"See that little boy over there with my nurse, Byron? He is a 3 year old with cerebral palsy."
I was not paying real good attention. The Medical Team saw about 200 patients that day in the village. Most of them looked sick to me. I'm not a doctor. The all looked a bit alike to me.
I threw a casual glance over in the direction that the Doc was pointing. I saw a small boy standing next to a woman that was certainly too old to be his mother. Maybe she was his grandmother.
"You won't believe where that old woman found him when he was just hours old," Dr. Klinger said.
|The rubbish heap is between Chris & the pig shed|
Suddenly I was fully alert. All senses were at peak performance. I saw a story. I smelled a story. I had just heard an amazing story. I quickly left my seat and made my way over to the old woman.
No. She was not a blood relative. She was 60 years old when she found an infant, still attached to his placenta, in a plastic bag on a rubbish heap next to a pig stall. She took the child, with much of the village spreading the story, faster than Facebook could, to the Local Chairperson. She told him the story of her discovery. She begged him to give her legal permission to take the child as her own ... to raise him as his mother.
|Where Catherine lives with Philip & 11 others!|
Legal permission was granted. By now, the whole village knew the story. Now, even three years later, everyone on the village knows this story. They can verify how this boy came to be with this old woman. We have to be careful when we hear stories. People can tell some funny stories to manipulate any kind of material benefit out of those of us who are guest in this nation of Uganda. But, this was a REAL story.
We had good interpreters and other support people for the medical staff that day, but Chris Kulaba wanted to be a part of the team. When he discovered Philip and became aware of his background, he felt drawn to him. He had to investigate where the little boy lived. When he returned to the clinic he told me a small story and I had to go investigate as well and see myself.
The following Saturday Philip came to our home with two other children who are kept by the old grandmother. Chris took them to town and bought shoes and bed sheets for Philip. Sandals were also given to him along with rice, beans, and salt to feed 12 people for ten days.
|Chris with his new young friend Philip with his brace|
The medical team put an arm brace on Philip and instructed the 16 year old "sister" to do physical therapy with him. We expect improvement. And we suspect that this is just the beginning of our relationship with Philip and his "family."
I don't believe in coincidences. I believe that God gives human beings a measure of freedom to make choices. If the Medical Team from Oklahoma didn't chose to come to Uganda we would have never been in the village of Bugembe. If some people didn't donate some money to Pastor David he would have never been able to purchase land in the location where the free medical clinic was held. If the medical clinic had not been in that location, the old woman named Catherine would not have come to the clinic with Philip. BUT, if God had not put that boy on that trash heap so that Catherine could find him she would have never had him to bring to the clinic. And, if Chris had gone to the farm that day and didn't come to the clinic he never would have fallen in love with that boy and ... we would have never started a relationship that promises to be long term.