KUMI COMMUNITY FOUNDATION FEBRUARY 2020 DIARYMonday 17 February 2020The locusts have arrived in their thousands but the people go out with drums, tin cans, and scream out; anything that will make a terrific noise to prevent the insects from settling on the ground and laying their eggs. So far, so good and may it keep that way! Monday morning, over 80 degrees F and my last full week for this visit. We have no available hospital driver so we racked our brains and came up with Alex who worked here as a driver for many years and he is, at present, in Kumi town. Today, Robinson, Harriet’s son, is celebrating his 3rd birthday by having a party at nursery school. We took a cake with candles and sodas and he even had a party hat to wear! How different this is from the lives of the peasant farmers we shall be visiting today who do not often know the year of their children’s birth let alone the day. We were to start in Kanyum by driving along the new road which will bypass Mbale and make our journey to Entebbe Airport even faster when it is completed by the Arabs. I can’t wait! Arriving at the home of Peter Opio, our volunteer, we met a small group of children with disabilities and their guardians which Peter had assembled for an informal clinic. Each one had its individual problem and we heard of husbands chasing their wives away on the birth of a child with a disability, others who had left their wives to find another woman, another woman who had five children living and five had died. Little Deogratias was a month old twin with a congenital condition while her twin brother was normal. She had lobster claw feet and hands which could be improved for function if she has surgery and so she will go down on the Interplast list for October. One mother with a CP child had one more year to do to complete a tailoring class so on our next day in this area, I plan to visit the school and we may complete her schooling for that year. One of the Gluteal Fibrosis post op girls came and it was encouraging that she had made an excellent recovery. Akol Grace was 49 and HIV +ve, her treatment had been adjusted and she had lost her sight. With our little clinic complete, we gave out balloons, clothes etc and then entered Peter’s simple house to eat lunch prepared on wood stoves by three of the women. We continued our programme and saw twelve children but the saddest was number 13. Mwanike John, aged 20 had been normal until he was ten months old and then, following cerebral malaria, had suffered severe brain damage. We found him staring up at the sky and his body contorted. This is his life, day in, day out, and cared for by his mother, a teacher, who was understandably depressed. If we had found him but a week before, he could have come to Kumi Hospital for a wheelchair and taken advantage of the sleep system, a method of supported lying to allow for relaxation of the twisted body. A wheelchair stood nearby which had been given out by a Ugandan church charity but it was totally unsuitable for John. The tyres with inner tubes were flat so it had been abandoned. Such a waste of resources! This was the second of these chairs with flat tyres we had seen today and seeing these makes me realise what a very special charity Wheels for the World is with its dedicated therapists ensuring that the wheelchair is suitable for that patient. We finished our day satisfied with our work with IGP’s given in the form of goats, salt and bars of soap given to each family and some clothes, balloons and lollipops! A quick shower on returning home and off to friends in town for supper which was a pleasant way of ending the day.
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