When Praise was 3 months old, an unexplainable and strange event occured:
One day, her mother laid her on the ground while she went to work in a field. When she came back, Praise was lying somewhere else and where she had been sleeping, there were witchcraft charms.
Strange - very strange
After that fateful day, Praise, who was called Najjalwambi - child of sorrow - at the time,
cried day and night. Nothing could stop her. It was terrible.
Her left arm kept swelling and every so often, pieces of broken bones would break through the skin on her tiny arm and come out, with puss and blood.
They left holes and after some time, you could literally see through her arm.
It was horrific and Praise was in constant pain.
Her mother took her to many places, hoping to get help from doctors and natural healers, but nobody had any idea what her condition was nor could they offer any relief or treatment.
This went on until Praise was 6 years old.
Her mother tried to take her to preschool when she was around 4, but she often had to stay home as she was too miserable and sick to attend.
“I went to (pre-)school with my wounds and pain. Children would laugh at me and I would come back home crying. Often, the bones would come out. But my grandmother told me to never lose any of them but to pick them up when they come out and then to bring them home. My grandmother said, “You cannot bury a living person’s bones.” She wanted me to be clean and made me responsible for picking them out of my arm and putting them into a bag. I collected quite a bunch of them but they later got lost as we moved from home to home."
(Praise was raised mostly by her grandmother, but her mother was also involved in her life when she was able)
Then, one unforgettable day...
... when Praise was 6 years old, after analysing a recent x-ray, the doctors decided that her arm would have to be cut off in order to avoid a general infection which would cost her life.
That surely can't be true!
But guess what happened just then?
At night, her mum had a dream.
In the dream, a woman told her,
"Let them not cut off the arm. I will get medicine for it."
So she refused to take Praise into surgery for the planned amputation.
Two months later, the same dream came back again.
In the dream, the woman was showing her a plant with a big leaf from a specific plant which she had never seen. The woman told her:
"Go to … (a certain village). You will come across a gathering of people. Just sit with the people at that gathering and you will get help from there."
My - oh - my - what about that?
As soon as she could, full of hope and expectation, she took Praise and they made their way to that village. Just before reaching it, she saw a gathering of people. She figured this must be the place and asked the ‘taxi’ (public transport van) to stop and let them off.
Carefuly following the instructions from her dream, they just sat down at the gathering.
It felt a big awkward, since they didn't know anybody.
After some time, an old woman approached her and asked her,
"Young lady, what are you doing here?"
and she eagerly responded:
"My daughter is sick."
Then the woman asked her where she was going and she said that she didn't know where she was going.
The woman then proceeded to explain:
"We are here because someone has died. Just stay here. After everything is done, I will bring you the medicine."
So they stayed put and even slept there - outside - on the ground.
In the morning, the old woman came back.
She gave Praise's mother some smashed up leaves and instructed her:
"Go home, boil these leaves, dry them and then you get powder out of them. Then use ... (known leaves) to clean up the wounds and put the dried powder on the wounds."
She did just as she had was told
– aaaaaand –
- lo and behold -
the wounds started healing up!!!
It had worked!!!
PRAISE WAS HEALED!!!
It almost seemed too good to be true! After all these years, and with so many doctors involved; none of whom had been able to cure Praise!
It was a miracle!
Both Praise and her mother were overjoyed!
After the wounds were completely healed, Praise’s mother took her back to the National Referral Hospital (Mulago) in Kampala, where doctors had failed to treat her. She wanted to show them that Praise hadn’t died, as they had predicted when she took her away, refusing the amputation.
All the professors and doctors were totally dumbfounded and asked her what treatment she had used. She told them about what happened and how she got the medicine. They asked to see the powder, which she showed them, since she still had some.
The main doctor’s curiosity was pricked and he asked to be taken to that old woman. When the day came and they arrived at the place where the function had been, they were directed to where that old woman lived. When they arrived at her home, they found out that she had died. Can you believe it?!
Praise’s mum is convinced that it was an angel that saved Praise’s arm and healed her!
Angel or not - I can only add my belief that it was God who reached out to Praise in His love and compassion even before she - or her mother - knew Him.
Until today, nobody knows what happened in the garden on that day to cause Praise’s injury/sickness.
Was it a wild animal? Was it witchcraft?
Even now, Praise's scarred (and weak) arm is proof of this story and a constant reminder of what God did for her as a little girl, after years of intense suffering, when all hope was gone. In human thinking too late (why all these years of suffering???), but on the other hand