When someone from a privileged country comes to Uganda, they become very aware of how blessed they are to have so much material wealth, but that is only the beginning. Access to healthcare is probably the most understated blessing we Americans possess. Sure, there are clinics on basically every corner in Uganda, but going further into the village and even affording to take a motorcycle taxi to that clinic and pay the fees for treatment becomes too big a burden.
This reality was presented recently when we were told by one of our sponsorship coordinators that a little boy named Akram had injured his foot and wasn’t healing. He was playing with a bicycle and his foot got stuck in the spokes and was badly injured.
Little Akram is a special little boy who melts the heart of everyone he meets with his timid smile and playful demeanor. He lives with his ailing grandmother who tries to care for him but is not always well suited for this energized 6 year old. We were very worried for him since we were told it had been 2 weeks since the injury happened and the grandmother was treating the wound with “local herbs”. Being a nurse I knew immediately that his wound would be badly infected, however, seeing the rotting black flesh on this little limping angel boy was almost too much to bear.
We immediately took him to the medical clinic (only a 20-minute drive) and the doctor said he could have become septic any day. The wound had to be debrided, cleansed and he was to receive IV antibiotics for a week. I took Akram's little hand and headed to the room where his wound would be treated, unfortunately without any kind of pain medication. As his tears streamed down my arm, I had to hold back my own tears as his cries echoed throughout the entire clinic. What settled my heart was the knowledge that this care was possibly saving his foot, if not his life.
Once the wound was cleansed and dressed, we paid the bill (only around $30) and bought him clean, new socks and shoes to wear to protect his foot.
Upon returning to the village he became happy little Akram again and I even caught him dancing later that day when music was playing. The joy in this boy's heart is extremely special and contagious. He faced so much pain over 2 weeks and suffered greatly at the clinic, yet still danced with glee a few hours later. Akram is my hero. He proves that no matter the hardships, no matter the pain, at the end of the day, life is worth dancing for!
Hearts & Hope is a nonprofit organization focused on unlocking the potential of people in Uganda through relationships with people in the US.