Located in Eastern Africa, the country of Uganda is one of the poorest nations in the world. Almost 40% of the population survive on less than $1.25 per day and 85% of rural Ugandans live in poverty. There is little access to healthcare in a country that has eight physicians for every 100,000 people. It is from Uganda that HeartGift welcomed two year old Rigan and his mother Abia. Rigan has five older siblings that range in age from 4 to 18 years old. His parents are farmers and work long hours to support their family. The family home consists of three rooms with a latrine located outside the home. A nearby borehole provides water for the family.
When Rigan arrived in San Antonio he was ready for action. After 36 hours of traveling he waved, played peek a boo and connected with his new HeartGift friends, instantly. Although tired from their long trip both Abia and Rigan enjoyed the hearty welcome they received from HeartGift San Antonio. Within a few days Rigan visited the doctor for his pre-op exam and surgery was scheduled for the following week. The morning of surgery Rigan could be heard singing songs while waiting in the pre-surgical room. The surgery itself lasted two hours. Rigan had a fairly large hole in his heart which was repaired by his surgeon. Four days after open heart surgery Rigan was well enough to be discharged to continue his recovery at the home of his host family. In a few weeks, after the final "thumbs up" from his doctor, Rigan and his thankful mother will be heading back home to Uganda full of joy and hope for a healthy future.
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