September is the month for returning to school. Ruth has been preparing the youngsters and Harriet has been paying the school fees, kitting them out with their requirements and arranging transport for their return. Emma Edonu, our severely burned boy, showed us his report and it is a case of "could do better" but life could not have been worse if Ruth had not identified him quite a few years ago. He would have had no future but being a hideaway with his face almost hidden by a hood. Now he is a relatively outgoing teenager with new-found confidence and friends. I can rely on Ruth to have bought him all he needs for the new term; shoes, uniform, exercise books and pens, sugar, soap, bed sheets etc. He has no one else to support him when in need and would otherwise be sent "home" if he turned up at class without the necessities. We do not want him to lose his hard-gained self-esteem even though he may not flourish academically. Ruth has been identifying more patients for surgery, rehab and seating equipment. Interplast UK arrives in mid-October and we hope to have a queue of patients with cleft palates and lips, burn contractures etc eagerly awaiting their arrival.
My big news is that Benjamin, the new, young Orthopaedic Workshop manager, has attended a training course in Kampala in the manufacture of prostheses. He has come back with an exemplary report of competence and now awaits delivery of materials from India to make artificial limbs for the amputees. This is part of the Rotary Jaipur programme organised by UK Rotary and we know that this will revitalise the workshop and motivate the staff to bring, once more, this vital service to the people of Kumi and beyond.
Back here at home, where we are already having to endure the cold, dark autumnal days, Lynne Williams, Michele and I are working hard making the difficult choices of what we can take and what we leave behind for our imminent departure. (I already have enough for February's consignment piled into a cupboard and, no doubt, more will arrive). We leave on 15 October with an extensive programme ahead of us. How proud we are of our registration with the Charity Commission which has involved so much work for the Trustees. Policies, spreadsheets, bank accounts, designing new paperwork and I wonder if we can take a rest once in Uganda! "A change is as good as a rest", they say.
Fund raising continues with Aby Harrison's Kumi Day on 5 October, my final talk to the Barnard castle Trefoil Guild on 9 October and we are hoping that, once we have a bank account, we shall be able to start in earnest with Gift Aid and applying for grants until we are able to help more and more families.
My next entry should be soon with the start of our October/November diary which is on Face Book and our website; www.kumicommunityfoundation.co.uk Lynne Williams has added a charity FB page- kumicommunityfoundation which will include our diary.