Sunday morning and I woke from a deep sleep to take a few seconds to realise where I was! My plan was to walk to the hospital church and then visit the children in the wards. Getting ready, I soon caught two hungry mosquitos and squashed a cockroach with my shoe which caused a most disgusting smell emanating from the corpse.
Perhaps the time of Sunday prayers has changed as I found that the church was almost empty as I arrived but it soon filled up to full capacity. The music is always a joy and the familiar words of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” resounded from the singing accompanied by the drums. The service was good apart from having to go to the front to introduce myself and address the congregation yet again.
Afterwards, I found the hospital teeming with children all having been operated on for Gluteal Fibrosis which follows constant quinine injections in the buttocks to treat malaria. They were everywhere and, in the Children’s Village, an enthusiastic father was supervising their exercises which are imperative if the surgery is to be successful. A team of several foreign doctors had been visiting the hospital to continue their research into the cause of the condition which is uncertain and maybe not due to quinine at all. Kumi has a pocket of such youngsters whilst in other regions of Uganda and globally it is rare. One hundred and twenty children were waiting for discharge, some obviously well recovered from the surgery whilst others were still struggling to walk.
Returning to the Guest House, I found Jan, the Dutch photographer, waiting for us to finalise the production of a short movie which he has made following Faith Aanyu’s stay in November in Kumi Hospital where we provided her with a special wheelchair. We tweaked the movie content until we were finally satisfied with the end result and I shall use this in my talks. As he is a professional photographer with a high-power camera, I am not surprised that I find my own photos to be so inadequate. Now, with much of the day gone, I would prepare myself for the week ahead but Ivan Obwapus and his friend, Junior, called as I had given Ivan’s brother a geometry set the day before and he understandably felt left out. A few crayons kept them happy and they pranced away so happy with their gift! (Junior’s name will be quite inappropriate surely as he grows up into manhood and remains “Junior”)
Had I the house to myself, I wondered, but, no, little Gabriel presented me with a present (see photo) and I needed to reciprocate so fortunately I had brought a pack of 24 little cars costing about 20p each which were just the thing; one for Gabriel and the other for Lois. Why do they always come as a pair and never alone? When Jan was here, Modesta had arrived and had waited till he left before making her appearance. I still had not eaten my breakfast of a hard- boiled egg and it wouldn’t be all that long before the sun would start descending. Concentration had been intense when working on the movie and a rest would be very much appreciated. She noticed my lack of energy and made her leave so I could relax a little. Ten minutes is all I need to revitalise myself and so I started on my day’s photos when 6 year old Daniella and 5 year old Elija arrived. Daniella knows where her colouring book and colours were on my shelves but she was not alone either and had come with Elija. Finding her book, she spied the carton of little cars and, naturally, they both wanted to have one. Two sets of these cars would be ideal for my next visit, I must remember. Then the Dobble was taken from the shelf and now there were four little players who played a good two hour stint without losing concentration. It’s so lovely to hear them giggle together and without a cross word between them. Then the daylight went and they went to another outside porch which had light. I counted the Dobble cards to ensure none were missing but they were intact.
Supper of greens and rice followed by preparation for bed. Good night!