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A day with Rose from the Nutrition Unit lay ahead but I started the week by walking to the hospital to meet the new Workshop Manager, Benjamin who, I’m hoping, will be dynamic and be able to transform the workshop to its former glory. If only the team could be trained in making prostheses, the workload of the department would increase considerably and with it its income. Fingers crossed!

Little Godsgrace on the children’s ward was not so well this morning and her mother was concerned with her condition. Then we were all ready to set off for the field and whatever lay ahead for us.

On these days, we visit the homes of Rose’s discharged patients to see if they have maintained their progress. On admission, the babies and children are in a weak state of malnutrition but after a few weeks of education, medical and nutritional care, they can flourish well and be able to return home. Ruth, however, does not know the home situation and so she finds it useful to see for herself if the home facilities are adequate or as happens sometimes the children need to be readmitted.

We were off to Koreng and beyond which seemed to be an interminable drive along the murram road from Kumi Hospital. As the child’s home address is given as a village and parish, there is little information as to how to find a mud hut in the middle of nowhere. After many enquiries, we finally found the home of Okel, a two year old who was active and looking healthy although still small as was her mother. Next was Adongo who weighed only one kilo at birth and was now two years and looking well. Tukei was a six year old brain damaged boy and a handful for his mother. He had been given a Wheels for the World wheelchair in 2017 but the cushions were not in a good state and the mother had used pillow cases to cover them which I thought to be a good idea. Ojoo and Omoding were healthy looking twins vying for the best seat for breast feeding on their mother’s lap. An armful indeed! Asekenye was a five year old hydrocephalus child who was brought to our attention by a neighbour. This girl needed medical attention and so the mother will bring her to the Nutrition Unit for urgent help. The mother had a most strange hair style and I can imagine her as she sat under the eaves of the thatch roof while a neighbour created this style of braiding. Different to say the least. Finally, we went to see Faith where there so many inquisitive children from every direction. An old man of 87 was at the home with a stool of ingenious design which he had bought, snapped open and sat on. He must have been a man of a certain level of education as his ability to speak a little English was better than most.

Somehow, we were all so tired which we put down to the intolerable heat. The sweat dripped off our hair, faces and bodies and I never felt clean. We were ready to set out on the long drive back and, for me, a rest but, no, the youngsters now know what I have in my tin trunk and were round as soon as they saw me on my porch. Straight in to my tin of Dobble cards and the box of crayons and some drawing paper and how different to watch them play compared with the children we saw today with absolutely nothing to amuse themselves. Those who are able and from about the age of four are expected to fetch water, hoe the crops, collect firewood with time for little else. They can climb trees to pick ripe and unripe mangoes but mainly sit around and poke the sand with a stick. Now I was deafened by the happy chatter and could only wish that all children around the world could play and be satisfied with the simple things of life.


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