A Little Help
Brings So Much Happiness
Zest For Kidz
Like most exciting stories my Ugandan adventures began with a friend saying “Do you think it would be possible….?”
The friend in question is a guy called Stuy Wilson who has a kindred spirit to mine. Coincidentally he was also raised in a family of givers and so when he asked me to become a board member for the charity Zest4Kidz I knew that adventure was calling.
Our first programmes in Uganda focused on returnee child soldiers and released sex slaves from the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) the Joseph Kony led guerrila army. All one needs to know about this heart breaking scar on humanity is that tiny children were taken under threat of death and coerced into partaking in horrific acts of terror. The reward at best promotion to even more dire acts and at worst you remined alive but mutilated. It may sound insignificant but what we brought to these kids was laughter and love and play. In short we tried to bring back a feeling of childhood. So Stuy led teams to Northern Uganda and we danced and sang and played and cried and hugged and held and poured kindness into wounded hearts.
It always strikes me that hardship seems to find it’s nest where the vulnerable have neither the funds nor the facilities to fight it off. Perhaps that is why in some respects poorer areas seem to have higher illness and disability rates, more alarming chronic illness morbidity rates and much lower recovery rates. So yet again the question “Do you think it would be possible…? comes into the story. On a trip in August 2011 my late wife Jean asked the simple but life changing question “Do you think it would be possible to build a hospital so that we could help the sick in some way?”
At the time I didn’t think it would be possible at all. On the 6th September 2011 (just one month after that Uganda visit) Jean tragically and suddenly passed away following a double aneurism. Grief stricken I searched for rhyme or reason in this space and was floundering until I received a call from Stuy. “Rob… Do you think it would be possible to raise funds and build the hospital?” to which I think I replied “Do you think it would be possible to call it the Jean Carley Memorial Hospital” So began another adventure of events and fundraising and seeking an in-country partner and project manager. And we did it ! I remember the actual opening of the hospital was a really hard experience. I guess seeing your late wife’s name on a plaque is not numbered amongst anyone’s life goals. I remember just as I cut the ribbon thinking “Hang on Jean never wanted a hospital what she wanted was to help kids!”. Now, that is when I suddenly saw her vision. The real “Do you think it would be possible?” was not the bricks and mortar but more the love and kindness that would drive us to fund each individual life changing operation. And that is exactly what we in Zest4Kidz have been doing over 700 operations each one changing a kids life indeed changing a family and often a community. Just one loving action at a time.
So here is what I would like to ask you “Do you think it would be possible… ? For you and your circle of love to sponsor an operation? Do you think it would be possible for you to organise an event to raise awareness of our work and funds towards medical procedures? Do you think it would be possible to join us on a trip to this incredible country and experience the joy that we feel on each and every adventure?