2012 we introduced our readers to Carolyn and Keith who are working in northern Uganda. Carolyn is the director of Hands Across Nations. She became acquainted with charcoal as a medicinal and wanted to learn more. Being a physical therapist she has been teaching simple lifestyle changes that have had some dramatic results – including putting longer handles on brooms and hoes so the women are not always bent over working as they sweep or garden. Carolyn and Keith returned earlier this year (2013) and we began to receive their newsletters with charcoal stories and pictures. In June Carolyn returned to the U.S. to attend some literacy training, leaving Keith to carry on. Keith, the carpenter, fabricator, Jack of all trades, is obliged (blessed) to assume more of the gift of healing.
Keith writes,”Sunday our team of Richard, Grace, and Jaspher and myself were at a village church called Alelatidi meaning small rock as there is a bare rocky area over behind the church building... Because of all the many people the pastors had us all move outside. So we all picked up chairs and mats and out we went. Ahhhh it was much cooler out under the mango trees and there was a breeze.
Grace, a most dedicated young nurses assistant from Aydia Hospital has been treating Edmond and Judith at the hospital with charcoal for some very serious long term wounds now for several weeks. Those of you who have been following the news letters know. She is in pink above. As she started she asked if anyone knew about the healing effect of charcoal. A man stood and gave a testimony. He had not been to any of our meetings before but had heard about the charcoal help through someone who had been to a Sunday meeting. He had tried it on a new wound and it had worked wonderfully. Grace then had everyone’s attention. The seeds that have been planted each Sunday about charcoal are starting to sprout. She ask for anyone with a wound who would like it treated to come forward. In no time 3 people were up front pulling up pants legs.
The next serious of photos cause me to have eyes full of tears as I write and fill in between the photos as these conditions break my heart. I want you to know that I have not picked out some bad situations. This is exactly what is—these people are who came forward. This is how it is, flies and all. There are so many to be helped and it is something most anyone can teach and follow up on. The labors are so few.
#1 Ogwal Dicken had had a wound on the outside of his calf now for 7 months. He is 14. This is after Grace and Richard had dressed his wound with a charcoal poltice. The document photo is below next
The flies are very persistent and even to get a photo someone must be shooing them away. With each wound I would take quickly 5 or 6 photos to be sure of getting a good one and you can count on there being a fly in at least 3.
#2 This man could be me if I was born and lived in the Alito district of Africa. I say that because Christ said that the second most important commandment is to love my neighbor as myself. Sunday this man was my neighbor. Nyanaga Benson was very eager for some kind of help. He has tried everything since he received this wound in 1962. Yes 1962 this is not a typo.
I held the camera back so we could see the scaring that goes way out even past where the fly has landed. Grace and Richard applied a charcoal poultice.
#3 Olak Jimmy is 19. By his clothes he is not as poor as some of the others but still very much in need. Traveling to Lira hours away to see a doctor is very difficult what with the need for transport, at least 2 nights stay somewhere, and then transport home again. The boda boda motorcycle boys do not like to transport one way.
His wound is fresh, only 3 days old. We hope that it will heal quickly as did the wound reported several news letter’s ago of Pastor Thomas. Thomas has given his testimony at every village now. Everyone gets a laugh as he was dubbed Doubting Thomas for before his wound he had said he was not sure it would work – He is now a believer. I suggested that perhaps God allowed him to wound his foot with his garden hoe so as to be a witness. Pastor Thomas is most dedicated to the cause of Christ.
#4 My heart was immediately drawn to the sad eyes of Amolo Harriotet who is 14. I was especially struck by her forlorn countenance. Please note she has 3 wounds on this leg. These are the kind of wounds that end up being a story 30 years later of a wound that has never healed. One person said that there is a saying in Uganda “The wounds of the poor never heal”.
Harritet’s sores / wounds have been with her now 3 years. Again note the extent that the scaring reaches out to. Grace as with each of the others applied a charcoal poultice.
#4 There was a baby just old enough to have been walking a few months. She had burned her feet. She was the granddaughter of the local council LC1 woman that attended. Grace, who travels with us, a nurse’s assistant decided to not treat the baby as she was under a doctor’s care.
#5 We thought we were finished when yet another boy came. I do not think he was at church but that someone had gone and fetched him. He was number five.
I did not see the wound before Grace began to wash it but as you can see it was painful. Ronald is 12 and has no parents. He stated that he has had this for over 1 year. Richard found a man in the church who would help him to change his charcoal poultice 2 times a day. He most certainly is one of the fatherless that James at the end of chapter 1 speaks of. Fatherless, Motherless, and Wounded.
27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
This one is not only large but also deep. It is deeper than a 2 dimensional photo reveals. Again as you can see the scaring goes out quite a ways.
I suspect that very often these wounds get much larger over time before they get smaller. Over the years I think that they grow and shrink and grow again. One person told me that sometimes they will heal completely closed only to open up again. Some like Edmond that Carolyn has written about at Ayeri Hospital smell from the wounds and then other children push them away and taunt them.
My progress on the construction of the water well drilling equipment is slowed greatly but can you imagine dealing with a wound on your leg the size of a silver dollar for 51 years . The charcoal is helping. I just cannot walk away from these people and just say “good luck” The well drilling construction is finding a place between helping these people--usually on my day off -- Mondays.
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. (James 2:14-17)
Also I need to do follow up to make sure they are applying the charcoal properly so they get the results. The ability to follow instructions is low. These people if and when they have final success will be the ones who their neighbors will go to for “how to” they will by default become the teachers. People way out in the villages do not go to town to a doctor unless they are dying or the osteomyelitis is so bad they have gangrene and the doctor will amputate. So I’m following up to both see to it that they learn correctly to dress their wounds with charcoal and to document by photos for other missionaries to see on our web site. Also if they do it improper and fail, that will be the message on the village gossip line as well. Follow up is a day of collecting people who go along, 4 wheeling unreal roads and foot paths in the land cruisor, all the visitor protocol, and seeing the additional people with health problems who have heard that we are coming and show up. There will be children with nothing to wear to fit with a set of clothes. Then it is important to give a short bible lesson and prayer for those who have come.
Then we drive those roads back and arrive back home often after dark. Driving after dark is so dangerous. Headlamps aimed blindingly high, many many black people in dark clothes on dark roads walking or on black bicycles, motorcycles with no lights. It is what is, and if the work is to be done it is what we do. Next we have come home with measurements for a set of crutches to make for that man who showed up seeking help at the check up of the man with the 20 odd year wound. It is multiplying. But the good news is that the “someones” invited to come from there to the next Sunday “Prayers” (church service) at even a distant village church where we will be, shows up the next Sunday. One such lady is named Betty. I think Carolyn wrote about her in the last news letter. She not only showed up this week but last week at another church as well. She gave testimony how drinking the charcoal has ended her “chest pain” –heart burn from reflux, but also the associated headaches. She was met and prayed for at the market on one of the follow up trips out to a village 2 or 3 weeks earlier. She was smiling & radiant.