Yesterday it rained very heavily in Bubulo. During the same same day, there were elections and the entire town center was packed with people. Krystyn and i had alot of meetings planned for preparation of Kids of Uganda’s upcoming events. Early in the morning she was called to Livingstone’s school and so we had to cancel the morning sessions of the meetings. As she went to atttend to that, i had to wait in Bubulo for her to return. While waiting it started raining and i went to a shade at one of James (our filed worker) friends shop to take shelter from the rain.
Shortly, i recieved a phone call from Krystyn and she sounded very upset but i didn’t ask her what was troubling her because there were a lot of people at the shop discussing politics and others were promoting their candidates. Anyway, the phone call with Krystyn did not last long. But before we conclude the phone call, Krystyn told me that she had arrived in Bubulo but she couldn’t get off the taxibus. She explained to me further, that she wasn’t feeling very well and that she was to go back to Mbale right away. She asked that we meet in Mbale later on.
We agreed that i was to take the buss in the afternoon and meet her in Mbale. I was also supposed to move to Mbale from Bubulo the same day, so the timing was perfect. Around 4pm i took a taxi from Bubulo and arrived to Mbale around 5:30 where i took a bodaboda to where Krystyn waited for me. After my arrival, i met Krystyn and we made an order for tea, then after some minutes I heard a very shocking story from her. This story is the most shocking and saddest story I’ve ever heard in a long time.
The incident happened after she had been in Butiru primary school where she was called to attend to a kid’s school need. When she was done, she then took a taxibuss to Bubulo where I was waiting for her. The taxi was to make a stop at Bubulo and then continue to its last destination which is Mbale. In the Taxi, Krystyn sat beside a woman who was carrying a child on her laps. And it didn’t look so well. Hardly did she know that in a Short while, Krystyn was to experiance something unexpectably terrifying. After a while, Krystyn noticed that the child was sick and very uncomfortable and directly asked the mother what was wrong with the child. The mother responded that the child is very sick and was aneamic and needed a blood transfusion, and that was to be to be done at Mbale hospital nearly 46 km way. And this was an emergency but the hospital at Butiru didn’t have blood and thus refered her to Mbale Regional hospital.
the distance from Butiru to Mbale is nearly 46 km and on the taxi, a journey like this might take at least two hours to reach to Mbale.
Infrastructure is nothing to rely on in within these areas and another thing to know here is that the taxis in Uganda never departures until the customers are packed to the fullest. This offcourse makes it imposible for drivers here to save lives.
Ambulance is always busy because of the needs. There is only one working ambulance for the whole district of Manafwa. It is not clear how many people that live here, but they are many. Poor people are even asked for petrol money before they drive them to the hospital.
Krystyn got panicked and told the driver to reconsider the fact that there is a mother with a very sick child that needs medical attention immediately. The response she got from the driver was worse than poison. He replied : this taxi is not an ambulance, if you want, you should wait until the taxi was pucked full or otherwise, get off the taxi! After a short while, the taxi was overloaded with people and it started moving. To the fact that the vehicle was overloaded with people, the sick child couldn’t breathe and therefore started to suffocate and the fact that it was lacking blood made the condition even worse.
But before the taxi could reach bubulo, that child gt worse and shortly after died in his mothers hands and the mother started screaming and crying. Krystyn was in a very big shock, terrified and brought to tears by the whole situation and didn’t know what to do at that same moment. Helpless and very sad she waited only to hear the driver shouting to the woman to keep quit and stop making noise in their taxi. She sobbed! Meanwhile the taxi arrived in Bubulo and that same driver had to look for another taxi that was going to an opposite direction, inorder to take the mother and her dead child back to their village. And its at that point that she, Krystyn tried to call me but she was too troubled to speak and so decided that we meet in Mbale instead.
After I heard about this from her, I was concerned by the fact that many children in this part of the country die without being given second chances. According to Unicef, dies 16,000 children under five in the world every day. Nearly half die during their first month of life. A whole one million babies die during their first days of life. Most die from diseases that are preventable, such as diarrhea and malaria. Even malnutrition and lack of clean water and sanitation also contribute to more than half of the deaths, just like the situation of the child who died yesterday.
Around the areas in Manafwa district where Kids of Uganda organisation is based, many children die everyday under any circumstance and this has become a culture that people are forced to accept because of poverty and other factors. We all wish we could do something after reading about these situations. But we still can’t deny the fact that wishing is still not action. Some people like Krystyn, who witnessed this incident could have wished to help but given the circumstances, everything seemed empty and hopeless. We who couldn’t help this child that I have just written about above, we can still help the children that are still alive but i suffer of the adult failure. May the soul of that child who lost his life at the age of 3 in a bus to the hospital, rest in good peace! And i hope we all take this in consideration and learn from it.
There are no excuses! My child is your child. We can all do something for someone! Especially for the kids! Because they are the future!