Yesterday was launch day! We gathered at a school in a village just outside of Jinja Town with local leaders, village health teams, and presidential officials.
As we drove onto the school compound, hundreds of children and exciting cheers greeted us. As we got out of the car, little smiles said "You are Welcome" with no need for translation. In true Ugandan fashion, the start time was pushed much farther back than planned - which left more time for play. With a big futbol match and other group games led by our amazing team, jigger removal set up began. As we placed chairs across from each other with basins placed between, the cheerful cries of children filled our ears.
Through our partnership with the District of Jinja, we will be working in a selected 5 villages over the next several months. On the day of the launch, children with severe jigger cases were brought from each individual village. The Sole Hope team set up a full jigger removal clinic to display to the local leaders and other officials what we do on a weekly basis. As our team started to wash feet, remove jiggers, and fit shoes, the ceremony introducing the campaign and officials began.
With African dancers to open the ceremony, the official launch was underway. Asher, Sole Hope Founder, was able to share a brief description of not only how Sole Hope is partnering with the district, but what we do as an organization. She was able to share the message of HOPE and healing that so many do not understand. Standing behind the scenes, watching it take place, the whole situation took my breath away. We were able to share the HOPE of #ZEROjiggers with a group that may see this battle as hopeless. We have the opportunity to shed light on this issue that is rarely talked about. We have an opportunity to be the light, to bring HOPE, to share truth.
There is HOPE in this journey to #ZEROjiggers - starting with the next two feet.