The morning rain of Wednesday 11th December 2019 delayed our planned visit to “Reach One Touch One Ministries” (ROTOM), the Home to the Elderly in Mukono District. This organization has a fully-fledged Hospital specifically facilitated to suit the needs of these vulnerable people. On arrival to the Hospital, while still at the gate waiting to be opened for, two motorcycles (Bodabodas) came in carrying two visibly weak elderly women. Hardly a minute gone by, another one rushed in with a very sick and weak old man, who could hardly support himself. His legs were tied onto the motorcycle’s passenger footrest for support to keep them from dragging on the ground.
Soon after the motorcycle had stopped, I saw the helper struggling to get him off, while the cyclist was also struggling to keep the motorcycle in balance. I was moved with compassion and immediately stepped in to help; Quickly we sat him in the wheelchair that was being pushed by a nurse, before he was rushed into the emergency unit.
We later got in touch with Mrs. Grace Kalule (One of the staff) for an interview. She reported about the good work the proclaimers were doing in the Elderly’s fellowships; ….“Before the proclaimers were brought in, our fellowships used to be very small ranging between one to five (1-5) people in attendance. But now, they are between five to ten (5-10), depending on how well they feel to make it to the fellowship”, says Mrs. Kalule. Furthermore, she said, “Listening to the audio Scriptures has brought hope among the elderly people because most of them can no longer read the print Bible and had stopped mentioning anything to do with the scriptures”. “But now, after listening, they discuss amongst themselves and also share what they have heard and learned, plus testifying about the importance the audio scriptures have made in their lives.
“One day while listening from the Old Testament portion, ‘one of them exclaimed, ‘eeh, even old people in the Bible have the same old age effects like us?’ (“Now King David was old and well along in years, and though they covered him with blankets, he could not keep warm. 2, So his servants said to him, “Let us search for a young virgin for our lord the king, to attend to him and care for him and lie by his side to keep him warm.”). 1 Kings 1:1-2. This made them realize that aging is not a disease but a natural phenomenon that happens to humanity everywhere.
A one Nalubega Dimitria once testified…. “I no longer plead to my granddaughter to read for me the Bible since I can listen for myself”. Babirye Mary Nakalema also had this to say, “We need the audio scriptures for every one of us, because the proclaimers have turned out to be our daily companion since most of the time we are lonely and have no one to talk to. When I listen to audio scriptures, it makes me feel as if I have someone near to encourage me”.
Our excitement for the testimonies was cut short after we had received the sad news of the demise of Haruna Bagala, the 82-year-old Muslim man whom we had helped on his arrival at the Hospital. “His love for Holy Scriptures caused him to join our listening group and hence the birth of a deep desire in him to know more about God in the Bible. We shall dearly miss him”, says Grace.
His death did not only leave us in shock but also highlighted what one of them later mentioned during our visit to some of the group members. “We are in the evening of our lives and the Bible helps us to die with hope”