Circular - June 2021: News of former patients, and further progress with water at Acheru
The Acheru team continues to visit northern Uganda regularly, and were able to follow up on some former patients. Many children treated at Acheru form lasting relationships and become part of the Acheru 'family' which can mean a lot to them. We follow their progress with interest and can sometimes provide further help to those experiencing particular difficulties.
Sam Opio
On a recent visit to the north the Acheru team were able to visit Sam Opio, the boy who had a large tumour removed and a section of cheekbone replaced. He is happy, and is now training to become a tailor. He is staying with his parents and rents a room in the training centre. He is presently using a sewing machine borrowed from his trainer, but will need his own machine if he is to progress. This is something which can be considered by Acheru as our community workers have discretion to assist from the community fund.

Sam Opio
Obua Eric
It's over a year since I wrote about Eric, and the very difficult journey he endured when he was brought to Acheru from the north. He was very ill, and it has been a slow recovery; he is still at Acheru, but the staff were recently able to take him for a home visit; it's important to maintain the family and community connection with longer term patients. The following is a report from Acheru:
"We can't forget November 2019, the day we found Eric at the banana plantation where he used to sit and beg for something to eat from any Good Samaritan who passed by. We were coming from an outreach clinic at Ngai, in Oyam District, Northern Uganda. (Eric was suffering from severe neglected osteomyelitis of his left leg; his story was on the website in February 2020, and on the Acheru facebook page.)

Every Acheru patient requires a carer; Eric's brother came with him, but then 'escaped', leaving him alone after surgery, but thankfully Sam Kakooza, who looks after the Acheru farm, offered to care for him, and Eric was soon referring to him as his father. We don't think he has ever seen his biological father. His maternal uncle says he is dead, but a paternal aunt says he is alive, and Eric wants to know the truth.
On 19th April 2021 we surprised his family by taking him for a three day visit; they could not believe he was recovering and happy. God is amazing, giving hope when man alone has none. This is a boy who could not smile and looked miserable, yet now he smiles automatically.
We plan to resettle him back with his family. We want to trace his father because his mother is now dead, but we would also like to see him learn a skill. He loves mechanics and wants to train to repair motorcycles and cars. We hope if all goes well he could begin in July this year, after we take him back to Oyam. His hut will also need to be renovated since it is currently being used as a store. (We usually try to limit Acheru's help to a child's medical needs, but every case is different, and the staff have flexibility to assist some cases from our community fund). We went to look at his hut and found where his wheel chair had been thrown in the garden.
It was sad to find that his dog was missing. His uncle explained that it was taken to be looked after by a friend who is some distance away. When Harriet asked why Eric kept a dog, his uncle explained that it helped him to chase away flies, and could lick out the pus from his wounds. This was hard to believe, but was confirmed by Eric.
Eric is now back at Acheru, on daily dressing and counselling by the social worker to prepare him to go back home. To God be the Glory, for this great thing He has done in saving Eric's life.
Long live our donors, with your support we are able to reach the neglected, hurting and hopeless children. May the good Lord bless you.

Eric Obua
I've previously mentioned the sometimes inadequate water supply at Acheru. They depend largely on rainwater collection, so the recent connection to a mains supply was a big step forward. However, it's metered so must be paid for so they only want to use it if absolutely necessary and we still wanted to explore ways of improving water collection and storage. Earlier surveys for a borehole showed no potential for a supply on our own site, but recently a local contractor thought differently and Joyce gave the go ahead to dig a well, which meant hiring equipment to break through a layer of rock. Despite initial doubts water was found just a few days ago; so far the well is 70ft deep, and they intend digging down to 80ft. We'll then need to install a pump, and it's too soon to say how much water will be available.

Equipment hired to break through rock

Acheru well

The 'new' ambulance, bought used from Japan, has now arrived in Uganda and should soon be in use
In Carrickfergus we're continuing to prepare equipment for sending out to Kiwoko, Acheru, and other partner hospitals. It's hard work but we know how valuable this equipment can be when placed with medics who can use it effectively. We now have a deadline to work to, with a 40ft container due to leave Belfast on 18th June. We now need to finish packing everything in Carrickfergus and make arrangements to get it to the docks in Belfast where the container is being loaded.
I hope to have more news in future updates on where it's all going and who will be using it.

Some of the equipment for the container in the Carrickfergus store

Anaesthetic machine for Mukono hospital

Ultrasound scanners for several hospitals

Collecting an image intensifier for Kiwoko hospital

Acheru staff
Brian Dorman

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