricycle.

He still uses the wheelchair sometimes.

"When mi get jobs, long distance, mi can fold it up and put it in a car."

Yes, he still does electrical work, even though jobs are slow.


Still has needs


But Lewin explained that he needs a new wheelchair as the current one, which is several years old, is in a poor state with the wheels almost completely bare of rubber.

Lewin says he has been promised a motor for the PET and he is eagerly awaiting its installation.

In the meantime, he hand- pedals around the resort town, armed with a horn to give him clearance on the streets at times.

"Mi have a little horn, when dem waa block road pon mi, mi blow," he said with a laugh.

Meanwhile, Pixley Irons of the Rotary Club of Ocho Rios says the club currently has one PET waiting to donate.

"Building Bridges from Kansas City have brought one PET each year for the past three years and we currently have one that we are seeking to distribute," Irons revealed.

The PET is reserved for persons who have lost both legs.

Irons also disclosed that after the donation to Lewin, the Rotary Club had to build a ramp that now enables him to pedal straight into his house.

The Building Bridges Medical Mission has been visiting Jamaica for over a decade, their last trip being in March 2016.