Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Wheelchair

Yes, this is the same article that appeared in the PAOS newsletter, so if you've already seen it - sorry.

I have the pleasure of working in the Community Services department, which means that I get to go out into the community and work with the local people right down at the village level. Sometimes this can be heartbreaking, but more often than not it is extremely rewarding.

Take today for instance. Community Services takes care of a number of needy families in dire circumstances, from the child-led orphan homes that exist due to the AIDS virus tearing through the area, to families with no other alternative than to come to us for assistance. One of those families is that of a young girl named Annette. Annette is fifteen and was born with a condition that has left her crippled and unable to communicate, though she can hear and understand quite well.

Annette currently lives in a small home down by the nearby lake where her Jaja (grandma) cares for her. This grandma is an indescribable person, bouncing and full of joy and hope for the future and what God will do in their life. She is a true inspiration. Her character shines through when you first meet her, and even if you were to never see this woman, her home stands to proclaim her dedication to caring for the needy. Within the mud walls you will find, as I did, that she is caring not only for Annette with her disabilities, but also five other children, including one newborn, and even her own mother who has gone blind.

We do try and visit this home often to give encouragement and what little food support and other assistance we can manage. But today’s visit was special. Walking up the road to their home we carted with us a gift. Annett’s condition has been such that she lays inside the home all day on a mattress, never sitting up, and her body is deteriorating. Vicent, one of our Community Services staff, made the recommendation to fashion a movable chair for her – this would allow Annette to sit up, and the addition of wheels would allow Jaja to move Annette in and out of the home despite her age.

No more than ten seconds after our arrival, Jaja was bouncing down the road to greet us, singing praises and thanking us with as much vigor as she could manage. A few moments later we had Annette in her new chair enjoying the sunshine of the early evening. It was definitely one of those special moments that I have the privilege to be a part of in my daily work here in Uganda. We’re so thankful for the sponsors and donors back home who make our work here possible. Lives are being changed!

From The Wheelchair

Annette being carried into the new chair

From The Wheelchair

Vicent and Dembe, our carpentry teacher, making some adjustments to the chair

From The Wheelchair

Vicent, one of our community services staff, takes Annette for a spin

From The Wheelchair


Lesley said...

So cool to see how much this means to this family.

Robyn Simpson said...

That's an amazing story!