Another day of dust and dirt and the last home visit day until my return in October. Peter, the driver, Harriet and I were meeting up with Peter, our mobiliser, once again. Let’s use their Ugandan names to prevent confusion so it is Ogwapus, the driver, and Opio, the mobiliser.
We started at Opio’s home in Kanyum where he had about four mothers with their children already assembled for us to meet. This does save time and travel but the down side is that we don’t see the individual home conditions. We started with Eboit, a 6 year old boy with challenging behaviour and among the most difficult to come up with a plan. He could crawl at a fast pace but, with parallel bars, he could learn to stand and walk so Opio will construct these at the boy’s home. I doubt the grandmother will be delighted when he is more mobile as he will be an even greater handful. He was cared for by his grandmother as the mother had abandoned him. These grandmothers really are the salt of the earth!
The mother of Wandere, a 16 month old floppy CP child, had been “impregnated” while still at school, the parents threw her out of the home, the family of the father of the child would not accept her and so she had found an old woman in a trading centre who took her and her baby in. The girl, now 19 years, had completed two terms of a tailoring course and had another four to go but this was now not in her reach. We are considering what we can do to help her and surely finishing off the course she had started would be a sensible option.
Atodo was a 10 year old boy with a serious infection in the right side of his chest wall which needed attention. We referred him to the Dutch team who will be in KH in April. None of these families can even afford the transport so we need to help them in more than just paying the hospital bills.
Another child in need of parallel bars followed and then Malinga, a 13 year old with neglected club feet. When he was born, the nurse at the Health Clinic told the mother to soap the feet well and they would sort themselves out. This demonstrates that education is lacking so much and that bad advice is worse than none at all. There was little that we could do apart from offer him a bicycle for him as his school was two miles away from home and walking was a struggle. He borrowed a bike to demonstrate that he could ride, mounted it and set off but unfortunately the bike had no brakes so he hurtled off into the distance managing to keep upright until he finally stopped. We will buy him a new bike with a perfect braking system.
No one knew how old Olupot was but he looked about 12 but oh so sick. He had never attended school and none of us could identify his problem with any confidence. On examination, his hip movements were restricted but I hope to attach a movie clip where his scapulae are so prominent. Lack of a good diet and malnutrition could be a contributory cause. We referred him also to the Dutch orthopaedic team next month.
A couple more children; a CP and a Downe’s Syndrome and we were done! We passed Kamacha P/S where we are coming on Friday to tweak our time table as these last few days are becoming crammed with too many things. Then guess what, a few large raindrops landed on the windscreen! Could this be the start of something big? We continued to Kumi with no more precipitation but then, entering the hospital road, there was a flash of lightening followed immediately by the crash of thunder and the heavens opened and emptied themselves upon the thirsty earth. What joy! I scrambled into the GH leaving all my things behind as these could wait until walking even just a few steps was possible. The power was off which was to be expected but the air was fresh. The rain was deafening, a river flowed along the path and the thunder rumbled for an hour or so more.
As I sat and wrote this with my door open, I watched a young man in an orange vest being dragged by the cow with the enormous horns and having his other arm almost dislocated by the cow coming up behind.
I had a supper date with Hanneke, Ouke and Anna who leave Kumi permanently on Friday and return to live in the Nederlands. Ogwapus and his wife, Teddy, who works in the bakery with Hanneke invited us to join their family for a meal. They live in the staff quarters with their five children. The food was laid out in more abundance than they would normally ever have but having visitors is a great event for them. It was a very pleasant evening with the children playing with balloons with great gusto. The rain returned and so we waited for a gap before returning home for the night. The temperature in my room has reduced to 27.8 degrees C and is so much more tolerable!