We have finally arrived at Kumi Hospital after walking a total of 7,606 miles which is over our original calculation of 6,000 miles because we decided to walk along the banks of the River Nile. What a welcome we receive as our weary legs trudge up the hospital road and, on arrival at the gates, we meet the familiar faces of the staff. I am back “home” at last! The orthopaedic surgeons are operating on our children with Gluteal Fibrosis while Antony, our physiotherapist, gives the post-op children their daily exercises. We are far too many to stay in the hospital Guest House so, after our initial greetings, it is back to town and what nicer way than to go by “public transport” at long last. We need to beckon waiting boda boda boys who are eager to have a passenger or two each on their motorcycles. The ladies should ride side-saddle if confident enough but the men can ride astride. Hang on to your boda boda driver as he speeds along the murram road skilfully avoiding the many potholes. We pass the cows being herded by young boys, hear the frogs croaking in chorus, see the oxen drag along the plough or hay cart and children in their bright school uniforms walking the many kilometres from school to their homes where the girls set out again to fill the jerry cans from the borehole and collect wood for the fire. After about nine kilometres, we reach the bustling town where the women are selling their oranges and groundnuts and the sound of African music fills the air! We are booked in at North East Villa where we know James will look after us as he would his own family. A good night’s sleep and, after a breakfast of pancake, hardboiled egg, fresh pineapple, mango and the ever-present banana, we are ready for a day at the hospital. Those in need of yet another walk can go by foot or those who have given up that idea can take a boda boda. I am proud to show you all round but I know some of you will be aghast at what you experience. You will find the staff and patients to be delightfully friendly although some children may be scared to see these white people and run away! So that is almost the end but there will be one more update to give a breakdown of the past sixteen weeks and we may have to think of how we will get back to Darlington. Our carbon footprint has been negligible but our footprints are many. Let’s see if we can minimise the effect on our climate on the return trip also!
Ruth, our dear CBR (can you remember what this stands for? Community Based Rehabilitation) team member has worked so hard throughout the months and thirteen children with Gluteal Fibrosis have been operated on. She will soon have the next twenty-two joining them so that they can all look forward to a whole new life ahead.
Thank you for your enthusiasm and commitment to our walk
which has exceeded all my expectations!