Some of you may be wondering what in the world is a jigger? It is a type of sand flea that burrows into the skin and then lays an egg sack. They cause serious wounds in the feet and sometimes hands. I am thankful that in our years here in Uganda, no one in our family has had to have a jigger removed yet. Mango flies, now that's another story...
Yesterday morning we loaded up the students in our van and headed to the Sole Hope Outreach house. We met the staff there and a few other missionaries who sometimes serve with that ministry. The have a beautiful house with guest rooms.
After a brief meeting we loaded up into the Sole Hope vehicles and began driving to the village where we would be doing the outreach. The younger children rode with the other missionary family since they have children of similar ages. Here we are with our middle school and high school students.
When we arrived at the school, one of the Sole Hope staff organized some games and songs with the children. Here is a photo of some of the children we came to minister to.
After that, we help set up the clinic in a few "classrooms." These are buildings made of some wodden planks with metal roofs and dirt floors. It was great that they had a location for us that was not in the sun. But it still gets very hot in those rooms. While the rooms were being prepared the workers were putting on aprons. Removing jiggers and washing feet the walk on dirt roads and floors can be messy work. The aprons are also helpful for storing sweeties and stickers to give out.
After checking in, the first room the children would enter was the foot washing station. I was excited to have the privilege to serve these kids in the exact way Jesus served his disciples described in John 13. Here is a photo of the foot washing room as we were preparing for the children.
While the older students washed feet, the younger students handed out sweeties and stickers to the children. It was great to see our students serving in these ways.
Later in the day our younger students also took a turn washing feet. David and I were glad we were able to serve alongside our students.Once the feet were clean, the carriers lifted the children and carried them to the jigger removal station. Since the floors are all dirt, it doesn't do any good to wash their feet if they are going to walk to the next station. Carrying can be a difficult job as some of these children are teenagers. At the jigger removal station the nurses worked to remove jiggers while volunteers took notes on the location of the jiggers and previous wounds.
While I was glad to be able to help, it made me very sad to see so many children with many jiggers in their feet. They must be in quite a bit of pain to be walking with all of those wounds. After the jiggers are removed and the wounds are cleaned, the children are given a new clean pair of shoes. Here is the shoe fitting station.
It is great to see the children leave with clean shoes and a big smile! We were thankful to be able to be a part of this beautiful ministry. The day was going very well, up until one of our students passed out and remain unresponsive for over an hour. One of the other missionaries there had her mom visiting who by the grace of God, is a nurse and paramedic. She was able to monitor the vital signs and give us some peace of mind until we reached the hospital. Thankfully, this new hospital in Jinja is well equipped and was able to quickly run bloodwork and even a CT. Everything was normal and after starting fluids with glucose and her sister calling to her, she woke. I cannot tell you how relieved I was. That hour seemed like a whole day for me and her mother as all we could do was wait and pray. We are so thankful that she is ok and we ask for your prayers as we all recover from an exhausting day. In the midst of this crazy day I saw God's gracious provision in so many ways. A paramedic on hand, other missionaries willing to drop everything to help us get to the hospital, a very supportive team from Sole Hope, a new hospital equipped with everything we needed to monitor her health while she was unconscious, and a church offering to cover the cost of the CT. God provides in many amazing ways each day. But mostly I am thankful that He has provided Jesus, my Lord and Saviour, who is my Sole Hope in life and death.