In my last post I started describing the work that happens on a Loving One by One team, and I wrote about the medical clinics. That’s mainly why we go – to provide medical care to people living in the slum areas and villages in and near Kampala, Uganda.
A LOBO medical clinic is basically organized chaos. There are hundreds of people running around as the bus pulls into the area where the clinic will be held. Children are getting in the way of the bus, and Henry honks to get them to move. Team members are waving at locals through the bus windows, and locals are sticking their hands in to touch the team members’ hands (and in some cases, to try to rob the team members – but that’s another story for another time).
It’s noisy and crazy as the bus parks, and the team members quickly get off the bus and immediately start carrying boxes of supplies and equipment. It takes about 45 minutes to be ready, and then we open and people begin to come in and we take care of them. The patients who begin to flood the clinic have heard we’re coming, and they’ve been lined up for hours. Even though it’s noisy and chaotic, it becomes a routine and things work remarkably well. We have it down. But at nearly every medical clinic, unusual things happen – unusual even for a LOBO team.
At nearly every clinic, there will be a patient or two whose medical needs are serious enough to require hospitalization, sometimes immediate hospitalization. At my first LOBO clinic, we came across a pregnant 17 year old girl, with malaria, and with HIV, who was immediately sent to a local hospital for care – all paid for by Loving One by One’s emergency medical fund.
While the other kids chased the bus, Franco (that was his name) wasn’t able to. He was watching from a distance as we pulled in, supporting himself by holding onto a fence. To make a long story short, now a year and a half later, Franco has had corrective surgery and can run and play like other kids, and probably chase busses if he wants to.
As I’m writing this on February 1, 2013, a LOBO team has just finished their work in Uganda and has gone home. But Sherry Roberts (right) and others are still there, arranging for surgeries and followup care for the handful of children and adults who were spotted by various team members during the January medical clinics.
That’s why I’m going back to Uganda this summer. Part of the reason is the one thousand or so “regular” medical patients we’ll help. And part of it is the people who A) would never make it to any other kind of medical clinic, and B) wouldn’t get help if they did make it to another clinic. They would be considered hopeless and beyond help. People like Franco, who is now able to chase busses if he needs to. Hey, you never know.
If you’d like to help me go there this summer, contact me for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org. And, if you live in the Southern California area, join me at the “Uganda: the Sequel” Fundraising Concert on February 24. You can find out about that by emailing me as well.