Wheelsblog – Uganda, Yumbe 2023: Blog 2
We've got a fantastic Wheels for the World team in Yumbe, Uganda for the next ten days. Jill, one of the team members, is reporting back with regular blogs. Here's the second report. Please continue to pray for and support the team, as they wait for the wheelchair container to arrive, and do all the work they can to prepare.
Yumbe Blog 2 (Days four to six) May 5–7th 2023
We were delighted to reach the HHA Rehabilitation Centre at last and had the fabulous opportunity to rekindle relationships with the HHA staff some of us had previously worked with in 2019. We had the joy of seeing how far they have developed and the new skills they had learnt. Being conscious of empowering the staff with their evolving skills, we worked together but encouraged the HHA Wheelchair Technicians to take the lead and show us how they assess and provide wheelchairs to the beneficiaries. We collaborated, problem-solving how we best meet their needs and reflecting on how we all as therapists never get the chair set up ‘right’ first time and tweaking is required. The HHA staff were visibly encouraged hearing this and this further served to strengthen our relationships with us serving alongside them.
We met Micheal, the Commandant of the Bidi Bidi camp, who is a very Government official for a office of the Prime Minister. David, our Pastor, gave him a Bible from a member of his congregation which he gratefully and slightly emotionally received.
The newly built HHA Rehab Centre here is very well equipped and they were rightly proud of all that has been achieved to set up this place. The technician in the orthotic and prosthetic making department showed us each stage of the manufacturing process and the shoemaker explained the process of making special shoes. We were told that the timescale from measuring a person to them receiving their prosthetic leg was two days! Many of the people who come have lost a leg due to a bullet wound or an accident inflicted during the conflicts in South Sudan. It is a sobering thought to think that the people here on this peaceful camp have fled from a very different environment to seek refuge here.
HHA provided delicious lunch of local food before we headed back to the centre to meet 4 beneficiaries who were waiting to meet the team. One of the children who was a young girl of 6 years old who came with her mother for a wheelchair and actually left with a walking frame as we found she was able to walk. The therapy assessment raised hopes that this young girl with the right corrective footwear and a walking frame to support her in standing was what she needed. It was a blessing that among the equipment that we brought in our case there was a pair of Pedro boots (special support boots) that had been donated that fitted her well. Some of our technicians together with the HHA team were very creative in modifying an adult walking frame to so that she could use it for support. What a delight to see this girl walking and even trying to kick a ball.
On Sunday the team attended the Amazing Grace Baptist Church where we were given a very warm welcome. Our pastor David was asked to give the sermon today to the church. He gave a very powerful and heartfelt word that touched many hearts. There was vibrant worship with the children singling and dancing all doing ‘the right sort of moves’, accompanied by the energetic worship in the church.
After church we again met with a girl called Winnie, who had actually visited us yesterday but unfortunately we were unable to provide her with a chair as we had none that would fit her. Having her return today we had the pleasure of seating her, advising on postural support and then gave her a Bible and the whole team prayed together with her and her mother surrounded by children with knitted puppets. This was a special time as her mother prayed too and spoke of how her heart was overjoyed with the gifts her daughter had received today. Winnie soon demonstrated her ability to self propel the chair and her joy in this freedom was written all over her smiling face.