Jiggers – a brief introduction: a flea that lives in the dust in dirty homes and that burrows into the skin and lays its eggs which then grow causing painful sores. When the eggs hatch the young burrow their way out whilst eating skin, lifting fingers and toenails, and causing infection.

Our family in Kahama – a brief introduction………….

  • Charles, the father of the family, is about 45. He sustained a head injury in a car crash and cannot look after himself, let alone find work. It is Charles’ foot that you can see pictured. He can barely walk.
  • Constance, the Mum, is probably less than 40. With a husband who cannot work, 7 children that she cannot feed and no land to farm…..she has given up
  • The eldest two children are Jamukama, 16, and Olivia, 14. Both have left the desperately poor home that they have suffered in since their father’s injury and have found work.
  • Twin children aged 10 – Alex (male) and Kathleen. Kathleen has an oddly distended knee, both children are malnourished and have  jiggers all over their hands and feet that cause them pain
  • Liberty – a boy aged 8 who has already spent a month in hospital with severe malnutrition. He too is host to a colony of fleas and their eggs
  • Akampurira – a girl aged 6 who has been so badly affected by the jigger fleas that she is now lame. Her left foot has turned outwards so that she can avoid the pain caused by putting pressure on the sores left by the fleas.
  • Brian – a boy aged 3 who is as damaged as the other young children – dirty, malnourished and afflicted with fleas.

The needs of this family are many and complex. These broken children of a loving God will not be fixed only by a new, jigger-free home. But God, St Mary’s Stebbing, KBC and J1010 have a plan. And we are on the winning side. God has given us a plan and resources to meet the four distinct needs that the family has: housing, medical care, nutrition and education.

I’ll tell more tomorrow………but look at what God helped us to achieve on our first day yesterday………the new house has a frame – and today it will have a roof. The majority of the 18 of us who were working yesterday were doing so without pay.

I said to Kathleen, aged 10, last Friday…..’Next week, Jesus is going to build you a new house. Are you happy?!’

She nodded enthusiastically and gave me a huge smile. I had never seen her smile before.