She had been so afraid of the rebels. Now, miles from the fighting, she was terrified for another reason: Elisa, her son’s, small, dry cough had quickly become something much worse. His chest hurt so much that he cried from the pain. His face burned with fever. Becoming weaker and weaker, he couldn’t even walk when they reached Uganda.

Was it his heart? His chest? Something else? Elisa’s mother was so afraid… without help, she was sure her little boy would die.


Elisa, a little boy in the Uganda settlement, sitting with his mother and younger brother

When fighting started near their home, Elisa’s mom knew it was too dangerous to stay. But now he was too weak to walk, and cried from the pain in his chest.

Not weeks before, they had a comfortable home and normal life in Burundi. Elisa went to school, played and had friends. But bloody civil conflict raged around them and when the fighting started near their home, she knew it was too dangerous to stay. They quickly abandoned everything they called “home” and fled to safety in Uganda.

But now, it seemed that death had followed them. Without a home, how could she get help for her son? Who would she ask? Where could she find a doctor? Above all– how could she keep her son from dying?

Then, she finally received the answers her son desperately needed.

Arriving at the refugee settlement in Uganda, Medical Teams International staff stationed at the refugee reception center quickly noticed that something was seriously wrong with Elisa. Immediately, they transported him to the local hospital– a hospital run by Medical Teams International, and that you help supply with critical medical supplies.

It seemed death had followed them.

Doctors discovered a dangerous buildup of fluid from an infection in little Elisa’s lungs, and knew something had to be done– and quickly.

Immediately, they gave Elisa antibiotics, giving his body the power it needed to fight the infection. Working quickly, they drained the fluid from his lungs. Soon, his breathing finally started improving.


Elisa smiling with his mother in their home in the Uganda refugee camp

Soon, Elisa will be strong enough to begin attending school at the settlement.

Still weak after such a close brush with death, Elisa clearly needed follow-up care to survive. Working alongside his family, we made sure Elisa received the follow up care he needed, bringing him highly-nutritious food and transporting him to and from his appointments– a challenge that can be hugely difficult for refugees with little to no source of income.

Now, he is strong and healthy enough to run and play with the other children

After a month of care, Elisa was finally strong enough to walk. Now, he is strong and healthy enough to run and play with the other children in the refugee settlement. Soon, he will be strong enough to begin attending school at the settlement.

Finally, after fleeing violence, losing their home, and many, many prayers, his mother knows her son is safe.

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