Uganda Pediatric Surgery Mission: Final Day
Usually, the final day of a medical mission is a bit slower, as the team winds down a week that is often physically exhausting. That was not the case today in Uganda. The doctors and nurses were determined to help as many children as possible receive surgery, which brought the total number of operations completed this week to 187. Last month, we thought Dr. Situma was dreaming big at 100 surgeries, but clearly, with such an enormous need for hurting children, that dream had to grow even higher.
Today we would like to share the stories of a few more beautiful children with you. First up is two-year-old Bruce who lost his mother right after birth. Bruce remained with his father, but when the burden of caring for a small baby became too great, Bruce was taken to live with his grandmother. She told our team that her grandson has been in pain for most of his life, causing her so much emotional distress. When she heard an announcement on the radio about the free surgery program this week, she immediately brought Bruce to Mbarara. His grandmother was overjoyed that Bruce will no longer live in pain.
Did you know that the birth of twins around the world can be met with very different reactions? While some communities see the birth of twins as a double blessing of favor, others believe twins are a sign of bad omens due to ancient superstitions. These varying beliefs are also seen in Uganda, where some tribes welcome twins with celebrations, while others see them as taboo.
Today, our team sat and talked with mom Victoria. Victoria shared that when she gave birth to twins 14 years ago, her husband abandoned the family. She has struggled mightily since that time to provide for her boys.
Two years ago at age 12, Bruno experienced a sharp pain in his groin area. Because the family had no money, however, his grandmother couldn’t take him to be seen at a hospital. Thankfully, her neighbors heard about the surgical mission this week, and they ran to tell her the good news. We’re glad to report that Bruno received his hernia operation today, and it was very successful. Now fully healed, he should have no trouble keeping up physically with his twin brother!
Another child who came to see the team this week is ten-year-old Enock.
Little Enock has struggled all his life to speak and connect with other children. He’s been in school for four years now but has been unable to move on from kindergarten. Earlier this year, his abdomen began swelling, and a social worker in the community took Enock to the hospital. Thankfully, they referred Enock to Holy Innocents and our surgery mission, and he was able to have his hernia repaired today. His mom was very thankful that her son’s physical issue has now been healed, but she would still appreciate prayers that he can succeed despite his other special challenges.
Finally, we want to share the story of nine-year-old Lillian, whose father passed away when she was four. Her mother, Grace, shared that after her husband died, she had no employment or way to support her five children. Things were extremely hard for this family, and then Lillian’s abdomen began swelling. The little girl was in constant pain, but because Grace had no money for the hospital, she could only watch her daughter’s discomfort with much distress.
Thankfully, one of Grace’s friends lives in Mbarara. When she heard the news of the medical mission, she contacted Grace right away to let her know of this opportunity. Lillian’s mother borrowed some money for bus fare and made the four-hour journey from Kampala to get her daughter finally healed. She gives thanks to the supporters who made surgery possible — a surgery that has allowed Lillian to once again smile.
We hope you have enjoyed reading about some of the children healed over the last six days. We couldn’t have done it without you!
We want to give a giant shout of thanks to the amazing LWB team members who all traveled to Mbarara this week to give their hearts to the kids. What a difference they have made!
The beautiful thing about endings is that they usher in new beginnings. We know the pediatric partnerships we built this week are the start to many more children in Uganda finally getting the essential medical care they need. Over 300 families came to this first LWB mission, planned originally for 100 children, with the humble request that their children receive surgery.
Because we want to stand with these families to ensure that no child from this week is turned away, the Pediatric Surgery Mission donation page will remain open for the next few weeks. A gift of $100 will fund a child’s complete surgery. We would love your help to spread the word that many more children are waiting.
For 17 years, Love Without Boundaries has worked to ensure that vulnerable children are not left behind. How incredibly fitting that this pediatric mission took place the same week as LWB’s 17th anniversary!
Each of the children we met this week is a beautiful face of the future.
The courage they have shown this week as they prepared for their operations has shown their strong spirits.
The smiles they have shared with our team, despite their pain, have shown their hopeful hearts.
They just need the world to believe in their dreams.
To every supporter who made this special week possible, we send our deepest thanks. It’s incredible to think that from a goal of 100 little patients, we’re now on a mission to make sure all 300 kids receive care.
We close with the hope that for every child who came to Mbarara, this week provided not only healing but affirmations:
You are strong.
You are brave.
You are good.
You are loved.
And you’re the reason we proclaim that EVERY CHILD COUNTS.