The flight from Entebbe to Koboko takes about 1 hr and 15 minutes on a relatively small plane that seats 21 people. The flight actually lands in Arua, on a dirt runway, where we were picked up by David, one of the staff, and he drove the final 45 minutes to Koboko.
The next 4 days were very busy unpacking all of the previously sent equipment and setting up the vision clinic. Although we encountered a few set backs and surprises (one dead mouse and one alive mouse were found inside the box holding the slit lamp), we were able to set up the complete eye examination lane and most of the finishing lab. The staff was more excited than we were to finally get to open these boxes and help out (Christmas in July!). However, as we went to test edge our first set of lenses, we had a blown fuse that took out the edger. Turns out Koboko has an electrical tech (Lokiko) who came to see what he could do and he found out not only was a fuse blown, but also two other items on one of the circuit boards were burned out and one item on the second circuit board was burned out. Amazingly, he was able to repair one of the boards, but not the second. A minor set back for now. One of the other goals of the trip was to have some time to not only do eye exams, but identify a local person who we could train, or who had interest in helping keep the clinic open. Again, The Lord went before us as the staff knew of a new ophthalmologist in training, Taban, who recently started working at the local hospital doing basic refractions and eye checks. He spent almost 2 full days with us in the clinic and we were able to see all the kids the staff had identified who needed to be seen and gave out reading glasses. Additionally, we saw all the Koboko staff and some local pastors and government officials, all of whom were grateful that the vision clinic is now functional. We had a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday when all of the kids were there, and another Sunday afternoon with the board members of KIDS Uganda in Koboko, as well as the local officials. The staff will work with Taban who will be able to come in the clinic weekly and do eye exams, write prescriptions and dispense reading glasses. What a huge answer to prayer that the clinic will not just sit idle in our absence, but be used to help those in need.
In addition to getting to set up the clinic, Karissa and the kids were able to visit several local schools, see the children in their homes, and play with the kids all day on Saturday. Karissa got to share the gospel through a fun visual presentation Saturday (thank you Pastor Doug Higuera) and the kids played all manner of ball games.
We got to see just how far the kids walk to school each day (miles), their homes and meet their caregivers. These kids and caregivers were so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to be in KIDS Uganda. Even though their situations are desperate, they had joy and thanksgiving overflowing instead of despair. God is so good!
Camille’s time of devotion with all the staff Friday morning was a highlight (as was her sweet breakfasts she made us each morning in her home). So incredible to get to study God’s word together with our Ugandan body.