Wheelsblog: Kumi, Uganda 2020 -- Day 4

Wheelsblog: Kumi, Uganda 2020 -- Day 4


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 fourth report, written by team member, Peter Bailey...

Kumi Mission Group Blog - Day 4

The team had begun to really look forward to arriving at our base at Kumi Hospital - and not just because we welcomed another opportunity to do God's word and change people's lives for the better.

It was also because we were now beginning each day with the most joyous African music and dancing.

This was held in the waiting area to enable our early arrival patients, as well as our team and all the wonderful support staff, could join in. And join in they all did! What a wonderful way to start each day!

And each day brought its own surprises. On this day we were given the opportunity to raise awareness for "Wheels" and also our host Elspeth's work.

Our photography and blogger team met with a reporter from a national newspaper, gave him a tour of our work and provided him with five moving stories of patients, with photos, capturing their life changing treatments.

In the meantime, the days patients were beginning to flow, although in smaller numbers than previous mornings.

It was to prove the calm before the storm as the afternoon brought an unprecedented seventy patients needing our help. It became the ultimate test for our team and our teamwork and, we agreed, brought out the very best in all of us

Shadrak was 59 years old and he shuffled along the floor towards us. Through neglect and lack of treatment for his diabetes, both his legs became gangrous and were amputated below the knee three years previously. Shadrak never had crutches let alone a wheelchair and it was the source of enormous pleasure to see the joy on his face as he was fitted with his wheelchair and for us to hear that he would now be able to again work alongside his children on their farm.

But it was after we served lunch to our patients and their family or friends, as we did each day, that the influx of new patients reached its peak. In a scene that caused those of us who witnessed it to shed tears, a large open truck arrived carrying thirty or more patients.

As we assisted them down from the truck and helped carry them inside, we could see their advanced ages and the extent of their suffering. It was incredibly moving for even the most experienced among us.

There was 80 year old Eriakim, who had been unable to walk for ten years and who was delighted with his new wheelchair.

85 year old Estakus who, after an accident, had great difficulty walking with a makeshift stick and, smiling broadly, confidently walked away with a modern, lightweight crutches.

Then there was 82 year old Matayo who, since 2013, had been reduced to crawling around her house and whose life was markedly transformed by the provision of a wheelchair.

But it was 7 year old Valentine who captured our hearts that day with his infectious smile, boundless energy and eagerness to push the boundaries of his mobility.

Born with cerebal palsy, and unable to walk at all, none of our team had witnessed such a rapid transformation. After quickly mastering crutches we trialled him with a Zimmer tri-frame...and what a revelation it was!

We clapped and cheered as this little boy just took off, getting faster and more adept by the minute. Then, to the amazement of everyone watching, he repeatedly walked several steps completely unaided! His parents, for the first time became aware of what their son COULD do instead of being resigned to what he couldn't. Unsurprisingly, this little boy became everyone's Valentine!

What a day, and what a climax to our work in Kumi this turned out to be. Throughout our mission, almost every patient we treated received spiritual guidance, prayers and a Bible from our pastoral team. As Pastor Michael said, "We do our best to change the entrenched, traditional beliefs about disabilities. It's wonderful to meet people who have, or are willing to say, "Yes" to Jesus and also help guide those who are presently reluctant."