Wheelsblog: Kumi, Uganda 2020 -- 10th Feb
We've got a fantastic team working for Wheels for the World in Kumi, Uganda from the 4th to the 15th February. They'll be sending back updates as often as possible, and we're looking forward to sharing the trip, and the stories of lives changed through the gift of a wheelchair. Here's the team's report from Monday 10th--the third day of Wheelchair distribution, written by team member, Peter Bailey...
Kumi Group Blog - Day 3
For the team, Jesus's words in Matthew chapter 25 were a fitting accompaniment as we prepared our hearts and minds for the day ahead.
" Whatsoever you do to
the least of your
brothers and sisters,
you do unto me."
At this phase of our mission, with our stocks of wheelchairs rapidly depleting, we were all apprehensive as to our ability to keep providing the right solution for all our patients.
The day again presented us with a vast array of ailments and needs and the solutions we provide don't always accord with what our patients expect. John was 56 years old, hadn't walked for 13 years and wanted a wheelchair. Our experienced therapist, however, recognised that reliance on a wheelchair now would resign him to that dependency for the rest of his life. John walked out happily and gratefully with the aid of his 'crutch top' walking frame.
Another patient, dear Christine, a child of just 8 years old who had TB, and who melted all our hearts. The bravest child you could ever meet. Despite the team's extensive experience, we had never seen such a large and deep pressure sore as that on her buttocks. And, throughout the long cleaning and dressing of this vast open wound, this little girl did not even whimper and even smiled broadly when we showed her the photo we took of her. Her father was very grateful for our arranging immediate hospital admission for treatment.
Then there was the incredible story of Simon who, ten years ago at the age of 65, was ambushed by rebel soldiers and thrown into a large open fire causing horrendous burns to his legs. Simon had been unable to walk since. He beamed sitting in his wheelchair and told us how he would now be far less of a burden on his family, could mix more socially and go to the market unaided.
All our patients, as always, challenge the team to find and offer their very best and reward us with their gratitude. On this day one patient stood out in this regard. Severely disabled with cerebral palsy since being less than a year old, Naume, now aged 20, had many in the team and all the patients in the waiting area smiling and clapping as she screeched in unrestrained joy in her new tilt and recline wheelchair all of the way out. It reminded us of one of the great truths in life - that life's givers are so often blessed with a greater reward than those who receive.
As the day came to a close, we reflected that on display again was the dedication of so many parents, often having undertaken difficult journeys, and all living in abject poverty, with no education or real awareness of health matters - trying to do their best for their children.
One can only feel humility among people like these - staring down crushing difficulties and rising each day to face them again.