Clares in Uganda 22 August


Just a quick(-er than usual) one today!

We'll be sending a full update soon as per our usual monthly updates, but we really want to start sending (much) shorter, more regular emails to keep all you pray-ers updated...

Prayer point 1:
Pray that we make it out of Kampala on Tuesday!

We have just arrived yesterday in Kampala on a trip to finalise the immigration requirements for Verity and the boys now that the department is open again after lockdown. We are staying in a lovely AirBnB house (and we've had our first ice creams in Uganda - see above) but we are hearing strong rumours that Kampala may be locking down again on Monday or Tuesday in response to a rapidly-increasing number of positive COVID-19 tests. We're supposed to be heading to our first short family safari on Tuesday at Murchison National Park and we need to be here until at least Monday to get our immigration bits done.

There have been false rumours before so please pray with us that we make it out!

Prayer point 2:
Pray for Eric's family, the team at Yivu Abea and Tom and Verity after what happened this week

Just a few days ago (on Wednesday this week), I (Tom) saw an 11-year-old boy named Eric (not his real name) as part of a clinic during my doctor's day at Yivu Abea health centre in Maracha district. The photo above is me with Gilbert, the in-charge officer at the health centre a month or 2 ago (we were delivering hand washing stations as part of a project through Irish Aid).

It was the first time I had met Eric, but he was very unwell, with bilateral proptosis (both eyes being pushed forwards out of his head) as well as widespread lymphadenopathy (enlarged lymph nodes that can be felt) and prostration (being unable to stand up). He had been completely well up until March this year, like any other 11-year-old you might meet.

They had been to 2 hospitals in the last 6 weeks but hadn't got any answers,even being told in their words that nothing was wrong, although the suspected diagnosis of childhood lymphoma had been written all over their medical notes. This is a childhood cancer that is potentially curable, even when discovered at an advanced stage, by chemotherapy.

I expect I'll write more in our upcoming link letter, but I explained to the boy and his family that he likely had a cancer called lymphoma at an advanced stage and we then organised a transfer to Uganda Cancer Institute as soon as practically possible. We went through the process of praying for God's provision for the family whose funds were exhausted by their prior medical bills and a sponsor came up within a day to cover all the costs of transport, diagnosis and any treatment needed.

I wrote the referral letter and spoke to the hospital. He was due to travel with his brother this Monday to start the process of diagnosis ahead of any treatment, with everything in place to help with their costs, but we just heard this morning that he died yesterday. I think he was at home but I haven't yet heard the details.

We are still processing this - it's my first experience of the stark reality of childhood death here in Uganda - but we appreciate your prayers for his family (he has several siblings including the eldest brother who carried him to my clinic) and for Gilbert, the in-charge at Yivu Abea through whom the transfer was being arranged and who will be trying to support the family as best he can. We also appreciate your prayers for us as we try to disentangle the complicated web of thoughts, emotions and questions both of what the hospitals were thinking and what God's up to in all of this.
Thanks so much for your prayers everyone! We'll send a full update soon and include more photos and more prayer points.

We always love to hear your own news and prayer points (even if we often take a while to reply to them!) so do get in touch and let us know how you've been.

Tom and Verity
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