Week 5: Wheels for the World in Uganda 2021 - Supported Distribution
Supported Distribution to the Bidi Bid Refugee Camp, N.W. Uganda
Wheels Blog Week 5 (1st and 2nd March 2021)
Well, we have now completed Week 5 of this rather unusual and novel distribution and have only two more weeks left. The Hope Health Action (HHA) team have once again been doing a fabulous job ‘on the ground’ and have distributed 83 of the 135 wheelchairs we sent out and all 55 pairs of elbow crutches. Many clients only required a single crutch. This is a fantastic achievement. The TTR team of therapists and techies have given advice for 115 clients. Our revised system of using WhatsApp photos and messages, rather than video is working well, although it is nice to see the HHA team and talk with them. We therefore try to get at least some time together each session, but depending on where in the camp they are it is not always possible as the reception can be very poor. We have, as a TTR team, been working on a short Client Assessment Form which we hope can be filled out, photographed and sent to the session team to speed up the process of identifying the condition of the person we are seeing. We hope that this will be rolled out next week.
This week we saw 27 people, many of whom were aged over 70 including one, named Abiria (pictured left) who we were told was 101!
It is perhaps easy to just read these words and feel pleased that these people have been helped, but the reality is that each item given out makes a real impact to the lives of the people who receive them.
Some, like Teresa who is 66 years old contracted polio when she was four and could not move on her own without support. She now has significant scoliosis and kyphosis (deformities of the spine). Teresa came from South Sudan’s Yei County in 2016 due to the civil war, fleeing to Bidi Bidi when two of her neighbours were killed in cold blood by unknown gunmen.
Due to her disability she decided not to marry and be burden to someone. She received support from her parents, but unfortunately they died of sickness in South Sudan at an old age. She is currently been taken care of by her uncles.
Teresa has now received a special wheelchair which will aid her mobility and reduce the burden on her uncles. She can now go to the market, hospital and get her rations.
She was touched by the word of God, and can now go to church in her wheelchair. She says, “Thank you so much. May God bless you.”
We also saw a few younger people with polio and gave advice on the need for a pressure relieving cushion for an eleven year old boy paralysed since birth who had a pressure sore. We were told that his father is treating the sore with honey which, as some may know, has antiseptic properties and is available in the camp.
We were also able to supply a wheelchair to Simon Mogga who is the Pastor of Joy Baptist Church in Zone 5. He has had a stroke resulting in weakness down his left side and, although he can walk for short distances within his family compound, visiting his congregation is more challenging. Now he will be able to make his pastoral visits more easily with renewed self-esteem and dignity. The TTR therapist and techie were very encouraged meeting such a lovely man and wished him God’s richest blessing. We pray that he gets on well with his new wheelchair. He said that he was very happy with the support given to him by HHA and TTR.
Here he is pictured before the final wheelchair fitting.
Finally, the UK team were saddened to hear of the sudden death in hospital in Uganda of Ivan (24), the brother of Isaac (the HHA Senior Field Coordinator). The Monday morning session team were introduced to Isaac’s father and several of his brothers and Neil, one of our techies, prayed with the family. Isaac said that, ‘Their hope is firmly in the Lord and they are comforted by the assurance that Ivan is with his Lord and they will all be reunited in glory.’
Our condolences go to Isaac and his family.