Maria is 78 years old, a widow who never had children of her own, and a ROTOM sponsored senior since 2016. At her seasoned age, she now has full-time responsibility of her brother’s school-aged granddaughters. Her grandnieces in her care are two girls who are 2 and 4 years old. Their mother died tragically of HIV/Aids and their father, (her nephew) abandoned them never to return.
For years, she suffered with various health problems but kept working hard to survive. There was never any extra money to spare for medical bills-not even for the constant migraines. To make ends meet, she made mats from palm fronds (dried leaves, colored and stripped into small pieces).
Life has never been easy. ROTOM helped alleviate some of the burden six years ago when coming into her life. Now, she was no longer alone in her struggle for survival. This blessing is seen recently when ROTOM helped rebuild her house – saving her from the tiny rundown mud and wattle house of late. Then, to bless her even more, ROTOM helped dignify her life with a shiny new pit latrine of her own.
At a time when life seemed to be going right for once, Maria suddenly lost her eyesight. One of her grandnieces was also taken away; so she remained in care of her 6-year-old grandniece Nabukenya to help her navigate this crippling disability. Life became very difficult for her in those everyday functions. People took advantage and sadly she experienced a lot of theft. Then there was also the change from her role of reliance on her little grandniece who is helping with cooking after returning from a day at school. All of this shifted from her being independent, to feeling helpless, and takes a toll on Maria as she feels the burden is far too great to bear. There are numerous other house chores – from collecting water from their village’s well, to cooking, cleaning, and washing their clothes. Because she could no longer work, or tend to her homegrown garden to sell food, she is grateful that ROTOM began supporting her with monthly food supplies for their family.
So in 2022, ROTOM held an eye screening clinic in Maria’s village. The opticians were confident that her sight could be improved by an operation for cataracts. Bringing life to her and giving her new inspiration, she was hopeful and excited at the chance of getting her vision back. Fortunately for Maria, ROTOM partnered with a local hospital that was providing eye surgery at a subsidized cost for people on a limited income. ROTOM provided her with paid hospital visit, stay, and subsequent follow ups. Additionally, she underwent a successful surgery; and after a while in the darkness, Maria could finally see again! Oh what a glorious day.
Maria’s joyful return to the village after her successful surgery makes her feel like “it was like a triumphant entry into a whole new life.” Arriving home, she rushed into her new home and into the bedroom to see the beautiful things ROTOM had gifted her over the years (things that she could not see before), especially the traditional dresses and the bedsheets with all the pretty flowers and colors. Afterwards, she proudly showed these off to some of the people in her community and spoke of the wonder of her newly restored vision. Our staff was reminded during the interview with Maria of the “blind man’s” reference in the Bible whose sight was miraculously restored! She has been happily telling the villagers about the ROTOM Medical Center and its exceptionally gifted medical staff.
In the days following the triumphant return of her vision after the cataract surgery, Maria set out to clean her home, the new pit latrine, yard, clothing, and everything. Of course, having a new water storage tank will be essential now that her home is remodeled and in livable condition.
Please pray for Maria’s family and others’ like hers in Uganda. We also want to tremendously thank YOU for your dedication and support to ROTOM all these years to make the lives of seniors easier as they move into the last years of their lives.
This year, we are celebrating 20 years of existence in supporting the dignity of older persons in Ethiopia and Uganda on October 7th in Uganda. We welcome to the journey with us for a life changing visit. Please be on the lookout as we will be posting Thanksgiving stories of our long-term donors who’ve selflessly donated their resources over the years.