At CURE, we affectionately call our friends who donate $35 a month “heroes.”
And you know what? We mean it. Here are four quick reasons why:
1. Heroes see a need and they respond.
So here’s our “bat signal” for you:
CURE could heal MORE kids. We have the beds in our hospitals to do it. The missing piece? Donors. People willing to say, “I see what needs to be done, and I’m going to do it.”
Here’s the equation. It’s really this simple:
You + Action = Healed little bodies.
That’s an opportunity for heroism.
2. Heroes look for ways to change lives. It’s just what they do.
You’re changing the life – forever! – of a precious child, every single month.
This isn’t “child sponsorship.” You’re helping to heal a different boy or girl each month. You get to see her picture, or read about his condition and progress. You get to be part of God’s work in their lives.
You’re part of a remarkable story, month after month, one after the other – stories that wouldn’t happen without you.
3. Heroes sacrifice for what they believe.
There’s a children’s song that says, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.”
It’s one thing to sing it.
You’re proving it.
4. Heroes know what they do matters.
One person may look at a hurting child, or a heartbroken mom, and say, “If God wants to help that person, He will do it without me.”
Another says, “But God’s plan is to use us. And I’m going to act.”
That second person?
Being here in Ethiopia for six months already blows my mind. It’s hard to believe I’ve been here that long! I continually think, “How will I ever enjoy a job as much as I enjoy working for CURE?” I can’t imagine anything fulfilling my heart as much as seeing kids come with physical disabilities and leave healed and happy! I wish visitors could see kids pre- and post-surgeries, but no one can take off from work for that long for a visit! That said, it’s my job to show you both.
“Leeds medical family’s African mission” from Yorkshire Evening Post
“Dr. Benjamin Warf – Treatment of pediatric brain tumors in sub-Saharan Africa” from Global Oncology
“Cyclist nominates surgeon who got him back in saddle” from Oxford Mail
From the moment a patient enters the CURE Outpatient Department, exceptional care for both the patient and parent is the focus. To better explain the process, CUREkids intern Josef Malabbi sat down with the team that meets and greets upwards of 30 patients per day.
Social workers play a vital role in patient care and relations at CURE. Our social work team sits and talks with each patient and parent. Family backgrounds, home life, payment options, and any misunderstandings of the condition(s) are all discussed.
One of our social workers, Nyote Moses, has been with CURE for close to a year. He graduated from Uganda Christian University with a concentration in Development Studies. Nyote possesses a gentle spirit and attitude that brings comfort to those around him and says that his work here has helped him to grow holistically, spiritually and professionally. He sums up his work here and the hospital in general with just a few words: “CURE is a center of HOPE.”
Social workers prepare patients and parents psychologically before a doctor is introduced. The goal is to help the parents understand what exactly is happening to their child. Part of our job is treating not only the illness, but also addressing any preexisting myths or beliefs that may exist. To treat a child and have a parent leave the hospital still thinking it was witchcraft or superstition that caused the illness may prevent others from traveling to CURE for treatment. Word of mouth is an extremely important means of communication in Uganda, especially in rural locations.
After meeting with a social worker, the patient is directed to accounts. A payment plan is arranged by the social worker and one of our employees, Annet Mwebaze, reviews the plan. Annet received an accounting degree from Makerere and is happily married with three children. Although there wasn’t a vacant accounting position at CURE when she applied, she agreed to work in the laundry room and did so for six years. Her perseverance and dedication paid off and she eventually became responsible for payments in the outpatient department. While Annet is responsible for monetary transactions, her job is ultimately relational. She faces many challenges with the financial struggles of the patients and their families, and as a way of instilling hope and courage, she often ends up praying with the patients and their caretakers.
After finishing with accounts, the patient is ready to see the doctor. After the doctor gathers patient history and conducts a brief exam, the patient is usually sent to the laboratory. X-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds, as well as blood tests are conducted in the lab. Once the results are back, CURE doctors create a plan for treatment. The patient is then admitted to the ward to await surgery.
Once the procedure is over, patients are moved to the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and put under oxygen, ventilation, and intensive care by the nurses to regain stability and awareness. The patient is then sent back to the ward for observation for a few more days before discharge. Before leaving the hospital, social workers once again chat with the caretaker. The importance of following discharge instructions and attending all follow-up appointments is addressed, as well as any questions from the caretaker.
At the conclusion of that conversation, the patient is discharged and returns home. Everyone from nurses to cleaners to security to maintenance staff may be found saying goodbyes. Every child that we see is another opportunity to change lives not only physically but spiritually.
Being physically disabled doesn’t mean a person has no power over themselves, for the word of God teaches us that we are all created in His image. To have power over your disability is to accept that God created you and that you can do anything any other person can do.
Shakira’s story made me believe that disability is not the same as inability. She was born with her right leg shorter than her left leg, and yet she is always a winner at her school’s racing competitions. Her grandmother, Mary, who is also her guardian at the hospital, says her teachers are always telling her how impressed they are with Shakira. Despite comments from other students that she is a witch (because of cultural beliefs about disabilities), she appears as if she doesn’t care, and still interacts with everyone so well.
Shakira comes from Balaka District. She lost both of her parents when she was still a young girl and doesn’t remember them at all. Her grandmother took her in when she was only 2 years old and is the one raising Shakira now. Mary said she realized Shakira’s legs were different when she was only a week old. She rushed her to the hospital in their district, where she was told that Shakira was very young for an operation. In 2010, Mary took her grandchild to the hospital again, where she was advised to come to CURE. However, since she does not have any source of income, she had to wait a full year to earn enough money for transportation to CURE.
Shakira is in primary school. Her disability has never once stopped her from going to school, despite being subject to a lot of discrimination from friends. Shakira doesn’t mind; she smiles and sails through it all. Mary said she is happy that Shakira is positive about her condition; it’s easy for her to keep encouraging Shakira that she can still be the person she wants to be, no matter if she is disabled or not.
Mary is a Christian and believes all healing comes from the Lord. Her stay at CURE has been a blessed one! She was in tears as she explained how touched she was to know how many children CURE heals for free. “I wish I could say I have millions to thank you. But God, who knows how to bless people, should shower His blessings on CURE. Through your works, you are showing God’s greatness.”
Lauren Blessing is a junior at the University of Georgia and is studying to be a physician assistant. She is on the executive board of UGA’s CURE U chapter and is honored to be a part of CURE’s mission. She traveled to CURE Zambia for three weeks this summer and loved every moment of her time there. The following is an excerpt from a blog post she wrote while there.
Despite all of the joy and beauty that God is creating out of pain here in Zambia, heartbreak is still present. Sixty to seventy percent of Zambia is unemployed, so poverty is huge. The Zambian people are incredibly kind and peaceful, but the highest crime here is theft due to the desperate need for basic necessities. One of the surgeons today was asking us if we would rather go insane or live in poverty. Most of us said we would rather live in poverty. He explained that he would rather be insane, because poverty drives people to do worse things than insane people do.
Across the street from the hospital, there is a compound. The compound is a large enclosure area that has huts and no electricity or running water. This is where the unemployed and poor people in Lusaka live. Despite the developments in Lusaka and it being the capital city, there is still so much poverty.
My heart breaks when I play with the kids in the ward and realize the conditions in which they live. For example, I spent a long time playing with Play-doh with some of the older kids yesterday. One little boy named Gift has club hands. As I was showing him how to roll the clay and play with it, my heart broke as he attempted to roll the clay with his disfigured fingers. Then he broke into a huge smile and giggle, and I remembered the promise that the Lord has for each of these children. Despite the pains of this world, they are perfect in His eyes.
The children have incredible willpower and pain tolerance. Philemon (who goes by Philly) has severe clubfeet and spent the entire afternoon learning soccer tricks from Krista, a girl on our team, despite the fact that his feet face in entirely different direction than normal feet.
These kids are determined to not let anything hold them back. Two precious twin boys who are two years old have the most energy I have ever seen. They run around with us continuously and never tire, yet they have rickets which has caused severe bowed legs. Somehow they can still outrun me when I am chasing after them… it’s incredible!
Also incredible: witnessing my first neurosurgery, maybe one of the coolest experiences EVER. I watched an ETV (Endoscopic Third Ventriculostomy) procedure, and I am pretty sure my jaw dropped during the entire surgery. An eleven year old boy was treated for hydrocephalus as a baby and received a shunt, but the pressure through the shunt was too high. This surgery involved drilling a hole in the skull and using an endoscope through the brain. It was the most incredible thing I may have ever seen and I literally got to stand right behind the surgeon and watch over his shoulder as he talked me through the procedure. I was so humbled to have the opportunity to observe the masterpiece of neurosurgery.
Lord, I thank you for the power of healing through prayer and medicine, the talented hands and compassionate hearts of the surgeons, the hard-working nature of those that work at the hospital, the brothers and sisters in Christ that I have found, the beauty of a laugh and smile, the ability of that same laugh and smile to cross language barriers, and for the work that CURE does everyday in this place and around the world.
Originally posted at: http://journeytozambia.blogspot.com/2014/06/in-awe.html
Mariam is 12 years old and is the fifth of seven children. Her father is a grocer; he uses a cart pulled by a horse to sell his produce because he doesn’t have a shop. Her mother is unemployed.
Mariam’s family found out about CURE from a billboard they saw as they were walking through the streets once day. It sounded too good to be true. They figured that “free” medical care meant lots of red tape and a very long waiting list.
One month later, a neighbor was visiting their home, so Mariam prepared tea for everyone. As she was entering the room to give the guest the tea, she fell because of her disability. The guest laughed loudly and made fun of her. Mariam’s mother began to cry because it hurt to see her daughter treated that way. They decided to go to CURE the next day.
When they came to CURE, they were surprised that there was no red tape, and no waiting! The doctor examined Mariam and scheduled surgery for one week later.
Kerollos is a 5-year-old boy, and the youngest of three children. His family lives in Garbage City; his father is a garbage collector.
Because of his disability, Kerollos depended on his parents for most of his daily activities. The family heard about CURE in their neighborhood because CURE has a good reputation for helping the disabled children of Garbage City. CURE has changed the lives of many of children like Kerollos!
Eriny is a 9-year-old girl. She is the youngest of four children. Her father is an Orthodox priest. He is very poor; his salary from the church is barely enough to buy food for his children. They live in a small apartment in Cairo.
Eriny’s disability is treatable, but when they sought treatment they suffered from discrimination because her father is a Christian priest. They lost hope in the places they visited, but they never lost hope in God. They prayed every night and trusted that He would help Eriny at the right time!
When they heard about CURE, Father Youstos was so happy. He told me that God is the one who arranged for him to know CURE. Eriny underwent surgery one week after the examination and the family was so happy!