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Oh, the heat is so draining! My room is constantly over 30 degrees C and, if only I could sleep with my door to the outside open and have no mozzie nets at the windows, maybe a slight breeze would ease things a little. I write my diary about 5 am each day if possible and, even after a morning shower, I’m in need of a further rinse off.

Thank you for all your emails especially to those who may hope for a reply but the diary tells most of the news. (There are always the little snippets which are best left unprinted!) I hope any which need a reply are dealt with but a nudge is always helpful.

Tuesday and a field day with Ruth. George, our driver with the pickup, came to pick me up with three wheelchairs tied in the back. On reaching town, we bought two bicycles to add to the chairs and called in to see how Adongo was getting on selling the clothes we had left with her in November. She had sold all except some second hand pants and a stained blouse of Michele’s which I immediately recognised. The pants I will discard but the rest I shall leave to the less discerning peasants. She had made a profit of an impressive 110,000/= which she had banked. What next? She would like a bale of children’s clothes but this would be 700,000/= so we came to a deal and I gave her the money but I expect a return of 10% in November. This negotiation reminded me of a TV programme back home not that I am in the same league as the highly successful business persons who sometimes offer a deal to entrepreneurs. I then visited the prison to organise the Dentaid clinic in June with the Deputy Prison Officer. One of the prisoners who had promised to make for me a beaded purse was soon at the gate offering me the purse through the bars but I had emptied my pockets before entry. He would add my name if I told him but I declined the offer!

Finally, we set off south and into a more Muslim area where the names are so different to give out the chairs and bikes for those we had identified at our Kakoro clinic on 7 March. Firstly, Fasi Musea with hydrocephalus and a club foot was given her wheelchair which fitted perfectly. Kyazike was next, a 29 year old with Spina Bifida and a leg amputation, who was waiting for a tricycle which are pending arrival…but when? She was an active lady with her hands making rugs and crocheting a wide range of items with the minutest of crocheting needles. I invested in some of her items and I am sure I was her best ever customer but surely support must encourage more enthusiasm. She had completed a tailoring course so a sewing machine (hand-operated) would give yet another string to her bow and she may even find the days and weeks too short! I will allot this lady and her project to one of my donors. Angulo received his wheelchair and Akol was given his bicycle so he could be ridden to school instead of struggling along for over a mile morning and evening by walking with his pole, falling frequently and lagging well behind the others. Adeu, a Downe’s Syndrome tiny tot who captured my heart, needed parallel bars so long poles were cut down from nearby bushes with the panga and soon the bars were constructed, Adeu stood up and, with encouragement, will soon be mobile. Something so simple can achieve so much! Babira was a 3 year old twin born without arms. She could write with her toe but this was causing contractures in one leg which would prevent her from walking in the future. I did not know the best way forward for her so we referred her to the Dutch Orthopaedic team who may know of a possibility to help her. It hurts me to think of these children who, because of their country of birth, are denied such possibilities available to others. The last wheelchair was designated for Muhammed, a 14 year old with a muscle wasting disease. He could barely hold out his hand to greet me and I know the chair will ease his situation for now. Lastly, was Mwamino, a delightful 9 year old hydrocephalus child who I shall remember for a long time. Why? Because as we drove along to give her the bicycle, the vehicle made an alarming whistle and ground to a halt in the middle of nowhere. George, our driver and a miracle worker on engines, was even flummoxed but he worked out that fuel wasn’t getting through and perhaps the rats had eaten the wire casing. We were stuck with the bike and Mwamino and mother! To cut a long story short and after many phone calls, Sikko, Kumi Hospital farm manager, and Hassan, hospital engineer, turned up to give us a tow which entailed many miles over bumpy tracks, culverts, potholes and taking what seemed like many hours. What about the bike and child though? A boda boda passed by and he kindly took the mother, child and bike back to their home for a mere 3,000/= (60p). Difficult to explain and I hope I have a photo to demonstrate that the child sat in front, then the rider, then the bike astride the saddle with the mother on the rear holding on to the bicycle for dear life and off they wobbled into the distance out of sight but you may rest assured not forgotten. Mwamino can now be taken to nursery school by bike rather than be carried.

Back at the Guest House at last. The full moon was high in the sky and we were all tired and filthy. I was past hunger but I enjoyed first a cup of tea and then a Bell’s beer. Two soaping sessions under the shower were needed and a hair wash could wait till morning. Planning for the next day was deferred and surely I would remain disorganised for the rest of the week.


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