When Remi, a 40-something-year-old man from the village of Kasenene, was in high school he suffered a terrible motorcycle accident. One of the results of the accident was that Remi began having seizures. For years he tried local remedies—everything available—including herbs and witchcraft. Nothing worked.
Remi did get married and is the proud father of eight children. But when his seizures got worse he could no longer work or take care of his family. The seizures weakened Remi to the point that even performing small daily tasks became challenging. The local culture didn’t help.
In rural Uganda, someone who has severe seizures like Remi is thought to be of no value. They’re ignored by neighbors and friends. It’s almost like dying but not going to heaven. People think they cannot help. They believe people like Remi will never accomplish anything. Many believe the seizures are a just penalty for wrongdoing. They look at a person like Remi and think, “You are nothing. You mean nothing. You will never do anything.”
A few years ago, Remi came to a GLO Medical Camp. Guiding Light Orphans (GLO) holds medical camps approximately twice a year in local villages of the Masindi district where Remi lives. At the camp Remi had a rare opportunity to see nurses and a doctor. He was examined, diagnosed with epilepsy, and given a simple education on how to treat and deal with his disease.
Remi eagerly soaked up all he could learn. He became a regular at the GLO clinic where he received epilepsy medication, check ups, further education, and support. The GLO clinic works not just with people who have a disease but also with their family and caregivers (see our website page on Village Health Teams). Not only did Remi’s condition vastly improve, Remi became a preacher of sorts.
When GLO began training peer epilepsy ambassadors to work in all the villages on Village Health Teams, Remi was among the first to become an ambassador. Remi goes anywhere and everywhere to find people who suffer from seizures and other medical conditions. In fact, Remi brings more patients to the GLO clinic than anyone else.
Remi travels on foot to people’s homes to tell them about his own experience and how GLO has helped him. He tells villagers how he could not do anything for so many years but now that the GLO treatments have stopped his seizures he’s started growing tobacco and raising pigs. He’s providing for his family again, too.
Other people who saw how well Remi was doing started coming to him and asking where is this GLO? How do we get treatment? Within 3-4 months Remi alone brought several ill people to GLO. GLO Executive Director Jolly Lux calls Remi a gospel preacher for health.