The media director of Next Generation Ministries produced a short video of the need and we released it along with the opportunity for donations. And, within a single day, we were developing a strategy to see the final chapter to be carried out at The Heart Institute in the large government hospital in Kampala.
But, we had no idea the story would be comprised of so many twist and turns that we would be left shaking our heads and some of us even speechless.
The First Chapter was a classic example of how a need and a solution came together without any glitches. I wrote about it on December 5th.
|Amina with her 22 year old mother Aisha|
The surgeon scheduled admission to The Heart Institute for December 17th. Test would be conducted the following day in preparation for the surgery on Friday, December 19th.
Tuesday night I called Muhammad, Amina's father, and reminded him to bring Amina to my house no later than 6:30 AM. We had made this early morning trip to Kampala twice before without any complication. I had no reason to believe this time would be different.
|One of the donation boxes in a restaurant|
At precisely 6:45, and with no sing of Amina and her family, we drove off with total expectation that we would find the child and her parents at the hospital. But ... we did not. As we began to make multiple phone calls over the next several hours, we were given conflicting explanations, all designed to keep us believing that Amina was on her way and going to arrive, at the hospital for admission, any time.
We waited all day, with Nikki of Morning Star Foundation, up to 5 PM and decided there was something really fishy going on. We left the hospital, got some dinner, and drove back to Jinja ... confused and suspicious. That evening, some of our associates began to get their information networks active. We began to hear that there was no effort for this family to get to the hospital in Kampala. Instead, they had been reported as being seen on the streets of Jinja and Iganga, on a vehicle with loud speakers, raising money for heart surgery in India!
|Moments before the live broadcast began|
After confirming that money had been collected for some time in the donation boxes distributed in various locations, I was told that Muhammad was suppose to be on the largest media station in just a few minutes to use that medium to raise support. I walked down to the NBS TV and Radio station to investigate. One of the donors who had discovered that enough money had been collected by NGM to pay for Amina's surgery, and in fact she was suppose to have been admitted the day before, was already in the station complaining to the host personality. I was immediately invited into the broadcast studio and informed that Muhammad was, indeed, suppose to be on the program to raise more funds. In just a few minutes he arrived with Aisha and Amina.
|The scam comes apart at the seams ... LIVE!|
Several business men in Jinja, who had participated in Muhammad's effort to raise funds, entered the studio in hope that they could be heard, and put some distance between them and Muhammad. He was the only one having keys to the donation boxes in their establishments and there was no accountability. It was eventually estimated that he had most likely raised between 18 and 20 million shillings in his combined efforts. BUT, he did not have a passport and had no one working with him to really see that his daughter would travel to India for surgery. Additionally, when I confirmed that her type of surgery could be done very well at The Heart Institute and that NGM had all the money necessary for the surgery, transportation for the family, as well as food and any other contingencies, outrage began to come from the call in listeners.
|Jinja businessmen appreciating NGM on air|
|Amina soon after her successful surgery in ICU|
|Morning Star Foundation rep, Nikki, in ICU with Amina|
After Aisha saw her daughter, Amina, in ICU she rushed out to see us and was bursting with happiness. She was relieved. She was smiling like I had never seen her smile. She began hugging everyone. Her happiness was too much for her to contain. This was the woman who carried Amina for 9 months in the womb and who must have worried about her for the past three years ... with the additional burden of knowing how her husband was using her daughter's misfortune for his personal financial gain.
|Amina after surgery with Dale Chapman & Papa|
There is another story behind this story that is behind the story. The deception, the outcry, the indignation, the anger, and disgust for the behavior of the father of Amina is still there. People who have donated have vowed to never give again to any need like this. The TV interview, which exposed him, is being rerun this afternoon. Other media outlets are asking if we could please come and talk about this story. Next Generation Ministries is receiving appreciation from various sources for what they have done.
But, like I said, there is a story that is behind this story. It is shorter, but just as significant. Look for it in the next post to this blog.
Thanks to all those who prayed and/or financially contributed for the improved health of a little 3 year old girl whose future has just been given some increased options.