Restored Life and Hope

A story from St. John’s Kayoro Health Center in Uganda

This story was written by staff members at Give Us Wings, our partners in our Kayoro Clinic ministry. It originally ran in the July-August 2017 issue of The Evangelist magazine. It is both an individual success story and a representative tale of the thousands of people that the clinic is able to help every year. The references to “witchcraft” are not unusual; according to Health Program Manager Anthony Munene, the culture in that area still includes considerable reliance on traditional practices like witchcraft instead of conventional medicine. However, as the clinic continues to grow and thrive thanks to strong leadership and needed funds from generous donations, its reputation is growing as well thanks to the many patients who have been successfully treated there.

On September 28, 2016, a 63-year-old gentleman named Ochieng Samuel reported to St. John’s Kayoro Health Center II (SJKHCII). He arrived in great pain, unable to walk or sit upright, with large, deep wounds on his buttocks that were turning septic. He told SJKHCII that he felt “the end of the road was near.”

While working as a storekeeper in a reputable school in Kampala, Mr. Ochieng had been put on a six-day malaria treatment plan which involved daily artemether injections in his buttock area. While this treatment plan worked very well for his malaria, little did he know that he was developing abscesses due to the injections. The wounds kept increasing in diameter and depth because of “poor” medical care he received while in Kampala.

His condition brought enormous despair to his family, friends, and himself. He had been his family’s sole breadwinner; now he was bed ridden. Many of his friends solicited money to hire an ambulance to transport him back to his village. The main reason was to allow him to die in his family’s company, as no form of treatment administered to him was “working.” His family members attributed the cause of his “strange” illness to witchcraft. He visited herbalists and witchdoctors to seek treatment, to no avail. Finally, he gathered his strength and requested to be transported to SJKHCII, which was near his home.

Immediately after arriving at the clinic, thorough laboratory tests were done and it was found that he had high sugar content in his blood. The nurses cleaned and dressed his wounds, which were heavily filled with pus caused by the many different herbs used by the witch doctors.

Mr. Ochieng’s faith in the medication he was receiving saw him coming back to the clinic for dressing and blood sugar monitoring for three months. By the end of those three months, he had improved greatly, his wounds had completely dried up, the pus had been drained, and his blood sugar levels had normalized.

To the amazement of his friends back in Kampala, Mr. Ochieng did not die from the perceived “strange” condition. He is now able to walk and run. He has embraced good diet as a means to controlling his sugar levels and keeping healthy for his family and friends! Mr. Ochieng was welcomed back by his colleagues to his work as a storekeeper. His healing has been seen by his family and friends as a miracle.

If Mr. Ochieng had not had access to the quality care at SJKHCII where he learned about his diabetic condition, he would have most likely died from his diabetic wounds that were aggressively widening. To show his appreciation for the care given to him during his sickness and restoring his lost hope, Mr. Ochieng returned to SJKHCII to say good-bye and give his heartfelt gratitude to the staff who stood by him when everyone shunned him. The staff were very ecstatic about his improved health and his return to work.

Much like the traveler in the parable of the Good Samaritan, Ochieng Samuel was injured and in need, but many around him turned away. When we ask, like the lawyer hearing the parable, “Who is my neighbor?” the answer is that Ochieng Samuel is our neighbor. When we ask, “How do I love my neighbor?” we can answer that one way is through our support of St. John’s Kayoro Health Center II.

We don’t know Mr. Ochieng outside this story; we don’t know most of the patients that SJKHCII serves. But they are all our neighbors. As we pray, we can pray for them, and as we give, we can give for them, knowing that with God’s help they can be given restored life and hope.

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