Every life is a journey
One Frontline morning, we met a family of seven children led by a unemployed single-mother named Mary. The first person that caught our eye was a boy in the background with sunken eyes, dry, chapped skin and a very sad face. On inquiry, we discovered this was Edward, a 14 year-old with impeded growth (he was the size of an eight year-old). The Frontline team organised an emergency referral to Mulago Hospital’s nutrition centre a.k.a Mwana Mugimu where he was diagnosed with malnutrition. Mary agreed to accompany her son but feared that while she was away the other children would go hungry or that their makeshift house, which was in a serious state might collapse. We volunteered to provide food for them and to visit regularly while she attended to Edward in hospital. After two weeks he was discharged and Mama returned home with the knowledge necessary for giving him and her other children a balanced diet. Having handled the emergency, we continued to build a relationship with the family and learned that Edward’s dad had rejected him from childhood, claiming he could not be the father of such a small child. Over the years he said many hurtful things to Edward while putting all the blame on Mary. Edward grew up feeling segregated and an object of ridicule, while his mother found herself feeling resentful towards her son for all the shame being heaped on her. This made Edward withdraw into himself and stay silent as much as possible.
Another challenge to the family was the dangerous state of their house; it was on the brink of collapse and easily accessible for all the creatures in the neighbouring marshland. Mary had tried to improve it but lacked the funds to manage anything lasting. Every Life, with the help of Opolot, a beneficiary of our past building programme, worked to rebuild the house with cost-effective but durable materials. The house was completed and included a sturdy door for safety and to keep out the marsh creatures! We provided a food package to help Mary focus on getting a job and brought a rehabilitation worker from CoRSU (Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services Uganda) to assess and observe Edward. After a referral he was diagnosed with mild autism. We encouraged Mary to come along to Discipleship where she learned to receive God’s love; this helped her, in turn, to love her son and see him as a gift from God and bolstered by our visits to the home, the blanket of depression lifted from the family. The family are now regularly part of our Encounter worship times at the Dream Centre and in an amazing answer to prayer Mama recently got a job! Edward has greatly recovered his confidence and speech and always comes to greet us with a cheerful smile. The team are currently searching for a school with the skills to teach and encourage him, please pray that we are able to find the right place.
“I encountered Every Life when my life was most challenging; my husband and father of our seven children had just abandoned me and the young ones; he left me lonely, hopeless and unable to make ends meet. My son Edward was my biggest worry, he was so malnourished and retarded in his growth that I had despaired of life. He was always sad. Our house was in such bad shape, it was about to collapse altogether. When Every Life came, my son was rescued from certain death through nutrition intervention, the visits restored his joy; Discipleship has restored my hope for life in Jesus. Our house was renovated just in time, I now have a job and my family is safe and happy. Thank you God for these new friends! “