Evie's August Reportby AFRICA Evelyn Komuntale on August 31, 2006
Evie Reporting From Uganda
August 24, 2006
Finally ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital came to Uganda. ORBIS is nonprofit humanitarian organization dedicated to saving sight and eliminating avoidable blindness worldwide. They strive to prevent blindness and restore sight in developing countries where 90% of the world’s blind live.
In the world’s poor countries basic medical help is often out of reach. There may be only one opthalmologist for millions of people, a journey to an eye care clinic could take days or it could simply be too expensive.
Inspired by this need,ORBIS launched its unique Flying Eye Hospital in 1982. ORBIS is the world’s only Flying Eye Hospital. ADC-10 aircraft converted into an ophthalmic hospital and innovative teaching facility. Flown by volunteer pilots ORBIS and its international medical team have conducted treatment and training programs in more than 82 countries.
The world’s leading surgeons donate their time to perform surgery and teach aboard the Flying Eye Hospital while ophthalmic nurses and technicians also provide training for their local counterparts. Approximately 22.5 million children and adults have benefited from ORBIS programs worldwide.
The 2 week Uganda program was initiated by Captain Hal (who eventually flew the plan to Uganda), Jeanine Lesley and my cousin Lyla Haza Madrigal who introduced us to ORBIS. A lot of correspondence went on between Outreach To Africa and ORBIS before their decision was made. I am so grateful to Felice Neals of ORBIS who kept communication going on for almost a year. I persistently worked with the Uganda Ministry of Health officials until the letter of invitation was sent to ORBIS. The next 7 months were full of intensive work between the Ministry of Health, Outreach To Africa and the eye care professionals. A planning committee was established and preparations were efficiently done. July 2006 the ORBIS team arrived under the leadership of Drew Boshell.
The program focused on cataract, corneal diseases, pediatrics, glaucoma, oculoplastics, retinal diseases and ultrasound.
- The first corneal transplant in Uganda was successfully performed!
- 43 patients had surgeries and an additional 9 received laser treatment.
- 30 Ophthalmic Clinical Officers refreshed their skills
- 50 Nurses trained in ophthalmic nursing and care of equipment
- 40 Biomedical Technicians refreshed in eye care equipment maintenance
- 40 anesthesia officers refreshed in ophthalmic anesthesia
- Public awareness programs in both print and electronic media promoted.
The whole program was free and saved the Ugandan people approximately US$1,000,000
My sincere thanks to the entire ORBIS team.
I am always blessed as I minister in local churches every. As I ministered in one of the churches, the Holy Spirit blessed a lot and I knew something special had happened during the service. The Lord led me to minister to widows and there were about 7 of them who did not have anything to eat and no transport home on that day. The congregation ran forward with cash as I requested them to help our sisters. After preaching the word, half of the church came forward to be prayed for. The presence of the Lord was so great. Most of us were in tears. I did not know what to say. I asked everybody to talk to Father as I joined them in prayer. I felt like what Jesus felt when the woman with an issue of blood touched his garment. I felt God had done some special work in someone’s life but did not know who.
At the end of the service a very good looking, well dressed man came to greet me. He showed me some medical report that indicated that he was HIV positive and this is what he said “thank you for saving my life. I had planned to kill myself and my 3 boys. I felt there was no reason to live. I did not want to leave my children suffering. My children are in a boarding school. My plan was to pick them up today and finish us off. As the pastor announced that you were the guest speaker I decided to stay and listen to you. I am not a member of this church and this is my first time here, I live around the corner. I heard my favorite song being sang and decided to come and visit the church. My plan was to come listen to the song and then go home. God spoke to me through your message. I will not kill myself I will serve Jesus”.
He has become one of my good friends and dear brother. We talk and pray together a lot – on phone of in person. He invited me to his small church where he is the associate pastor and his congregation loves him. He has not told them of his HIV condition yet. He is very well educated and a great man in the community with lots of potential. Praise God for what He did for my friend. He thinks he got the virus from his ex-wife who no longer lives with him. He had a good job but after finding out about his HIV situation his contract was not renewed. He has come from riches to rugs. Please pray for this man.
The champ…Karine Liegman
My friend, sister and now “daughter” – Karine dared to leave her husband Roger, 2 children and the rest of her family and friends back in Kelowna, Canada to come and visit me in Uganda. What a joy a blessing she was to all who met her. She is like a magnet – attracts everybody. We had a big itinerary set but things changed everyday and she just went along.
On our first leg of the trip we traveled beyond Jinja to visit a school/orphanage that is partly sponsored by Hope for The Nations. Karine was loaded with gifts. Meeting Sam and Eva who founded this project was life changing. We loved their commitment to the children and the work that is being done in this village. Children sang for us after they received their gifts. The whole place was very clean and the children were very loving.
We drove back for an overnight in Jinja. The trip brought back a lot of memories because when I was in high school my mom and step-dad lived in the nearby village and I used to go there during my school holidays.
A night at the Nile Jinja Resort by the banks of River Nile was heavenly. We had meetings scheduled to meet the Town Clerk who was going to show us our new piece of land. While waiting we visited an American missionary who so badly needed someone to visit her.
What a blessing this was as we prayed together and encouraged her. It reminded me of the several times I wished I had someone to pray with me during my tough times.
As we entered our vehicle to go to the Town Clerk, a phone call came in that my mom had a seizure and had bitten her tongue so badly. My sister thought she was dead. I asked my sis to take her to the nearest hospital only to be told that she had no cash. Patients cannot see a doctor until they pay even if it is an emergency case. Thank God for friends, I remembered when one of our team members (Kevin) was sick we admitted him in this same hospital and during his stay there he made friends with a fantastic young man (Dave) who works as the Credit Controller of the hospital. I immediately called him to intervene and have my mom taken care of. He was kind enough to alert the emergency room staff and stood in the gap for me until I got there.
The 1 ½ hour drive from Jinja to Kampala was the longest. The Lord filled me with peace as Karine prayed for me. Mom was in ICU and later taken home. I played nurse! I had to take care of the IVs at home, etc. Lots of sleepless nights but I thanked God for Karine, her cooperation and understanding made the situation easier for me.
God enabled us to continue with our program to Fort Portal and Rwebisengo village. I know Karine left her heart in Uganda and we all miss her. She is a great ambassador for OTA. More about Karine’s adventure as things progress.
Our Ambulance Finally arrives in Uganda...
For the past 2 years our ambulance has been stuck in the UK due to lack of shipping costs. Thank God for our friend Steve from Kelowna who paid for the freight charges. This is a blessing for the people of Rwebisengo village. We will now be able to ferry our patients with major cases from Rwebisengo to Fort Portal town. Our special thanks still goes to Pastor Colin Bond and the member so Tavistock Community Church who worked hard in getting us not only the ambulance but medical equipment and supplies from Plymouth General Hospital.
Ministry and Humanitarian work opportunities…
I have a few more days left to return to the USA. Have I finished the work? BIG NO. There is tremendous opportunity for ministry in Africa. If you want to share you faith, talent, profession please do not hesitate to contact us. We invite our sponsors and partner to join us on one of our trips here to come with us and meet the sponsored children and see first hand what your funds do.
As I prepare to leave Uganda, I just found out I have malaria. My body is weak and I might have postpone my departure date. Please continue praying for me.
Thank you for all your prayers, financial support, phone calls and emails. I am just your extension in ministry.
Evelyn (Evie) Komuntale
011 356 78 2 445855