Surviving the Snails of Uganda

Francis Angumya of Uganda

Francis Angumya of Uganda

As a teenager, Francis Angumya often played with his friends in Africa’s largest lake, not understanding the dangers that lurked underneath.

The 23-year-old student had left his home in rural Uganda to pursue a better education and brighter future — a search that ultimately brought him to the shores of Lake Victoria. He had enrolled at an all-boys high school just a short drive from Entebbe, a popular holiday destination on the lake’s northern shores.

His wistful memories of afternoons swimming in Lake Victoria have all but washed away — replaced by a terrifying experience that changed his life forever.

In April 2016, Francis suddenly woke to excruciating pain pulsating from his stomach. Then he started vomiting blood. “It was not about to stop,” he said.

The doctors discovered a scarred liver, stomach ulcers and abnormally high blood pressure. But Francis’s tests failed to reveal the cause of his mysterious illness.

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