Blog 1: Wheels in Kumi, Uganda 2022
We've got a great team working hard in Kumi Uganda from the 10th to 20th Feb. We'll bring you their life-changing stories and pictures just as often as the internet connection allows. Here's Sam's report from day 1.
There was great excitement for Day One of the distribution. The team began really early to get things set up ready for the day ahead. Many clients had gathered already, sitting under the shade of the trees. We made our introduction to the people and shared together gathered, team and clients, a time of worship. We were happy to be joined in the team by Simon, the Kumi hospital chaplain, who led the worship. After some singing and dancing and a reading we were ready to start.
This distribution is different from previous ones as with only four people in the WftW team; the partner, the Kumi Community Foundation (KCF), is covering the other roles with workers who have assisted us in past distributions and now are taking more leading roles.
Whilst the techies and therapists prepared the equipment, Lynne Williams and Ellie began registering the clients to identify the requirements of each. Once registered, they were given a ticket number corresponding to their form, allowing them to be easily identified and followed through the process. The therapists would call up a recipient one at a time to evaluate their needs and to identify what modifications would be necessary with the techies carrying out the changes.
Sadly, the distribution day was over-subscribed as people had heard of our work and had come with hopes of getting a chair. Elspeth, leading the KCF team, had the very tough task of asking the surplus of clients to go home and return later in the week. We were expecting 25-30 clients. In excess of 100 arrived and we worked really hard in the day into darkness to provided equipment to 58 people!
‘Break tea’ as it is known locally, was held at 12:00. It was intended to be earlier, we had lost track off time! This was a much needed sit down and a chance for the workers to discuss what they think was going well and what we should change for the remainder of the sessions.
After receiving a wheelchair or walking aid everyone was offered prayer with the pastors. We heard lovely stories such as that of Sarah, a walking stick recipient, who works in the local hospital and spoke of how she can share the Word of God to her patients.
A wheelchair recipient who stood out was Christine, a lovely blind girl with cerebral palsy. Her mother, Elizabeth, spoke about how she cannot eat or even sit by herself before she received the wheelchair. Now Christine can sit supported, giving her mother more freedom to help her daughter in other ways.
Another man, Patrick, who was paralysed following an attack by a bull, was issued with a reclining wheelchair and was moved to tears with the gift, quite something for a Ugandan man.
Lunch was at 16:00, deliberately late as the team were trying to focus on seeing the people who had come and already had waited so long. Anna and the girls had prepared us many dishes: beef, rice, diced cabbage, avocado and potatoes! This fuelled the workers perfectly for the rest of the day and we were on the home straight from there working to nightfall to see the last person who had patiently waited.
Although tired, we were emotionally rewarded by the day. Not one person in the team complaining of the long day or showing any less commitment to doing their best from the first to last person. In this we hope to demonstrate the love we have for these people with disabilities reflecting the love of God for them all.