Meet Adrine, who is now 80 years old. Like many other grandmothers in her Ugandan community, she was a young 62 years old but had lost all hope when she came to ROTOM for help. Poverty, isolation, disease, and the loss of the seniors’ children in their village had become a soul-crushing burden for many of them. Add to this the ravaging impact of HIV/AIDS which nearly tore their lives apart and snuffed out all hope. This particular group of seniors’ faced discrimination in the communities they grew up in and called home. They no longer had access to basic necessities like healthcare, water, and food. Theirs is a story of hope because they had each other.
From this journey of hopelessness and despair, Adrine and her friends were introduced to ROTOM to support them during some of the most difficult times. These ladies went on to form a foundational ROTOM support meeting, our dynamic “Senior Fellowships”. Much like other peer groups, these Fellowships rely heavily on peer support to play a valuable role in supporting them through the toughest times! The Fellowships bring together a place for our most vulnerable seniors to meet together in their communities, sing, dance, pray together, learn new things and most notably, share their life experiences all while enjoying a hot and nutritious meal. At the Fellowships, they develop friendships, find a sense of well-being, a safe place to talk to others, encourage and relate to fellow seniors – where alongside the support from ROTOM staff, the seniors find solutions to help with some of their problems.
Looking back through this wonderful Christ-centered journey, some have passed on and those remaining like Adrine are celebrating 19 remarkable years since becoming part of the ROTOM family. Below Adrine reminiscences some of the very “first days” of the Senior Fellowships and the impact the health center made on them:
During those first group support meetings that ROTOM organised, we had many needs. One by one we presented them to ROTOM. And one by one, ROTOM found solutions to these needs. One major need we had back then was health care. The few community health centres had proved over and over again that older persons were not a priority. After queuing for long hours, we were often turned away before we got to see the doctor. Our diagnosis was always “old age” and as a result, we would be normally pushed aside to give room for the younger ones in the queue. Today we have our own ROTOM Health Centres that attend to all our health needs. In our health centres, we no longer have to queue for long hours nor do we have to give up our turns to younger people without being seen by the doctor.
ROTOM provided and continues to give food, shelter, water, and many other gifts that have changed my life. I have regularly received soap and Vaseline which have kept me clean and glowing. Most of my friends who were with me from the start have gone home to be with the Lord. But they have passed with such great dignity, and had lived out their last days being loved. Everyone now wants to associate with my older friends and me. And it’s all because of the impact ROTOM has made in our lives. Back then, we always prayed for ROTOM to grow and support older persons like us. Looking back now, I am continually amazed at how far we have come. I am convinced beyond a doubt that this has all been possible because of LOVE. ROTOM’s love for the seniors has made all these beautiful things possible. I felt it back then when no one cared for my friends and me, and I still feel it now. It never grew old or weary and has always been here for us all. If this isn’t Love, then I don’t know what it is!”
Adrine’s once hopeless story, is one who has experienced ROTOM’s amazing love over all these years, thanks to you! The connections formed
as being part of the ROTOM family carry a special meaning in each of their lives. Your love my friend, has enabled them to engage in meaningful activities which has given them a new lease on life!
At ROTOM, we talk about love and walk in love. We believe in Christ-centered love beyond self. ROTOM grandmothers and grandfathers have many different stories related to how they have experienced love from the ROTOM Staff, Village Volunteers, Field Assistants, and most importantly, their supporting friends. We believe that the relationships between ROTOM-supported seniors and their friends or staff have touched and developed rich connections through the power of Jesus’ love! Recognizing this, ROTOM staff and volunteers work tirelessly to ensure that older persons live dignified and fulfilled lives!
Click here to view the Senior Fellowships 1st Back in Session since the Covid-19 quarantine.
WATCH VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/729783154