The morning began with team devotions, with the focus of prayer. We prayed for each other and the communities we work in, preparing ourselves for the work ahead. Then, the first activity of the week: feeding programme in Kasubi. For weeks I had been fully occupied as Healthcare Co-ordinator, facilitating health care needs across the four communities we work in. This week, however, I followed up with the families myself rather than just reading the reports from the feeding programme team.
So into Kasubi we went, buying food for the families we support and putting together packages for them. Our first stop was a family particularly close to my heart. I had been with them just last Friday, taking Mama and her daughter on a trip to ‘Reach Out’ (the local AIDS clinic) for their regular check up and medications. Today though, it was a visit mingled with sadness, as Mama had, since then, lost her fight to AIDS at the age of 28 and this was the family’s first week without her. So we took our time, talking with Jaja and her lovely little granddaughter, supporting them and loving them as much as we could.
Our next stop was to see another Jaja who looks after her two grandchildren despite difficult family circumstances. I knew that she had been unwell with a cough for some weeks now and so arranged to take her for a check-up, suspecting that she had a chest infection or even TB. She made us laugh, joking that she hoped that they would give her injections and not tablets, as she hated taking tablets.
Next was one of the success stories of Kasubi feeding programme. One of twins, this little girl had been lethargic, frequently ill and significantly smaller than her twin sister when she was added to our programme only eight months ago. Now, however, she is active and playful, looking similar in size to her twin. Their Mama has also started a successful business, selling charcoal, fruit and vegetables. As this has grown, she has started buying some of the foods for herself that originally, we supplied her with and has learnt from us how a balanced diet and good nutrition help her children to grow and stay healthy.
The afternoon was to be a medical afternoon. As planned, we first took Jaja to the hospital for her check-up. We were surprised when she told the doctor that she was 54 years old, as we had thought she was in her seventies. The doctor assessed her and conducted some quick tests. My main concern though, about her having TB was put aside by the unexpected discovery that she was HIV+. This explained the time it was taking for her to recover from the cough and her aged appearance. It was hard to know if she really took in the implications it might have on her life and that of her grandchildren. I wondered how long she had been suffering without realising or getting the help she needed. But there was also hope; now that we knew the issue, we would be more able to help and support both her and her family.
I love my job as Head of the Practical support team. Beside overseeing the healthcare needs of the communities, it also means standing with people in their hardships and loving them in their vulnerability. It means helping them realise that they have the ability to change situations and can rely on God through anything. It gives me great joy to take Him with me into all I do in the communities and to know that He is always close, from laughing with Jaja about injections and celebrating the successes of the feeding programme, to supporting a family in grief and difficulty. Thank you Father for all that you did today and for all that you will continue to do for these communities and the families and friends who live in them.