“You will never be compassionate without listening to a person,” says Adam, Sole Hope’s lead social worker. And, at it’s heart, that’s what social work is all about. It’s about solving problems with people, not for people. It’s about listening and understanding. It’s about loving people enough to step into their lives and walk with them.
Peter is passionate about connecting the people who need Sole Hope’s services the most, with our team. Every week you can find him, hours outside of town, hours from paved roads, talking with community leaders and sitting with families suffering from jiggers.
“We act as a link between the community and the service provider,” Peter says.
Sole Hope’s Outreach House is located in Jinja, a small urban center where the Nile flows out of Lake Victoria. People in more remote regions can be suspicious of an organization from a far away town offering to help strangers free of charge. “Some people say ‘You may take us and throw us into the River Nile and say ‘Die with your jiggers.'”
Peter says that overcoming suspicion is all about forming relationships. That starts with finding common ground, building rapport, and allying with community leaders. “The most important approach is working with community people, especially the leaders,” he says. “People who are well known can act as a reference.”
Sole Hope is working to change the lives of people with jiggers. Although the problem of jiggers is complex, the solutions are really very simple: closed to shoes, washing feet daily, and removing jiggers early. However, these simple steps can be impossible for the elderly or the very young.
When Sole Hope encounters children or elderly people living with jiggers the social work team steps in. Sometimes the jigger infestation is a symptom of another problem. Who is caring for these people? Why aren’t they removing their jiggers? Time and again, Adam and Peter have spent hours in community meetings, talking with parents, calling distant relatives and reconnecting families.
They work to connect families with community resources. They work to educate families about jiggers. They work with neighbors and community leaders to support the most vulnerable families in their neighborhoods.
“I have a love for serving people,” says Peter. “It’s all about love for people.”