As I am writing my heart is breaking for a 9 year old boy named Muwazi. He was injured so badly that he had to have his hand and wrist amputated this morning. Pray for him and his family as they begin the healing process. Here is his story…
If you have been following the story of Ishmael you know that his family suddenly moved away during the treatment of his injured foot. Exciting news….we found him! His mother contacted our friend Drew and gave him the location of their new village. We loaded up the van on Thursday morning and headed out about an hour and a half to the village where his family relocated. Drew had to leave late afternoon to catch a flight back to the States, but he wanted to check on Ishmael one last time before he left Uganda. When we arrived in the village it was a familiar site of Ishmael with his heart warming smile waving and dancing as we drove up. We all eagerly jumped out to greet him. I half way soaked up his smile and loving embrace and half way looked at his injured foot. To my excitement the wound was healing up, however the one area I was concerned about looked worse as I was expecting without treatment for over a week. The last time I saw Ishmael I had consulted with a doctor back in the States about his injury and I was planning on removing some fibrous tissue that was forming. That was a week ago before his family suddenly up and moved. Today I was able to remove some more infection that had developed in Ishmael’s foot and got his wound clean and dry again. The exciting thing was I was able to teach his mother how to clean and dress his wound and left a week and half worth of supplies with her. Before we left we were able to pray for him and his family before leaving.
As we were making our way along the dirt path back to the main road for the trip home, a man began flagging us down. This is not unusual as people are always seeking rides or wanting to talk to the Muzungus as they pass by. I usually smile, wave and keep driving. However, something was different this time. I think it was the urgency in the man’s waving me down and the strong conviction from the Holy Spirit. We turned around and met them along the dirt road. As I got out to investigate, the site of what was waiting was hard for me to see. They brought a 9 year old boy to the van with a hand that was so severely burned it almost did not resemble a hand with fingers. We sat the young boy in the back on the van and I began assessing his wound. Through the help of our Ugandan friend and translator Andrew, we were able to determine the young boy had fallen into a charcoal fire about a week ago. Andrew recognized a bracelet on the boy’s wrist as a bracelet from a witch doctor trying to stop convulsions. Andrew immediately advised the mother to remove the bracelet since it was from a witch doctor and since it obviously did not work. From what we pieced together the boy has epilepsy and began convulsing and burned himself severely in a charcoal fire used for cooking.
I have seen some bad burns, especially the burns we dealt with in treating Kobasinja, yet this was quite different. The hand was fixated in a claw type position and burned to an absolute crisp. The fingers were rock hard with no flexibility in them, the hand felt like a rock, the whole hand and wrist seemed mummified. The wrist and forearm were burned and covered in ash, which is a traditional treatment in the village. During my exam of the child he sat tearfully in obvious pain and fear. All I could offer was Children’s Tylenol to ease some of the obvious pain and prayers.
The whole time I was dealing with his catastrophic injury I was thinking to myself ”where is God in this situation?” How could our loving and merciful God let this happen to a 9 year old boy? On the day that child was burned his life and his future were forever changed.
I knew this child needed to get to Kampala to be receive treatment beyond what we could do from the back of our van. I my opinion the hand was dead, there seemed to be no blood flow left and nothing that could be done in the field. I was praying for a miracle, I have seen God perform miracles with His physical healing powers many times since we have been here. However, with a heavy heart I knew medically Muwazi’s hand was dead. In the back of my mind I knew the hand would have to be amputated. My heart turned from heavy to bitter and I began wondering why this happened? Why would my God of love and compassion allow this horrific accident to happen to anyone let alone a child?
As we began to make a plan to get this child the care he needed in Kampala, I was able to answer my own question of “where was God?” He was right there with us. I saw God move in a big way! I saw three people, Megan, Drew and Andrew jump into action to care for this child we had just met. Megan, our current intern, immediately got money out to pay for transport from the village to Jinja. Our original plan was to take her and the child with us to Jinja with us and get them transport to Kampala. However, she had other children at home she needed to make arrangements for. Once those arrangements were made she was to travel to Jinja and meet up with us. Megan paid for her transport to Jinja without a second of hesitation. Andrew, our Ugandan friend, began translating and making all the necessary arrangements to get the mother and child to Jinja. Drew began making plans to stop by the bank to help fund this child getting the necessary care. Everyone’s heart and emotions kicked in and wanted to do whatever was necessary to get this young boy taken care of.
We went back to Jinja with heavy hearts thinking of this poor child and how we would get him taken care of. The bitterness turned to love as I saw those around Muwazi working to get him the care he needed.
Andrew waited back in Jinja for hours for Muwazi and his mother to arrive from the village so that he could get them onto a taxi to Kampala. He was concerned they would get lost in Jinja since they are from the village and resolved to stay there until they were safely in a taxi. He waited on the side of the road where the taxis drop people off to make sure he was there to greet them. Was Andrew exhausted?…….yes. Was he willing to go home and rest before this child was taken care of?…no. I saw a Ugandan fight for his fellow country man today who he met only hours before. Andrew was willing to leave school early today to help us in the village and willingly gave up his whole evening to make sure this child was getting to the care he needed.
I watched Drew, a man who was bound for the airport that evening to fly back to the States, willing to do whatever it took to get this child taken care of. Most of us would have been concerned with packing and getting ready to go back home; not Drew he was willing to do what it took to make sure Wuwazi got the care he needed.
I saw the compassion in Megan’s heart as she wanted to do everything possible to make sure that not only the child was taken care of but the mother had everything she needed for the stay in the hospital.
In the end we were able to get Muwazi and his mother to Kampala for treatment by providing for transport and medicine while in the hospital. The care for the treatment at the hospital is paid by the government, but medicine has to be purchased. My heart is breaking today as we just got a call from Kampala that Muwazi’s hand will indeed have to be amputated. A 9 year old boy’s life is forever changed by the events of today. Please pray for him and his family that they will have the strength to overcome this ordeal. I am having a hard time dealing with the events of today. I keep thinking of Karson who is only one year younger and what if he were in this situation. I also think that if he lived in the West he would still have his hand today. I keep thinking no child should have to endure the pain and suffering Muwazi is dealing with. I know this is a good news, bad news situation. Had we not come upon him in the village the hand would have become infected and gangrene would have set in, which would likely have killed him. Yet, it is hard to rejoice in the fact a 9 year old boy just lost his hand.
Where was God? He was right there with us today tapping me on the shoulder and saying “this one needs you, pull over.” He was right there beside me working through 3 incredible people who would not stop until Muwazi was cared for. God moved today, He made it possible for a young boy to get to the hospital for treatment before infection killed him.
Where is God?…… He is right beside Muwazi as he endures this ordeal.
I saw many good and faithful servants today serving the Lord in their willingness to help a young boy in desperate need.
Matthew 25:21 “Well done good and faithful servant!”