Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sole Hope

Yesterday, another volunteer and I spent the morning/afternoon with an organization called Sole Hope.   Before I left Florida, I found out that a friend knew one of her friends was interning with Sole Hope and happened to be staying in Jinja as well. I'm telling you, we live in such a small world :) So, I was able to join her and some of their team at a Jigger removal clinic in a nearby village.

Sole Hope focuses on providing hope and freedom from foot related diseases through education and medical relief. One disease that is very common is Jigger infestation. Jiggers are a type of sand flea that lay their sac of eggs under skin. This is caused by the dust and dirt accompanied by not wearing shoes. It is very painful for the infected person. If left untreated, it can get infected and result in gangrene or amputation.

I wasn't sure what to expect on this clinic trip. When we arrived at the village, we made a little assembly line of wooden stools for us to sit on and benches across from us. Two people were in charge of washing the feet and inspecting for suspicious Jiggers, three were removing them and the rest were taking progress notes. Since it was my first time out, I started with washing the children's feet. This may seem strange, but for me it was such a humbling experience washing a child's dirty feet. All I could think about was the passage in the Bible when Jesus washed his disciples feet. It was a depiction of ultimate servitude for myself. In Africa, some kids do not own a single pair of shoes so you can only imagine some of the conditions of their feet.

What I was not expecting was that the majority of the children refused to sit down to have their feet washed and inspected. I learned that having Jiggers is viewed as shameful and a lack of cleanliness. Because of their pride and embarrassment, the children would rather endure the pain rather than having their jiggers removed in front of their peers. We had a man translate for us and he would bring children that he knew had jiggers or other foot conditions. He brought this young girl to me that had her left foot completely wrapped but she refused to sit down. Instead she just walked away. It broke my heart...

While we were waiting for more children to come, I spent some time with the village children. There is just something about playing and loving on village children. It's hard to explain but its one of my favorite experiences in Africa. During my time here, its funny learning some of the things village kids are fascinated with. For example, they are so intrigued by arm hair haha. My blue finger nail polish confused a couple of them as well :) Overall, it was a great experience! I am hoping to be able to join them on another clinic before I leave.

1 comment:

  1. Great article! Your perspective on life and everything has been changed, I'm sure. And for the better! Yes, there is a great big world out there! Thanks for sharing your story and the pics are beautiful!