This post is from Pastor Jim.
Today is the second day of work in the northern part of the Uganda. This is actually the region of the country that is the primary focus for our trip. We are working with community health clinics that are set up nearby, at a school in a small village.
This region and its history of challenges is the work that originally brought MTI to Uganda. In 2004 MTI’s program here had only 10 employees. The area, at that time, was surrounded by rebel armies from the LRA and others. Most medical personnel and even military forces were running away from this area as fast as they could, but MTI was working in towns to reestablish healthy living conditions and to support orphans that had lost their parents to rebel forces. Yesterday we visited a sight were more than 600 villagers had been buried in a mass graves after Joseph Kony and his LRA forces had destroyed the surrounding village.
Today the rebels are gone, thankfully, but there are new challenges. The district has been hit hard by cases of nodding syndrome. Today we assisted an MTI mobile clinic in a small village where treatment was provided and medicine was being dispensed to more than 100 nodding syndrome sufferers along with others who are being treated for other illnesses.
When we arrived, the clinic had been set up under a tree and was in full swing. They were still working hard at 3:30 when we left and would continue until every last patient had been treated and supplied with two weeks of medications when MTI would be there again. Tomorrow this mobile clinic will be in another village providing this care.
Last February, Felix Omodi, MTI Uganda Country Director, was in Portland preaching at my church, St. Matthew Lutheran in Beaverton. It was from him that I first heard about nodding syndrome. He showed us pictures and video of children disfigured by falls and trembling with seizures. Today we played with these children. They sang to us and they talked about their hopes and dreams for a bright future. None of them are cured yet because no one really knows what causes it or how it is contracted. But the medications are controlling the symptoms, and the kids we played with are just normal, happy, healthy children. The transformation is incredible.