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  1. KUMI COMMUNITY FOUNDATION FEBRUARY 2020 DIARYFriday 21 February 2020Soroti today with Ruth and Julia (English translation), the German medical student, and with Peter back at the wheel of the car. Before we reached the town, we branched off to return to the home of Ipedu Vivian where Ruth had constructed parallel bars to enable her to stand and walk. She proudly showed us how she could walk and, in her native language, “I can even run!” She would soon walk independently and then she will attend school, an opportunity she could not hope for before the bars. Today, we were catching up with Martha, my “Ugandan daughter”, who has done so well in her education and is starting her career in journalism. I know she will achieve great heights in the future. She would join us for the rest of the day before returning to Kampala on the night bus. After reaching the town and buying a few commodities, we continued to Independence Park where we were met by Alajo Esther, a confused woman in a wheelchair and with VVF who requested (maybe demanded) a tricycle. She was not a suitable candidate for one so we took her details and told her there was a long waiting list of two to three years which pacified her somewhat. A mother was waiting with her two daughters, Akurut Martha and Agoyo Tabitha who we had seen last year. Martha, who had had her leg amputated following a snake bite had grown and needed a new leg, her mother claimed, but if every growing amputee requested a new limb every twelve months, we could not cope. The difference in leg length was not even half inch. The second girl had hip pain which did not need ignoring so, as we were going to Soroti Hospital, we referred her to the rehab department for assessment and a possible x-ray. We had gone to the hospital to visit a severely malnourished girl. We checked with the Sister to find that she was slowly gaining weight but 9 kg for a girl of 9 years was too low. On to visit Betty Adongo, the blind girl in Madera School for the Blind to collect a Braille letter for her UK sponsor. She was sitting in P7 class looking so grown up. When we took her on, it took three years in P1 before she would speak. Now she stood up in front of her classmates to sing beautifully for us. No wonder she is leader of the school choir! Martha had hoped to visit her old school, Madera Girls School, but she was refused entry because her jeans were too tight! So much for becoming a Kampala girl! Abinyo Josephine had been 14 years when she had her leg amputated following a gun shot wound and she was now 20 years. Her leg was amputated due to infection and she had never had a new limb. She had completed her primary education and had no opportunity to go further but she would like to be considered for a tailoring course. We went to one school to find she needed secondary level but they directed to another school where she will be registered next week. At the end of the course, if completed, we will buy her a sewing machine and all the requirements and she can start her own business. Continuing with our programme, we left Soroti up the Lira road and found Ayeno Betty aged 37 and a mother of eleven children waiting at the road junction. Her leg had been amputated six years ago following a snake bite and she was hoping for a new limb. This would be arranged and, after a few words with her husband, he bent down in the long grass to pick up a cockerel which was presented to me. It is times like this that I feel so humble but a gift must be received gratefully or I would cause offence. Branching off the Lira road, we continued to Michael Econyu’s home where we found him with his family; a mother who was a widow and who had had a stroke, a brother and sister with a form of dwarfism as did Michael. Over the years, we have sent Michael to Secondary School and on an engineering course to enable him to start up a small motorcycle repair business in Soroti town. We constructed a simple house and he was now independent. He married last year and his wife gave birth to a baby boy, Robert, similarly inflicted with his father’s condition. Last month, Rebecca gave birth to a baby girl, Elizabeth, who is normal. Mother and baby were staying at her home with her parents and we would visit. We set off expecting perhaps a few kilometres but it was far and, finally, we had to “foot” the last part as the vehicle could go no further. Just the next big tree, we were told, but, like a mountain range, there was always one more. Finally, we arrived and Michael proudly showed us his new baby. The family has accepted him into their family which is a relief to me. Time to say goodbye and we left to walk back to the vehicle and return to Soroti. My final field day with Ruth is usually marked with a debriefing session and today was no exception with our late lunch at Soroti Hotel with an opportunity to review our achievements and discuss the issues for Ruth to address before my return. We left Martha and returned to Kumi happy with the day’s results. I asked Julia which had been the most meaningful family and she said Michael as he was so happy! Saturday tomorrow with nothing planned and time for me to catch up with my paperwork!

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