KUMI COMMUNITY FOUNDATION FEBRUARY 2020 DIARYThursday 20 February 2020“I’ve learnt more in one day here than in a whole year at university!” said the German Medical Student joining us for the outreach clinic.Tuesdays and Thursdays used to be Outreach Clinic days here in Kumi Hospital but, sadly, there is no funding and the one planned before today’s was in Amuria in November when we funded the day and identified and helped nearly 300 people. That was a tough day and so let’s hope for an easier but fruitful clinic. A team of eight squeezed into our car and set off for Amuria, far north from Kumi and about a two hour drive along badly potholed roads. In Asamuk, we passed the old Kumi Hospital leprosy satellite colony where hundreds of leprosy sufferers will have lived far, far away from the community. I had previously visited the houses with their cells resembling that of a prison with a concrete slab for a bed and I could sense the history living above and below ground. It was cold and it brought it home to me how stigmatised these wretched people were. All ages, all faiths, all professions rich and poor. The common factor was leprosy where they were to live isolated from all others until death brought them comfort at last. Arriving at St John the Evangelist Church in Amuria town, we were warmly greeted by Fr Martin and, after a breakfast of tea, bread and banana, we set up our clinic in his church where many people were waiting but, thankfully, not the hoards as last time. Eyes were to the right and we were to the left and our first little boy presented with a severe case of bilateral genu valgum (knock knees) which required surgery. Fortunately, we are able to finance a certain number of surgeries for such children and this family could rest assured that the lack of money would not be a hurdle for them. The children came one by one and we were so pleased to see again little Shadrak, a child with brittle bones who had received a WFTW wheelchair earlier this month. The mother was so happy and proud to show us the small colouring book which he had coloured with his crayons. Shadrak looked glum but, having inflated a balloon and playing ball with another lad, I was pleased that he soon joined in and became quite expert with his weak arms. As time passed, he started propelling the wheelchair with the large wheels and independently joined in the balloon game. Motivation is what Shadrak needs and sitting at home alone while his siblings are at school will not help. Another one for my school funding? It would be so good as he is a bright boy with no future without help. The patients came and went; a girl with a Perthes hip who needed surgery so she was added to the KCF list. Ikwenyu Mary, a large 16 year old who had an infection when 3 years old and had been brain damaged since, was such a burden to carry everywhere and her aged father struggled to carry her out and lift her with help on to the boda boda. She is yet another name on the WFTW list but, by buying a wheelchair from Kampala, she could be helped very much sooner. The ladies came into the church to ask if we would like our lunch but we told them that we would come when the last person had been seen. This was an old man with long spindly legs who arrived late and apologised as it had taken him long to get there. He shuffled in on his bottom and sat on the ground looking so forlorn. His tricycle was old and almost beyond repair but, as we had succeeded last week to restore one worse than this, we thought three new wheels and tyres, mud guards and a bit of welding would suffice and we left Fr Martin to oversee the operation and to inform us on completion. To see the gratitude on the man’s face was all that was needed to complete the day for me. I couldn’t imagine this man was ever an upright, tall human being until he suffered most likely from polio which had left him folded up in three sections like a piece of paper. A late lunch was welcome and, with our stomachs full and a meeting with the ladies’ done, we set off home and filled with memories of the day. Guilia, the German medical student had enjoyed the experience of working with Antony, the physiotherapist and Ruth.