What you need to know:
ALMS GIVING. Preaching the gospel is more than reading the bible and extends to providing for the needy. Sandra Janet Birungi witnesses how Life Ministries does it
Richard Ssentongo, 30, is carried from the vehicle in which he has been sitting for more than an hour, waiting to be given a token from Mengo Hospital. His eyes darting from one side to another, he is sat onto a pet cart and he stares in amazement.
With no close family taking care of him, Ssentongo, who sells old newspapers in his neighbourhood in Ndeeba lost his capability to walk more than 10 years ago after he contracted cerebral malaria.
“One day, I just collapsed but regained consciousness after one month. I stayed in the hospital for another five months and when I left, I would walk with the help of a cane. At that time, my mother was taking care of me. She is now deceased,” Ssentongo, who also has speech problems, narrates with difficulty.
Going to the village
Since his situation needed constant supervision but there were financial constraints, his mother sent him to the village where he got another attack which rendered him disabled for life. Today, he cannot use his legs to stand or walk.
“When I try to stand, my legs give way because they shake but I do not know what exactly is wrong with me because I have never gone for a medical check-up; I do not have the money. With this thing (pet cart), I will be able to move around with ease. Before, I used to crawl on my hands and when it rained, I would be stained with mud. Sometimes, I would be injured but now, I will be able to work more vigorously,” he says enthusiastically.
Ssentongo is one of the few beneficiaries of the donations made to Mengo hospital by Life Ministries through Global Aid Network (GAIN). The donations, which included wheel chairs, pet carts, walkers, bandages, syringes, first aid kits and crutches were handed over to the hospital administrator, David Komunda.
“Thank you for considering Mengo. These donations are very useful and vital to all our patients at the hospital. Recently, a nurse asked me for a wheel chair and since I knew we were getting these donations, I asked her to be patient so, they have come just in time,” Komunda said while receiving the donation.
While handing over the donations, Dickson Oboya, the director Life Ministries, said the donation comes as a first step to reviving the spiritual life at the hospital.
“Ministry is more than just preaching the word of God to people. We believe that we can preach the gospel through helping people, especially those who are in need and that is why we gave these donations,” Oboya said.
“We went to Bulamburi for a week, where we had an eye and dental clinic, which ministered to more than 150 and 270 people respectively. We also donated, among other things clothing and wheel chairs to the residents,” he added.
Re-echoing Oboya’s statement, Komunda called upon the hospital to continue preaching the gospel through their work in the medical field by helping those who need a hand.
“If as the hospital we deduce that a patient needs the wheel chair or any other item which was donated permanently, we shall give it to them and pray that many more donations come our way to improve the lives of many who are in need,” he said.
WHO IS SSENTONGO?
Richard Ssentongo receives help from a local church, St Peter Ndeeba and was handpicked by members who also work at Mengo Hospital. He does not have a family and earns between shs2,000 and shs5,000 every day while selling the old newspapers in Ndeeba.
The hospital administrator, David Komunda, pledged to help diagnose Ssentongo’s illness so that he can receive more help.