I am excited to tell you about a young man with a heart the size of the continent he lives on, and a smile to match. Our family has had the pleasure of developing, an almost non-verbal friendship with a boy named James. We first told you about James in the first month that we were in Uganda. We originally met James (but did not realize it) when we were in Mubende in February. He was a part of a large school screening that we did at Jabez primary school there. We found out a couple of weeks later that James had been run over by a car. He had been taken to the hospital in Mubende. The doctors there noted that he had a broken right femur and his left leg was so badly mangled that it had to be amputated above the knee. James is a sponsored student through African Renewal Ministries, it was arranged for him to come to Wentz Medical Center in Gaba to receive his remaining care. Initially, it was thought that his right femur could be surgically repaired so that he could get up and around quickly. I am unsure what happened with that plan, but it turned out that he was in traction for a couple of weeks, then put into a cast that looked almost like a pair of pants, waist and all. He slowly graduated from flat on his back, to a wheel chair. Through all of this, James always had a smile on his face and an upbeat attitude.
I had mentioned that most of our friendship with James was developed in a non-verbal fashion. He does not speak English yet, while we don’t speak Luganda yet. When we first learned of his predicament and that he was laying on his back for so long, we took him a gift basket with some books, puzzle books, handheld electronic games and a cool fighter jet that blinked and made a lot of noise! From that point on, he would light up when he saw us and give us hugs. As he got better, he would throw a ball around with our kids from his wheelchair. We don’t know who it was, but someone had told him that his leg was being held for him at a different location, almost giving him hope that he would have it back at some point. One of the ministries associated with ARM is Father’s Heart. They are distributing free wheelchairs, to people in need of them. They are cool, almost like a plastic lawn chair with a cushion, then off road wheels on the back. These wheels are almost like a mountain bike tire, allowing them to go on many of the terrains encountered in Uganda. A man named Francis heads up this program. He is an adult, but has been in a wheel chair all his life, due to a birth defect. He frequently does counseling with the distribution of these wheelchairs, as many of the recipients have recently suffered an injury requiring the device. He brought a wheel chair to James and explained to him that he would never get his leg back. James’ heart is so big and his smile so infectious, that Francis says that James ended up counseling him before their conversation was over.
James was in Wentz Medical Center for about 3 months. His mom and sister stayed with him there, about a 3 hour drive from their home in Mubende. We are happy that he got to go home and return to school, but we miss his smile and happy disposition. He has a wheel chair and some crutches that he can use for now. His left leg stump must continue to heal and toughen for another 4 months or so, then he is a candidate for a prosthetic leg. I did some checking into these with a local orthopedic doctor. It looks like we can get him fitted for one and then purchased for around $500 USD. They don’t do it often, but I think that we can get one that can be adjusted in length as he grows. Again, this is a specific opportunity for a Due Unto supporter to make a difference in a child’s life. I am here to tell you, this is not just any kid. He has spunk, resolve, charisma and a million dollar smile. It would not surprise me if he is president of Uganda some day! Please email me at DueUnto@gmail.com if you would like to help purchase his prosthetic.
Thanks again for your prayers for us and for the starfish like James. Your support is making a difference, one person at a time!