Sole Hope is headquartered where the Nile River pours out of Lake Victoria. The red dirt hills and deep green foliage plunge into our planet’s second largest lake at the source of earth’s longest river. From here the lake looks narrow and it’s dotted with many wooden fishing boats that bring tilapia and perch to town. Taking one of these boats out, the landscape quickly changes into a maze of islands before these windswept waters open up and stretch to the horizons.
These equatorial islands and peninsulas, accessible only by boat, are home to countless people.
Stories about these islands make their way to Jinja from time to time. Stories of poverty and remote communities infested by Jiggers. But our land cruiser, while very tough, lacks a certain skill set possessed by Jesus and most boats.
Knowing our strengths and our transportational weaknesses, we have focused inland, running jigger removal clinics and picking up families for our outreach house from across the Busoga Region.
After receiving reports of a family infested with jiggers from several different people, our social workers insisted that we find a way to help. Peter and Matthew hired a fishing boat and traveled to the Nanso Landing Site where they picked up a family that is slowly stealing our hearts.
Annah and her seven children arrived at the Outreach House last Monday. Skinny arms and
glimpses of ribs protruded from their tattered clothes. Gloria, the oldest child at 8 years old,
carried 18 month Rachel from the car. I watched as our team of nurses and caretakers ushered
the family toward the showers and they shuffled, feet splayed in the telltale limp of jigger
But it wasn’t just the feet. Or the clothes. Or the layers of dirt. There was no hope in the eyes of this family. As Annah sat down and nursed her baby on the porch, all seven children huddled around her, silent and still, waiting, but for what?