We have left the glitz, glamour, and opulence of Dubai, and spent the night flying via Kenya to Uganda.
By the time we arrived in Kenya, I had a boomer headache.
I landed breathing into a paper bag and barely knew how to make it off the plane without fainting from the pain in my head.
Oh no. I had a migraine !!!
I was shaking and blurry as I tried to complete the Immigration form, and was so glad our friends had told us to bring new $50 and $100 US notes only to pay the Visa for Uganda. The cost has recently doubled, and I was to pay for 2 visas as $100 US and at .67 cents in the dollar, plus $1200 in airfares the past week to get here, so I felt the financial stress.
Yet this is where we felt we wanted to spend the next part of our journey.
To leave behind the glitz and glamour, and hotel reviews I usually blog about, and to get back to our core mission of travel – to help the poor and needy.
Customs kindly saw I was sick, and put us straight to the front of the queue, and once through, helped me to a seat. There I sobbed with the pain. My head felt like a ripe tomato about to explode. I took migraine medication hoping not to be ill, but I finally vomited, and strangers brought me water.
Then customs officials took my son to find our friends who were on a different flight. I was helpless, and a time I thanked God my son had good common sense and could help. He found them, and the Customs official also helped them to get straight through.
Once I was outside and in the fresh air, I felt the medication working, and by the time we reached a private hospital, I was back to a headache, and not a migraine.
Not the start I wanted to Uganda.
But it was soon forgotten.
Our friends were here to visit the lady who ran their mission medical clinic ‘Phiona’, who with her 10-month-old baby ‘Gloria’, had been in a terrible accident. Flung from a motorbike taxi called a ‘Boda-Boda’, and as she literally tossed the baby to the side of the road to safety to save her life (the baby survived OK), and Phiona was then dragged and run over by a car and left for dead.
After an hour police finally loaded Phiona in the back of a truck, and the manager of the mission In The Field Ministries came and declared he was ‘her Dad’ to enable them to take her to a hospital.
They operated and butchered her, and sewed up a great mess, leaving behind road rubble inside the leg, that promptly needed further surgery when it became infected.
Finally, ITFM mission had her moved to a private hospital for professional medical care; and here we are!
Whilst we waited, we walked the hospital compound, and soon discovered some adorable kids.
This boy holds the artificial leg of the boy behind him, who scoots around one legged with the biggest smile.
There were so many kids who had ‘Boda-Boda’ accidents and had lost limbs. There were burnt kids. Deformed kids. Kids who had not been treated at birth; or who had left an injury too long.
Lack of medical care and doctors meant so many just had an amputation.
I had no sleep for nearly 48 hours and was a mess, but nothing compared to what these children suffered.
A lot of the surgery is funded through aid care and donations – very, very few patients were here because their families could afford to pay – because they just can’t pay, and don’t have the money – so this is a great place to see where donations really help hospitals.
I played “under the water, under the sea” with her, and she sat on my lap and we laughed as she had a few tickles. Then she would stroke my hair like it was gold and rub my skin, and then nuzzle into my chest for a cuddle.
Then we saw kids with deformed and missing limbs, helping other kids.
Most of the kids had no parents around; no friends or visitors, and so we became their visitors.
We became their friends.
That day we decided we wanted to come back and visit them again.
We finally left so enthused and already in love with the children of Uganda.
We knew we were here to give love and care, and we wanted to come back and see them again and make their day brighter.
So we talked and thought it would be great to share cookies with the kids next time, and Explorason wanted to play more with them too. Our friend Kimberly from ITFM came up with the idea of bringing back cookies in pre-sealed 2 packs and juice for the kids.
Two weeks later we were back.
We loved meeting the kids this day too, but none of them were the same as last time.
A lot of plastic surgery patients, and cleft pallet surgery too.
I met a boy I think who was HIV positive and was in pretty bad shape. That really affected me as he was a teenager. He had such a smile, yet recently I read up on the extreme signs of HIV in children and he seemed to have a lot of them, as well as injuries. HIV has wiped out so many in Uganda.
So many had deformities too. If you see these boys arms below, they are really deformed. But he was so happy, and he chatted away to Explorason as he gave him cookies.
Kimberly filled a giant tub with drinking water to dilute the concentrated juice we had brought with us.
It took forever as there was no water pressure.
Here clean drinking water is provided for the patients, but it is an outside tank. Patients get basic food too.
We enjoyed giving out juice and double pre-packed cookies to about 60 children and a few adults.
We put smiles on their faces, and all up I think we were there about 3 hours the second time.
These are a few of the practical things ITFM do to help in Uganda.
And we are here to help them.
We headed back to see Phiona on our way out.
She has been here for one month now.
She has still got a severe infection in her leg and is in need of surgery and skin grafts.
Phiona is a vital member of the staff and is needed to treat the children and locals at the IFTM Clinic.
We’d love if anyone would like to donate to ITFM so that Phiona can continue treatment, and stay in the hospital, but bills are already at around $3000 US and this is just a small nonprofit organization.
There will be the cost of further surgery and skin grafts and her next weeks in the hospital too.
We have some amazing experiences coming up, so please make sure you subscribe so you keep up with our adventures, and the surprising way our life heads here in Uganda.
We will be partnering and volunteering to help on the mission.
We too will have to cover our expenses, so if anyone feels they’d like to help us volunteer in Uganda, you can donate to us via Paypal using email address firstname.lastname@example.org
We are here to make a difference. We also accept donations we can use directly to help the children too – specify in the comments when donating – thanks.