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Day 4 of Wheelchair Distribution

  1. KUMI COMMUNITY FOUNDATION FEBRUARY 2020 DIARYTuesday 11 February 2020Day Four of the WFTW wheelchair distribution and the storeroom is looking sparse of stock. Back at the Guest House, Mr and Mrs Obwongo sat very patiently on my porch while I busied myself with the day’s requirements. His patience was thinning though as, while I was eating my breakfast, I could see him pacing outside the window hoping this would attract my attention. Finally, I succumbed, unlocked the door and emerged to be greeted warmly by the couple who were bearing gifts to soften my heart in exchange for new trousers to replace the ragged ones he was wearing for him, a blouse for her. I was presented with a small bag of groundnuts, two oranges, many lemons but this did nothing for me as I know they have very many clothes donated from visitors to the Guest House. In the end, we went around to the back of the house to ask Anne and Grace to tell them in their native language about my clothes situation and how I leave them here for my next visit. At the wheelchair distribution centre in the hospital workshop, the stock was well reduced and fewer hopeful recipients were waiting. However, after the morning devotion of much prayer, singing and dancing, activity commenced and, once again, how humbling it was to witness those with disabilities being carried in; young and old. There was an opportunity for me to visit the ward to see Christine, the girl who came with severe pressure sores. She had been admitted to Ojikhan Ward where she lay on her bed so patiently and with nothing to keep her amused. The nurses were dressing the large wounds and maybe there is hope that she will not have to undergo extensive surgery after all as the healing process was underway and the sores were looking somewhat healthier. The father was so grateful for this opportunity for his daughter and, if they had not come for a wheelchair, she would have continued to deteriorate each day. The team have clubbed together to pay the hospital bills and to provide the food for them both so he can rest assured that the lack of money is an issue. We left her with a white teddy bear of which she was wary – friend or foe? Some team members, new to rural African life, were keen to visit the “outside world” so Neil, Sue and I ventured out starting at Wiggins School where we deposited the mattress which we had now covered with waterproof material for Moses. We continued with Ruth and to visit a couple of families near Omatenga, a centre near the lake and ferry which takes passengers to Toroma in Katakwi. Passing through, the trading centre, we met Amiriat Sikola, mother to Ikuret James Peter, with the sewing machine we had bought her last year. She had been chased away from her home by her husband and had settled near the lake where she could make a small income from selling her work. How warm was her greeting, full of gratitude for the sewing machine and such a good mother to JP who sat in a wooden CP chair we had given her three years ago. JP had grown and the footrest needed adjustment so how good that Neil was with us with his toolkit which reminded me of our Queen who always carries a handbag whereas Neil always had his box of tools! Soon, he had an audience watching the joinery being done and soon JP could sit with his feet well supported again. Sikola had a friend with a similarly brain damaged child, Amongin Mercy, who was born normal but had a fever when 3 years old which resulted in the brain damage. We walked to the lakeside and sat with Mercy lying on the ground outside a few iron sheeting sheets which formed her lakeside café. Her mother had taken her to Atutur Hospital where the physio had taught her good sitting practice and so here was our first candidate for the wheelchair list in the hope that WFTW will send another container in a couple of years. How pleasant to experience the cool fresh air of the lake and we were reluctant to move. Driving back, a tall young man of about 20 years waved us down. We soon realised he was deaf and dumb as he tried desperately to make himself understood. He handed us a list of tools he would like which would enable him to earn a living and this would change his life. We could not enquire if he had had training but we can presume he had. Here was a slight chance for him and the more I think about him, the more I am convinced he is one to help. Then, out of the blue yesterday, I received an email offering a small donation to consider buying, amongst other things, tools! Let’s give this endearing young man this opportunity! Next, we drove to the home of Adeke Susan, a 12 year old who lay outside the mud hut, unresponsive and face down next to her aging grandmother. The mother quickly picked her up and took her to a plastic bowl where she stripped Susan, washed her thoroughly, put on her probably one and only almost decent dress and put her in a wheelchair she had been given many years ago. The family was HIV +ve and struggling to survive so Neil and Susan gave them some money to buy some food and we provided funding for a goat. One more person to visit to deliver the wheelchair we had taken. We reached the home after asking many local people the way to find 80 year old Emima Joice who had not been out of her hut for, they say, thirty years! She lived with an equally old woman and heaven knows how they survived day to day. A neighbour’s daughter came to lift her out of the hut and how pale she looked! Her skin drooped in folds, empty of flesh and she was a pitiful sight. Neil’s tool box came out again to adjust the chair and soon we left her to hopefully see some daylight each day. The situation was not perfect as the chair could not be wheeled into the hut but, at least, she could be brought out by her willing young neighbour. That was it, homeward bound, but I was dining at NEV as Dave and I needed to sort out various invoices but the team was not back. A lorry with twenty-five wheelchair candidates had broken down en route to the hospital and had only arrived in the afternoon. I showered with the cockroaches, drank a beer and waited. The team had continued with its work well after daylight had gone and came back so tired and hungry that any idea of settling down to financial matters were soon put aside. Another day!

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