Fire in the mountains

Dear Friends,

Dear Friends,

Claudio came with me to the health centres in the mountains this week. We were giving a joint training session to the staff in the health centres. The rainy season has started. Everything is more lush and green. The mountains were especially beautiful this week. They were shrouded in mist and the orange of each sunset was diffused through the clouds.

Most of our first day was spent on the road and at Kivuye Health Centre. Back at our Maison de passage in Mpati, the team had prepared fresh beignes (deep fried dough balls) for the evening. They were hot and oily. Claudio and I rolled them in cinnamon and sugar. Perfect when washed down with a hot cup of tea.

We were just starting to relax and chat with the team when we saw huge flames licking the night sky. One of the village huts had caught fire. Our men ran out with their spades and put out the fire with sand. The house belonged to a young lady who had just given birth to twins. She had dashed out with her babies. Happily there were no injuries. We spoke to the camp president. We were encouraged to hear that the community was going to build a new hut for the lady.

We spent the second day at Bibwe Health Centre. My heart sank when I saw a group of men coming towards us with a lady on a stretcher. They were tired from the journey but remained gentle as they brought her into the observation room. She had suffered serious burns to her left arm, left buttock and left leg. Her husband was with her. He had burns on his hands as well.

They had been travelling to their field to harvest their crops. They had taken shelter in the bush during the night. Unfortunately, their shelter had caught fire when they were preparing their evening meal. They had travelled through the night to get to us. Her family was with her. The lady was in obvious pain as we dressed her wounds. We brought her back in the car with us and sent her to Mwesso hospital.

It is difficult to convey the picture of poverty we encounter with the communities in the mountains. Little children are carrying even smaller children on their backs. People are mostly barefoot or wear plastic slippers. They walk great distances just to get enough clean water to drink, cook and clean. It is heartening to see the strength of the community when they come together to help one in need when each person has so little to share.