Monday, February 24, 2014

What Pictures Can't Describe; What Words Can't Show

by Marjorie Broce
How can I explain what I saw yesterday? It defies both words and photos.

I saw babies in one "crib" after another with their mums, grandma's, and some dad's living on the stark floor beside them. Some babies were in noticeable pain. Others were sleeping peacefully. One absolutely adorable little girl had growths all over her body that were becoming huge and they stunk badly. She was getting them cut off. 

In that same room, but in the last section, there were boys with broken limbs. Many were  in a boda (motorcycle taxi) accident or a boda had hit them while they were trying to cross the street. One boy had both legs in casts and they were stretched far apart, suspended in mid-air by ropes. 

In the next unit over, we visited the men's burn section. One man had had acid thrown into his face. I'm not sure if he can still see, but his skin was discolored and terribly burned. We only talked with his brother, Isaac, as he was in too much in pain to speak. Bed after bed, the burn victims lay there in pain with their family members on the floor near them, trying to help take care of them. It smelled grossly of infection in that room. 

Also in the same big room, but the next section over, were the babies who were burned. I talked to one mom, named Stella. She had the most precious tiny baby girl you've ever seen. But from the baby's little mouth and downward, it was gooey from a terrible burn. Her little tiny body was covered with stretchy bandages and her little charred toes stuck out of the bandages. The mom told me a candle had fallen on the little girl and caught her clothes and blanket on fire.

Because most of the poor here in Uganda live without electricity, burns accidents occur frequently. For each one that I talked with, I prayed for the patient's healing, as well as strength for the caregiver. The public hospitals don't provide the same amount of care as in western hospitals, as they are short staffed and underfunded in comparison.
I never made it to the far section, but I was told that the burned women were down there. Some had their faces burned off, others were missing an eye, and many injuries were the result of domestic abuse. That just tears at my heart. How can people be so cruel?

My thanks goes to Sharon Bogle and Bill Bogle who have been arranging these visits to Mulago Hospital (Uganda's national and premier public hospital) and preparing bags with gifts like sugar, tea and a diaper in each. The family members must supply the food for the patient, and so the prayer and the gifts are a huge blessing to them. The Bogle's gather a small group of Ugandans and missionaries once a month for a couple of hours to love on people that most have forgotten.

When you think of the patients of Mulago Hospital, pray for them. Even prayers from afar are effective and comforting.

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