Week 7 Part B: Wheels for the World in Uganda 2021 - Supported Distribution
Supported Distribution to the Bidi Bidi Refugee Camp, N.W. Uganda
Wheels Blog Week 7 Part B (19th March 2021)
On Friday afternoon we finally finished the first Wheels Supported Distribution in Bidi Bidi with our partners Hope Health Action (HHA). Each session last week had members of the TTR team saying their goodbye to people that they had come to know and respect as they completed their last session with the team and, just like a ‘real’ distribution, the goodbyes were tinged with sadness as we will miss the wonderful people out there in Uganda.
In Friday’s two sessions the HHA team went out to the people in the camp and gave out the three remaining wheelchairs, two to amputees and one to the lady who was severely malnourished who they had seen earlier in the week. The morning team first saw Martin who is 47 years old and normally gets around by crawling. The smile on his face at receiving a wheelchair says more than words can express, his dignity has been restored and he can go and meet people in his community.
Then they visited 6 year old Cosmas seen here in a slightly too large a chair with Moses altering and adjusting and modifying it to suit him as best as he can.
At the end of a distribution it is often difficult to provide the best chair to suit the remaining people and so we have to work harder to make adjustments and, as you can see, Moses has a pretty good set of tools to help him make those adjustments. Cosmas had had his right foot amputated, and although he apparently walks a little, the wheelchair will enable him to go to school more easily and will be large enough for him for many years.
The final person we saw was Sejerina. She was 90 minutes’ drive away from Cosmas’s home and, as we waited for the team to get to her, our thoughts went to the picture we saw of her on Tuesday when she was seen by the HHA team. Her condition had deteriorated since her initial assessment before the distribution had started and her malnutrition was clearly evident. When we got online with a video call, the sight of her frail body again made us sad and fearful for her. She had suffered a stroke and could not talk. Having only one wheelchair left the HHA team mustered all the skills they had learnt over the previous seven weeks and cut down a Zimmer frame to extend the back rest so that Sejerina’s back and head could be better supported and then added foam padding to make her as comfortable as possible. As they worked on the chair, she sat on the adjacent ground cradled in the arms of one of her sons. We didn’t want to end the distribution with this sad image. We had done the very best for her and so asked Clement and Agnes if they could contact the authorities to try to get her to a clinic or hospital for treatment, which they agreed to do. Sadly Sejerina won’t be the only person who is malnourished, but as I reflect on the seemingly impossible situation I am reminded that we have a God of the impossible. I also recall a quote from Mother Theresa, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”
As I write this blog on Tuesday evening we have just had a message from HHA saying, ’We were able to refer Sejerina to the village Health Team in the camp, they have referred her to the hospital to stay in until she regains her power. They also said they had wanted to feed Sejerina themselves in the hospital’, so thank you for your prayers and please keep praying that she will gain strength and be able to enjoy going out in her wheelchair.
So we have said goodbye to the HHA team for now; we are amazed at what they have achieved and how they have patiently listened to all our questions and suggestions, taken them on board and grown in confidence over the past seven weeks. This was our first Supported Distribution, but it won’t be the last. We assisted and/or advised the HHA team dealing with 196 people with over 20 different conditions. The team on the ground has certainly seen more people whilst the internet connection was down or even before we got on line each morning at 07:00.
We will now be reviewing the experience, doing our SWOT analysis and learning lessons for the next distribution. Thank you for coming on this journey with us over the weeks. Thank you too for messages of support and for your prayers for both the TTR team and our HHA partners in this venture. If you want to support the Wheels for the World financially to enable this work to continue, please check out the donate page here on the Through the Roof website.