NOTES FROM THE FIELD…

Follow Up

Ben, a social work intern from Uganda Christian University, went  along for his first social work follow up trip this quarter. He was with Adam, Dinah, Becky, and a crew of new interns.  Together they drove the hours into the mountains to follow up on the patients Sole Hope has treated in this region so far in 2019.  

The deeper the group worked their way into the mountains, the worse the roads became.  More than once, the vehicle got stuck in the mud and farmers from the community came out to lend a hand getting them back on the road.  

“I’m not used to climbing those mountains,” Ben says.  

Day after day, the team visited our former patients.  They were greeted with joy. “When you reach those houses and you see the children running towards you,” says Dinah, one of the social workers leading the trip.  “The patients can feel your concern.” 

In home after home, Ben found lives transformed.  “We have seen people going back to school. We have seen Sole Hope changing communities,” Ben says. “Now these kids are putting on sole hope shoes.” 

“Sole Hope has left a legacy,” Ben says.

Topista

Topista is a five year old girl with a smile that is infectious.  As I write this, she is giggling and running through the office firing a squirt gun and making everyone laugh.  

Two weeks ago, things looked different.  Mary, Topista’s mom, needed help. She watched helplessly as Topista and her two little sisters cried themselves to sleep at night due to the pain and itching in their jigger infested hands and feet.  “Jiggers were affecting our whole family,” she says. “First they attacked the kids, and then they came for me.” 

“Let me go Sole Hope,” Mary told herself.  “Maybe I can go there and find help.” Mary went to a local pastor and asked for a loan.  With approximately $3, she and her three small children got a seat in a crowded taxi van that climbed hills and passed through lush tropical forests along the shore of lake victoria.  They stopped in a town and caught another taxi. They arrived in Jinja, alone and unable to speak the local languages. Mary held her children’s hands in the busy taxi park, unsure of where to go.  A boda driver, pulled over on his motorcycle to check and see if they were ok. Mary asked for a ride to Sole Hope, and she clung to her daughters as they rode through town, looking for hope.  

Mary knocked on our gait tentatively.  When it swung open, she found what they were looking for.  Mary and all of her children received medical care, education, nutritious food, and new shoes.  “Since reaching Sole Hope we have seen improvement,” Mary says. “Nobody cries at night.” 

The family is looking forward to going home tomorrow and working in the fields.  “The education I’m getting will help me keep my kids and all of us safe,” Mary says.  

Mary is getting ready to go home with her kids.  Topista is organizing games with other patients and staff at the Hope Center.  The social work team is making a plan on how to do follow up visits and make sure the family is successful in the future.

Victories and Milestones 

 

This has been our most impactful quarter ever! We treated the highest number of patients, removed more jiggers, and treated more medical conditions than ever before.  And we couldn’t have done it without you! Here are a couple of highlights from the past three months: 

Sole Hope Uganda ran our first annual 5k and patient fun run!  Our staff and friends got together and ran down the road and through the villages.  Competition was fierce, and the community was supportive, cheering from front porches, and running with us on the straightaways. 

New team members–  Please welcome, Dinah and Rebecca, the newest members to our social work team, and Emma a professional driver! They are helping Sole Hope transport and holistically care for patients from Bugisu, an area North and East of jinja.  

New Districts–  Sole Hope has forged relationships with a number of new districts across the past quarter, meaning we can bring our services to more people in need! 

Team meeting in Nashville–  Sole Hope’s board of directors and stateside staff met in Nashville.  It was an exciting time discussing how to strengthen and grow Sole Hope over time.

THE NUMBERS

 

Initiative

Patients Seen

Jiggers Removed

Hope Center 

279

53,164

Focus Clinic

73

829

School and Community Clinics 

2,067

3,465

Total

2,419

        57,458

 

Pairs of shoes made 5,064