TUESDAY 12 MARCH 2019
What had I eaten that upset my stomach? Should I venture into the unknown? Thanks to my comprehensive medicine box, I popped the pills and all went well for the day. Phew!
Home visits with Ruth in Soroti today and I knew she would get every ounce of energy and every shilling in my purse out of me and I was right. En route and driving through the main street in Kumi Town, we saw a large crowd of people and so we presumed there had been a fight or an accident. We were right as a large car, perhaps a Prado, had entered one of the small shopping units. Due to the density of the people, I saw no more than the roof of the car. However, firstly, we needed to buy the mattress and have it covered in waterproof material for Emma. The cover would be made on a sewing machine by a tailor who sat outside the material shop. Cost to make was 1000/= (25p).
Ruth had arranged for five amputees for us to see; four youngsters and one, Asio aged 30. Three of the children were as a result of road traffic accidents and one was diabetic. They could all have prostheses made by the next day! I suggested to Omule, the 12 year old boy, that he took up football once he had two legs and I threw him one which I had been given by Aby and had had blown up. I am sure you can guess his reaction! We visited the home of Asio, a dark room she rented and lived there with her small child. She tried to make a living selling very small sachets of groundnut paste which she made up herself but she must have earned a mere pittance if anything at the end of each day. She was happy to receive some little support to increase her stock with some small fish and tomatoes as well as a bag of charcoal and let’s pray that this will improve her existence. I suggested she fried the fish to sell but Ruth explained that there was still a stigma with people with disabilities and customers would shy away. She was also behind with her rent for this miserable room so we sorted that out as well. I only hope her neighbours are not jealous.
Now we would start our home visits. Once again, Ruth had grouped three children to save time for us. Anyango, a 4year old spina bifida, bright enough to attend school in the future, Auro, a 2 year old floppy CP, and Ocana, a 21 year old paraplegic born normal but suffered paralysis when 4 years old following a fever and had never walked since. He would receive a tricycle when our consignment arrived.
We visited the home of Ilili a 3 year old with defaulted club feet, and her mother, 35 year old Aneba, who was paralysed apart from slight shoulder shrugging. She was carried out of her hut each day and was propped up against the mud wall and was basically cared for by her aged and shrunken mother of indeterminate age. Another heart-rendering situation for us to contend with? Our plan was to take her a wheelchair next week and, after entering her hut where she slept and finding she lay on an old reed mat next to her mother who slept on the earth, we would provide them both with mattresses. On leaving the home, we were joined by the husband who would bring the goods home on a boda boda.
We had two more homes to visit before leaving; Inovo, an 8 year old with general body weakness following a fever at 3 years. Ruth will construct parallel bars for her to practice standing and walking. Eribu was a 2 year old suffering from severe malnutrition and with skinny arms and legs and prominent ribs. The mother could not afford to bring the child to the hospital but our fund would pay for transport, food and hospital bills.
Back to the material shop where we collected the mattress with waterproof cover for Emma and bought two mattresses for Aneba and her old mother. She also got a pillow (£2.50) to lean against the brick wall each and every day and a mat (£2.00) instead of rags to sit on. I am writing this on Wednesday morning (5 am) and I can imagine the comfort those two experienced last night.
That was the completion of a successful day and I’m so grateful to Ruth for her preparations in spite of my moans! We were filthy and dust covered our clothes and sweaty skin. The shower was warm and a cup of tea was welcome.