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DAY 22 TUESDAY 26 MARCH 2019 I detected a slight change in the air which may lead to cooler conditio

DAY 22

TUESDAY 26 MARCH 2019

I detected a slight change in the air which may lead to cooler conditions or maybe not, I’m no meteorological expert. Breakfast beckoned but my hard boiled egg turned out to be off! My visitors, however, were for real and the first was a dog which jumped down the wall of the hut with a juicy golden chicken in its mouth presumably dead as there was no squawking nor clucking to be heard. Then came Gerard Moses, the blind man, Okello born with no feet, Vivian with her newly born baby, and Okirion who I had wanted to call. Peter, our driver, drove up and I had to leave them all but no need for me to wonder why they had come as I could easily read their minds!

Today was my penultimate home visit day with Ruth at the helm and she certainly steered us to pastures new. What will this girl come up with next? She has a plan and somehow I have an inkling that she will persevere until she attains her target. Time will tell and it won’t be in the near future!

With seven patients on her list for the day and before we had left the town of Soroti, we stopped to see Enachu, a 6 year old athetoid cerebral palsy boy and yet another to capture my heart. He would learn to walk albeit in a very ungainly fashion if given the chance and so Ruth would make him parallel bars and then the hospital would probably provide him with a wooden walker funded by the KCF. (I have some plastic balls which I won as first prize at our weekly coffees after our Sunday Mass raffle. It is usual to choose the bottle of wine and there was disbelief when I took the net bag of balls and how glad I’ve been as they have come in so useful for hand mobility!) Enachu had fun copying everything his brother did with his ball and we left them scurrying after their balls and giggling away together. Achen, Aleu, Olinga and Akedo, all with cerebral palsy and in need of wheelchairs. (Photo of Acheu, a 16 year old girl with a twin in Secondary School and me!)

Gaptos, aged 12, was at school and, when he heard the vehicle arrive, (probably the first vehicle of the term at the school), he hopped along at good speed with his one leg and a wooden pole. He had been born with a deformity of his lower limb and the family had made the difficult decision to have his leg amputated but the cost had been too great so Opio was destined to keep his leg. Our plan is that on 15 April he will attend the clinic run by the visiting Dutch Orthopaedic team for amputation. After a few months, he will have a prosthesis fitted and he will be able to run, play football, ride a bike and have a life like other lads his age. I found it difficult, not making the decision as the family was already decided but to realise the boy’s maturity in such a choice.

On the roadside, we met as planned by Ruth a four month old, Amuge, who had been born with a syndrome resulting in abnormal facial features and hands and feet. Would the plastics team consider this child for surgery to improve the functional activities of the hands? I did not know so I shall forward photos to Interplast UK for advice. The father also had a congenital deformity and we had previously supplied him with a tricycle which was wearing well apart from the cushion and seating which we would take in for repair in the back streets of Soroti.

Finally, Ameu, a 4 year old CP boy in need of a CP chair, was our last child and we planned for him to be admitted to the Nutrition Unit and to have daily physiotherapy and a CP chair.

Homeward bound along the newly tarmacked road from Moroto to Soroti meant less dust but the inevitable speed bumps which went on for mile after mile after mile. Back in Kumi, I had my skirt to collect from Mary, the tailor, my phone to top up and one final duty for the day which was to take another bag of Afripads to the Women’s Refuge Shelter run by Action Aid on the outskirts of Kumi Town. Each mother would be given a homemade bag with panties and a pack of Afripads.

Back at the GH, my washing was billowing in the breeze and needed bringing in and folding neatly so that no ironing was necessary and put away. A quiet evening lay ahead once the morning’s visitors had returned and left. I ate alone and cleared the bowls of boiled rice and greens having had only a donut for my lunch.

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