20 year old Vincent Matovu is the second born of four children living with a single mother struggling with AIDS. At 7, Vincent tripped and fell, cutting open his face and ankle. While his face was tended to, his ankle was ignored, and the wound has re-opened on a regular basis for the past 13 years.
Vincent’s father worked as a coffee dealer until he died from AIDS in 2002. His mother tried to continue providing them through waitressing at local bars – a low profile, low paying job for women in Uganda that often puts them at risk for sexual and physical abuse. As her AIDS worsened, however, she began to dig for roots in casava, potatoes and matoke in order to provide food for her children. Vincent’s wound has remained a problem for his family in the midst of their financial constraints. In 2003, he visited Mulango National Referral Hospital in Kampala, where he underwent a grafting surgery that didn’t take. In 2008, a sponsorship through Plan International enabled him to seek treatment at Kiwoko Hospital, but he was told that the doctors there were unable to handle his situation.
Vincent arrived at Operation Heal Africa’s medical mission, this year, in the hopes of finding healing, at last. Unfortunately, his wound is inoperable, and the doctors could only provide him with pain killers, and encourage him to keep his wound clean.
Mabadilisho is about life change, for us. As those who are living in Africa, working to help our people, we are here for change that comes about through the long haul. Our goal is to stand beside people like Vincent – lifting his spirits and aiding his family’s situation while he seeks to self-medicate his wound and begin the long road to natural recovery. It’s families like Vincent’s that we’re looking for – the people who need more than a quick fix. They need a community to rally around them.
These are the stories you might not typically hear from our yearly medical mission, or the quick trips that enter in and out of Bombo – but they are the stories that move our hearts, and keep us working. To partner with us in life change for people like Vincent, email firstname.lastname@example.org.