We hear so often in life that all it takes is one instance, or one chance or one person for something to change. But rarely do we hear the progress and process of that impactful instance, chance or person.
During a recent medical camp, we had a gal named Agatha come for help. We saw her hesitating for some time before having the courage to walk into the dirt home we provide medical care in. When she entered and took her head scarf off, we were all left heart broken and speechless. She had the worst degree of burns on her head and face that I have ever seen. Lidia, one of the gals in the team here at that time, was beyond helpful in taking her immediately to the hospital to receive more advanced medical care that we could not provide. We did have to wait about 40 minutes before a boda boda (a.k.a motorcycle used here as a taxi) came to take them to the hospital where she was admitted and still is receiving care today.
It wasn't possible for the entire team to leave the village we were in at that time, but later that evening we went back with part of the team to visit Agatha in the Surgical Ward. Mind you the hospital here is as if we're stepping back in the to the 1940's. The patients there were so in awe of white people walking in to see one of them. As we were leaving, one of the patients yelled, asking us to bring them back each a soda. So as soon as we walked out of the hospital, the team went to the corner shack and bought 60 bottles of soda, went back to the hospital and gave one to every patient, family member and medical staff.
They simply brought over abundant joy with the most simple act of kindness. A small bottle of soda here is about $0.80, something most cannot afford because their daily work wage, if they have a job, is about $0,50 per day. If we only knew that simplicity, genuineness and true kindness aren't necessarily costly, monetarily speaking, but just taking 10-15 minutes of your time to impact someone's life can truly make a big change, especially for the people here.
Agatha I've learned, is super sassy and always hungry, LOL. She's had two skin grafts since her admittance to the hospital. She did lose sight completely in her right eye, but the doctors were able to save her left eye. We've been supplying her with antibiotic ointment, medicine, and all her other needs as the hospital here only provides the basics as a bed. You have to bring your own bed sheets, towels, basins, supplies, food and so much more. But back to Agatha, who is really funny and asks for something new every day. Her first days in the hospital were very rough, especially considering that conditions in this country aren't like those from home. She wanted to run away a few times, but the other patients would encourage her to stay because the white girl (me) would come visit her and take care of her.
That all still holds true and I'm learning to love in such a deep way it hurts. I had a hard time entering the hospital, as it was the first time after spending three weeks continually living in the hospital with my mother before she passed away back in December. I still can't handle the smell of the hospital in general, let alone here in Uganda. But somehow God gives me the strength and courage to put "me" aside and love unconditionally no matter the person, place or circumstance. I've become friends with the patients around Agatha, helping them with money, food, clothing, and mattresses whenever I can. Most times we talk to each through hand signs because they can't speak English and I understand very little Ruchiga. But through it all, I see God's hand of healing and love. I've learned now more than ever that it doesn't matter what walk of life we come from or the color of our skin, or even the religion or faith we practice. At the end of the day, we are human and we need to take care of one another.
I hope that this small but significant encounter in my life can impact and change your life in some way. I want to leave you all with one of my favorite songs by christian artist Mandisa, titled Overcomer. So often in life we just feel so broken and hopeless, but this song is such a beautiful reminder that when we push through and persevere, we overcome.
Love and miss all my dear family and friends back in the states! I pray you're all healthy, well favored, and most importantly, loved!