Ruth

At 13 years old Ruth is shouldering a tremendous amount of responsibility. Years ago, Ruth’s father passed away, and shortly afterward, her mother was paralyzed in an accident.  Now the remaining caretaker to a disabled parent and three young children, Ruth works in the village fields in exchange for food she brings home for her family.

Ruth is strong.  

Walking and working barefoot in the fields, Ruth was attacked by jiggers. They burrowed in her feet, and soon infected her brother and two sisters as well.

Before long, Ruth felt her strength being stolen. Now, she was eating for herself and the parasites who sapped nutrients from her blood—and she simply could not find enough food. She became anemic and severely thin.  Her young siblings also became sick, and walking itself became painful.

As Ruth describes this crisis, she buries her face in the yellow and green cloth of her dress and weeps silently. It’s a sudden moment of vulnerability from the strong young girl.

Ruth loves her family.  

Sole Hope workers found Ruth and her family through a social worker in her district. They offered Ruth’s family a chance to come to the Hope Center. There, they received life changing treatment and education.

After even just a few days of eating well and bing jigger free, Ruth is feeling stronger.  She willingly volunteers to help wash dishes or clean the Hope Center—helping in any way she can. She seems to relish responsibility.  She works with her whole heart on each and every task. Ruth works hard on everything she does, hoping to build a future for herself and her family.

Ruth has dreams.  

Now, Ruth’s feet are healing. For the first time in a long time she has the chance to be a child again. Every day she is jumping rope, singing, and playing soccer with other patients her age.  In a few days, she will return home, armed with the skills and tools to help her family live jigger free forever. But for today, Ruth climbs into the blue seat of a swing and kicks her legs, feet floating above the ground. Dreaming.

Thank you for standing with Ruth, one of the strongest people we’ve ever met.  

 

Growth and Milestones

Shoemakers Moved! We are officially working on the new site in Buwenda.  The workshop is open and our shoemaking and tailoring teams are together in a brand new space specially designed for their craft.  

August saw the highest number of shoes we have ever produced in a month!

Tundula- Maro, a popular Ugandan musician teamed up with Sole Hope to write a song, record, and produce a music video about jiggers and how to live jigger-free. The video called “Tundula” which means “Remove it” was released in mid July, 2018.  The video played across national TV and the song and its content received lots of attention in all forms of media across the country. Uganda engaged in a meaningful discussion about jiggers, and we feel that it was a step towards removing the stigma around the condition.   

Young Living Visit- Partner organization, Young Living Foundation had a wonderful visit.  They worked hand in hand with our team in Uganda to set people free from jiggers and they toured the Young Living Foundation Hope Center.  

Emite Grant and Visit- Partner Organization Emite has given Sole Hope a grant to completely outfit the new workshop with all the tools and equipment we need.  They visited and got to see their donations changing lives.

Soccer Celebration- Sole Hope staff was invited to play a football match with a school we treated.  Free from jiggers, the students wanted a chance to celebrate with running and sports. What an awesome day!

Construction Update- The Shoemaking workshop is up and running! The Hope Center is in the finishing stages of plastering walls and adding a ceiling on the second floor.  We finally have working power lines to the site. The director’s house has walls up.

 

 

On the Horizon

As we enter the fourth quarter of 2018 we look forward to closing our out our most impactful year ever.  We have built buildings, programs, and relationships that are changing the course of Sole Hope.

Finishing Hope Center- We’ve turned in our notice on the rental property that houses our current Outreach operations, and we are looking forward to moving into the Hope Center on the new land.

Stability and togetherness- The past nine months have been a whirlwind of growth and transition.  We’ve added members to the team, we’ve changed work environments, we’ve pushed through the start again, stop again grind of construction. Through it all, the team has remained cohesive and committed to Sole Hope’s mission.  Morale has been high. We look forward to a time to learn the rhythms of a new place. We are looking forward to having all of our shoemaking and outreach operations on the same property in the new year instead of being spread across 4 different compounds.  

 

Program Impact by the Numbers

 

Initiative Patients Seen Jiggers Removed
Hope Center 217 29,115
Focus Clinic 227 1,393
School and Community Clinics 1,706 3,113
Total 2,150 33,621

Pairs of shoes made 6,734

Our social workers did follow up visits on more than 2,500 former Sole Hope patients.  95% of those patients we have treated are living jigger free!

At the Hope Center, a patient’s treatment begins with a thorough physical by Doctor Paul.  He and the team of nurses treat each patient for other preexisting conditions they may have.  In the third quarter of 2018, our team successfully treated:

79 cases of malaria  

7 cases of Bacterial Diarrhea

33 cases of Skin Infection

13 cases of Malnutrition

4 cases of Anemia

34  Respiratory tract infections

6 Urinary tract infections

We also made the diagnosis and connected people with appropriate local resources to manage:

6 cases of HIV/AIDS

6 cases of Hypertension

10 cases of Epilepsy

 

A Story about Peter

 

Day after day, the village’s traditional healer watched 12-year-old Peter awkwardly limp by, looking for a day’s work. Each day, he seemed a bit slower.

Peter is a 12-year-old living in the Mayuge District of Uganda. There, he fetches water or works for village farmers in exchange for food.He is pleased when he can find paid work, saving the cash for school fees. He longs to one day support his mother when she is too old to work.

One day, the first of many jiggers entered Peter’s foot, burrowing, taking nutrients, and forming a safe place to grow its eggs. Within weeks, Peter’s legs and feet contained dozens of the parasitic fleas, and were itchy, painful, and swollen with pink wounds.  He was continually sick, and almost too weak to work; the jiggers were taking his blood and weakening him.

Peter, tall and strong, stiffened his back. He would continue to work, regardless.

He went to the village healer for help.  The problem is not new—jiggers debilitate many villagers—but the healer didn’t have experience or a treatment he trusted. He reluctantly turned Peter away but kept his ears open for a solution.  

One day, the healer saw a blue Sole Hope van driving in the village, painted with the text, “#zerojiggers.” He got up and rushed to the van to arrange help for Peter.

Peter went with the Sole Hope workers to the Hope Center, a clinic in the town of Jinja where patients with severe cases of jiggers receive free care, courtesy of Young Living donors.  There, Peter’s jiggers were removed. He received rehabilitating care, clothes, and shoes. He also learned how to prevent jiggers from entering his body ever again.

“I feel so fine,” he says. “I can play now and even shower. Work and life will be easier now when I return to the village.” He has recovered his old strength.

Thanks to SoleHope, and the donors supporting their work, Peter has hope for his future; “If God continues blessing me, I will buy my own boda boda (or motorcycle taxi)”—an investment toward greater things.

He remains devoted to his mother; “If God blesses me to go to school, I can become a builder to make my mother a new home.”

In a few days, he will leave, renewed to work for a better future, and inspired to share the help he has received: “I will help others stop the jiggers.”