Today’s blog will be an update on one friend and an introduction to another. I described Jamil and the eye problem that he has in this blog, about 10 days ago.
Ten year old Jamil and an adult cousin took the bus from Palissa to Kampala on Thursday. This is about a 4 hour journey from the bush to the capital city. They stayed with Fred, a gentleman that is a friend of Jamil, and actually started a private school in Palissa. Jamil is not presently attending school because of the problems with his eye, but is a good candidate to do well in school. This private school offers a better education than the government schools in the Palissa area. One note while we are here is that even though they are “government” schools, children still are required to pay tuition. This is usually about $40 per year. This sounds cheap enough, but if you make $1-2 per day and have 6 kids, it is not easy. So there are many kids that don’t go to school or only go through a few years and then their tuition money is moved to a younger sibling.
We met up with Fred, Jamil, and his cousin at an imaging center on Friday morning, to get a repeat CT of Jamil’s head/eye. This took us 2 hours to complete, and then another 3 hours to get the reading and the films to take with us. I had called Dr Agaba, Jamil’s ophthalmologist, and he advised me that he would be in the office until 6:00pm. We were able to head to the office at 5:00pm, worried if we could make it with Friday afternoon Kampala traffic. We considered putting Jamil and Fred on a Boda-Boda to allow them to make it there faster, but traffic started to move and we got to the office by about 5:40. According to the CT scan and Dr. Agaba, the tumor behind Jamil’s eye appears benign, but has grown by 25% since September of last year. He said that the tumor involves the optic nerve, so restoration of his vision in the eye does not seem promising, but the eye should be preserved. We advised Dr. Agaba that we were praying for Jamil to have vision in the eye, after surgery, and that he should not be surprised when it happened! We were shocked when Dr. Agaba said that he could do the surgery on Tuesday. So rather than sending Jamil home, we signed him up for a life changing operation, he is staying with Fred, and will check into the hospital on Monday. Please continue to pray for Jamil’s healing and for his vision in the affected eye to be restored! As we left the doctor’s office, we headed back out into Kampala traffic. I was driving, stuck at a traffic circle. Jamil was sitting right behind me looking out the window. We were stopped next to a “street preacher” who was getting all lathered up, screaming the gospel in Luganda. He stopped right in the middle of a sentence and looked at Jamil, then looked at me and said “that boy is going to be healed”! I told him that we were praying for that and working on that. The street preacher then said, “Jesus is alive, you just have to believe that he will be healed”. The traffic started to move and we drove to let Fred, Jamil and his cousin off at their stop.
We are going to be in Kitgum this week, and I am selfishly disappointed that we won’t be at the hospital when Jamil comes out of surgery or starts seeing with his right eye again. Fred is going to make sure that Jamil gets checked in on Monday, and then will take pictures and give us updates daily. Jamil should be in the hospital for 3 days after surgery. Due Unto Others supporters are making a huge difference for this young man. Thank you.
The new friend that I would like to introduce to you is Benjamin.
This young man is 10 years old now, but at the age of 5, he was dumped in the “bush” by his parents because he had started to develop a skin problem that caused sores and scars all over his body. Many times, when a disease like this occurs, the family thinks that the child is cursed, and the hurry to get rid of them. A lady in Kampala saw an article about Benjamin in the newspaper, and felt God calling her to make Benjamin “her business”. He has been staying with her for 5 years, and continues to get recurrent lesions that are painful, and then they scar over. He has about 50% of his body covered with scars. He was seen once by a doctor in Kampala, but did not get a diagnosis, and was offered a medicine that was too expensive for her family to afford. When I first heard about Benjamin, I just heard that he had skin sores, so I thought we should be able to treat him pretty simply. But as I have mentioned above this is a complicated, chronic issue. When I examined Benjamin, I took some pictures and started him on some medicines to prevent infection. I have since, emailed a medical school classmate of mine, Creed Stewart, in Sherman Tx. I got a long distance consult from him, and among other possibilities, the one that I think is most logical is leprosy. Leprosy is a rare condition, but could very well be the cause of this boy’s problem. I will be encouraging his mother to take him to a skin specialist at Mulago with the intent of getting a skin biopsy and culture. This should tell us the exact diagnosis. This may be another specific opportunity for Due Unto Others supporters to make a difference for a child. Leprosy can be treated with 6-12 months of 3 antibiotics. These can be expensive, but I will keep you updated as we move forward with him. Please pray for Banjamin and his skin problem specifically.
We are going north of Gulu to Kitgum this week. I will bring you updates on our clinics there and on Jamil this week, if I am able to get internet access.
Thank you for your prayers.