Akiba- “That which has been saved”

On Martyr’s day this year, the team at 40 days over 40 smiles decided to have lunch with the wonderful children of Akiba-Bless a child Foundation.

We were greeted with warm hugs and shy smiles before getting into the house to get to know the children  and tour the home.

We are happy to receive you 'welocome'

We are happy to receive you ‘welocome’

ben zindzi

 

The home looks after children who have cancer, whose parents lack means to pay for treatment. Each child comes with a caretaker who watches over them during the course of treatment. The home takes care of all their needs.

Brian, who started this home four years ago-took us through their history in brief. The room fell silent when he told us of the multiple deaths they had to deal with in 2012 when the health Ministry delayed to  dispatch medicine, only to release a batch of expired drugs too little, too late. He confessed that he was unprepared to lose any child and when the first death occurred, him and his staff were confused, unsure how to deal with the situation.

He must have noticed the grim looks because he quickly told us that ‘Akiba,’ means to be saved and children come to this home for exactly that. Many of them have walked out of their doors cancer free while others get to spend their last days in a fun, loving environment. That was comforting enough.

One success story is told of a little boy who was brought too
the home looking frail and weak. Doctors gave him about a week to live. He has been at the home for three years now and it has actually become his home-literally..

His nick name is ‘Kazeeyi‘ (old man) because he could not walk and limped like an old man. He is fearless, fun and so full of energy. We all tried to steal moments with him so his happiness could rub off. It worked! 😀
See below.

kazeeyi

 

Can’t touch this!

He drew a roundish shape on the black board and told me that was a head. When I asked whose head, he said 'Kapeere's.' I laughed heartily but when I asked for mine to be drawn, it was just as shapeless :D

He drew a roundish shape on the black board and told me that was a head. When I asked whose head, he said ‘Kapeere’s.’
I laughed heartily but when I asked for mine to be drawn, it was just as shapeless 😀

Kazeeyi and Kapere showing off their skills

Kazeeyi and Kapere showing off their skills

We decided to act a skit for the kids. It was based on the story of the Good Samaritan in the Bible. It was lovely to watch them laugh out loud though it seems the adults laughed harder.

Beaten and left for dead

Beaten and left for dead

The Good Samaritan and his loyal donkey come to save the day

The Good Samaritan and his loyal donkey come to save the day

 

The home is so free of anything that reminds you of illness. You can actually forget where you are.
They have plenty of games. It was a chance for us to bring out our inner child.

I spoke to a self proclaimed cynic who came with us on that day. He said our methods are ‘childish’ but somehow they work. I tend to agree somewhat. The heart that the team at 40-40 comes with might not always be ‘mature’ but it is the reason we (breaks into song) ‘we ain’t going nowhere, we ain’t going nowhere, we can’t even stop now….’ *moving on*

Anyway, when was the last time you had a swing all to yourself? 🙂

We couldn’t resist. In fact when it came to departure time, some people whose names shall remain withheld for security reasons,simply failed to get up.

josh swing

 

gloria

Es and talba

 

 

Hug a boda guy today :)

Hug a boda guy today 🙂

 

Lunch was so scrumptious there are no pictures. By the time the camera man came to get evidence, only bones surfaced.

Some of the amazing ladies who are part time chefs

Some of the amazing ladies who are part time chefs

 

We decided to play a game of football. Team 40-40 Vs Team Akiba. There was sweat and blood, literally.

goal keeper

This ‘gentleman’ kept whispering “You are finished.” or “I will cut off your nose” and “You are dead.” before attempting to score.

My life was in danger! 😀

The whole time I was thinking;it is never that serious. However, people were out to win. If it was a real match we would have gone into ‘extra extra time.’ When it was 10 goals to 9, I fled for the more ‘safe’ pass time- swinging 🙂

You want more photos? I have 🙂

amma

 

 

nick and kids

 

Talba

 

Overall, it was a very beautiful day. Every moment was an actual celebration and I know those who showed up left with a new supply of joy. So many moments brought ‘oooohhhs’ and ‘awwws’ both silently and quite loudly 😉

One thing remained on my mind and I need some answers plus a better understanding. It was mentioned in passing that Uganda has only one radiotherapy machine at Mulago, which was purchased in the 1950’s. That means all cancer patients that need it must rely on that one. Google ‘said’ a new one is $70,000(approximately 175 million UGX) Of course there are shipping costs et al but surely we can get one of these, or more? Those who are as disturbed as I am, please feel free to poke for answers ad of course be part of the solution. I am convinced that we can do something about it.

Did I mention this? Brian funds treatment for these children almost entirely on his own, using funds from his business.Whereas this must be difficult financially, I believe the emotional strain is unimaginable.

However, when you see those beautiful children and hear that 400-500 children have been treated and given the time of their lives thanks to Akiba Foundation-you know that is oh so worth it.

We would love to make the home even more vibrant, a mini-Disney world of sorts. You can join us to make this happen 🙂

 

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