Phil's Blog - Wheels in Uganda, day 5
Monday 2nd July
Surprisingly awake this morning after about 5 hours sleep and up and ready for breakfast.
Back at the main distribution point this morning and again did an initial count of the chairs. As yesterday we are struggling for small chairs so I spent some of the morning trying to make sure the ones we had were in good working order with foot plates etc so that they could be used if needed. We actually had quite a lot of Children again today and like yesterday, in some cases we had to say no to some people as we simply didn’t have chairs for them.
For example at (if I remember correctly about 4pm) a mini bus from a school turned up with over 20 children, I don’t remember the exact number. Some had old crutches and some of the young boys were amputees. Some had to be carried out, helped by their teachers. So even though we didn’t have many chairs we did what we could in terms of crutches and shoes. Glenda even reached a new achievement, fitting two people into one wheelchair! Of course not your typical NHS practice (well not unless cuts get really bad I guess) but it worked in this case with a slight adjustment to the foot plates so their feet didn’t fall through the gap in the middle.
One lady I helped with “Anna the fantastic bladder” (I’ll explain that later) came on a taxi-bike but usually crawled on the ground. Not sure on the technical term for her disability but when we fitted her into a wheelchair we basically had to try and unfold her. She was quite a vocal lady and was with some of her family that looked after her from what I could gather. They said she didn’t really know what she was complaining about. I suspect they didn’t really listen to her.
Helen was fitting crutches but needed them shortening for some of the children. I was helping Roy with them and said jokingly to him, “I hope Helen measured them correctly and doesn’t then come back to us to ask for more taken off, but if she did just say no to her”. A minute later Helen appeared and started her sentence with something like, “sorry to be a pain but...” at which point I interjected, “go on Roy tell her no”.
Roy is of course too nice for that.. that was until Helen started making some jokingly snide comment.. at which point Roy simply replied, “Go and get some work done”.. perhaps you had to be there but I was laughing my socks off. I couldn’t think of a nicer guy to be out on a trip with (in the techie department, just in case Gordon thinks I don’t like him!).
It was another long day and we returned back at the hotel again at about 6:30 local time.
After dinner we again had our team time and Gordon’s topic was humility. Now of course we quickly had a discussion on who amongst us was the most humble. I as blog writer (at this point at least, facing possible rebellion from the rest of the team) decided that I must of course be the most humble. I am of course joking.. as if you think you are humble then I am pretty sure you have failed at it. Humility is something I may not master anytime soon.. and even if I did I wouldn’t know it, since again, thats surely the point.
We discussed toilets again and in fact Helen - a self confessed self defense expert (but that's another story) as well as cake eating master/monster, your choice - decided we now have another competition in play for the one who frequents the most non-hotel toilets whilst we are here. I so far appear to be winning... whoop!
but I think its fair to say its a lot easier for a guy here. Helen is coming in a close second. Kudos has to be given to Anna who explained that she had started the day wanting to go to the loo... yet held it in all day!
As such “Anna the fantastic bladder” is her new name. I mentioned before the toilets here are basic at the least, so it is understandable. For those reading this, Anna does know I am joking and in fact Mary suggested I should have names for other members of the team. Well Mary if thats what you want... from now on you will be called
Wait for it...
Anyway we need to get an early night since most of the team have a long journey to a school over 2 hours drive away to distribute chairs tomorrow. I’ll be up last I bet writing the blog again... oh .. yes I am, doh.. again flaunting, no flouting (not sure which) Glenda's orders to get to bed. There goes my pocket money again.
We did have to wait up however as some confusion lead to the tool kit and some other bags being left in the back of our driver's car. Thankfully he agreed to drive it over at 11pm to drop it off, so it's safe and sound and ready for tomorrows trip.
The team are now fully versed in my blog writing habits and for some reason look forward to the next installment of me telling you, the reader, all their little secrets. As such they have started throwing things in expecting me to write about it in the blog. However.. I won’t be mentioning Pip getting a composting toilet or Glenda’s inventing a new word “Gongleling”. Ooops.
Frivolities aside again, the team is in good spirits still. Perhaps I may make light of too many things, I know what we are doing here is serious business but I hope that God doesn’t mind the joy that we have in doing what we do. We remember the good and the bad, we laugh and for me at least I have cried. I know I am not going to be able to change the world and whatever we do will be a drop in the ocean, but we are trying to make a difference and I think thats what counts.
I am rewarded with the smiling faces in most cases from children with all sorts of problems (Cerebral palsy, amputees, learning disabilities etc). Surely there is another lesson we need to learn here. Back home I often think that things are tough but the reality is, its nothing compared to what we see here and my prayer is that God remind me of that. I found this on previous trips - that children can teach us a lot.
Anyway.. time for bed at the end of Day 5 (already!)
Please again pray for protection for the team, for things to run smoothly and of course most important for me at least for the lives of those individuals we see in Uganda. I hope they see God in what we do.
Night night !