Friday, July 30, 2010

Two extra weeks?!

We have just heard that the school holiday that is coming up is about to start two weeks early for the primary school kids (so 1st to 7th grade will have 14 more days out of school- and no idea why). Right now I have 6 kids here after school looking for something do to and I'm already a little frustrated with them. I'm not looking forward to having them with no school and free all day for a whole month. As Beckie and I have gotten busier it is harder to be intentional with these guys. So another prayer request: Please pray for extra patience, love and wisdom that we can use this time with them as an opportunity and not see it as just something that needs to be endured. There are some fun things that I'd like to do with them (like make pretzels or use play dough) but often the number of them is unmanageable and projects seem to be so much harder than with kids in the states. On top of that they seem to always be hungry and take time to clean up after. On the up side they seem to enjoy ANYTHING we have them do so washing the car becomes a great game for seven boys who needed to bathe anyway and the girls ask to sweep the floor.
The current front porch activity. It is starting to rain
so they are mostly up on the porch.
Coloring is somthing that they don't get to do at any other time.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thanks for all of you who were praying for my time with Lazaro's family. (see July 9) Wednesday afternoon I went out to their home with Pastor Steven. I was picturing sharing a little with his mom and dad and possibly an older sister or two and hopefully then just talking with them and answering questions. Well, when we arrived there were possibly already 5 families there and a few more arrived later. Two families had come bringing handicapped kids that I had not met yet but the rest came because they heard I was going to be “preaching”. Oh, boy. It was raining pretty hard so we all gathered in one of their largest huts but people we still sitting practically on top of each other. I didn't prepare anything, thinking it was just going to be an informal conversation ( I hadn't even remembered to bring my bible!). But God is good and He provided the words. I started with I John 5:11-12 And this is the testimony, God has given us eternal life and this life is in his son. He who has the son of God has life. He who does not have the son of God does not have life. Lazaro's family nodded all throughout and they have told me they are saved. But I don't know where others who were there are at. I went on to talk about what does it mean to have the son of God and what I personally will be able to say when one day I stand before the throne. I've no idea what people got out of it but I'm praying God will use it for His glory. I spoke for really only 20 minutes but it took about an hour because it seemed to be translated into both Kumom and Atesso. I had brought with me posho and beans already cooked because I know that Lazaro's mom works so hard. I was apologetic when I brought it out that I had brought not enough because I didn't know so many people would be there. But when it was all put onto plates and passed out it seemed like plenty. Thank you Lord for your blessing!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Anna Grace

I've been doing just a little hospice care. I go out to this woman's family's home a few times a week. She was very weak and sick the first time that I saw her and honestly I didn't think she would live very long. But we got her into TASO (the government HIV treatment center) and though I didn't have a very high opinion of them she was doing a little better for a while. She started on ARVs and antibiotics. We got her pain under control and made sure she had enough food that she could eat. Mandy went with me to visit her earlier in the month and took this picture for me. We are sitting on the floor in Anna Grace's hut after having a cup of tea together.
For a few weeks she had a little more energy and looked better but is in the hospital now, and has been there since before we left for Kenya. I tried to talk her family out of taking her but I think she felt like too much to care for at home. This morning when I saw her she is more wasted away and almost unresponsive. They are not really doing anything for her there but state they can't release her until she has her strength back. The day we brought her in I carried her, so I'm not sure what kind of strength back we are talking about but I don't really believe she will ever go back home.

I'm trying to just support and encourage the rest of the family but honestly I hate visiting the hospital. I've grown quite attached to this little lady that has had such a hard life and I'm not looking forward to her funeral. But she knows that she will be in heaven and I'm looking forward to meeting her again there where we will share the same language and have a lot more time to get to know each other.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Another prayer request

In the words of my brother "Enough of a break, update your blog already!” So I'm back in Soroti. The retreat was very restful and very nice. I really felt Jesus calling me to spend some time with Him and it was sweet. The cities that we were in while in Kenya were astonishingly cold (all were at pretty high elevations) so I'm surprised I'm writing this but I'm happy to be back to warm Soroti. Passing back into Uganda they didn't give us too much of a hard time (though still only 3 months so once again I'll have to renew my visa in 90 days). I'm struggling a little with diving back into ministry so am glad it is Sunday and I have one more day to ease back into the flow.

One thing that I've been pondering and praying about is this feeling that I really need to learn more to better serve the people here in a nursing capacity. I'm doing a bit of diagnosis and treatment and have not found a doctor in Soroti that I can trust and work with. Which means instead of sending people to a local doctor I'm making it up as I go along. I'm asking for your prayers in this too. I've been telling myself that it is just insecurity and I can learn as I go but I'm feeling that more and more it isn't true and I could do a better job with some true training. I have no idea how or what that that could look like though. I'm just asking that you pray for opportunity and clarity.

Game park

Well, spending the day out in God's creation was a great way to spend a sunday. Here are just a few two of my pictures. (if possible the internet is slower in Kenya than Uganda.  I'll try to post the rest when I get home.)
These pictures are not nearly as good as experiencing this in real life. Like that rino- he was as big as the van, but the picture just doesn't show it. And the giraffe, they were close enough to hear them chewing.

We are spending the night in the park (and next time I'm bringing my tent) so will do one more early morning game drive then head on to Nairobi. More updates from this current adventure later!

(*was posted on 7/18 but moved to reduce confusion)

Game park pictures

We were at Lake Nakuru. All those birds are pink flamingos.
Yep, thats a lion.

A few other pictures of the week that I like

This is Moses- Tim and Angie's little boy. He was singing to the flowers.  We were out on a pensula filled with wild animals where we could just walk around. It was really cool.

Earlier in the week we went on a game drive. Drive instead of walk because this was a larger park with big cats like lions, don't-mess-with-me buffalo, fierce baboons, very large snakes, etc... So that being said I hope Mandy doesn't see this because she told us not to let Tim out of the car in the middle of the game park.

Not so dangerous but cool none the less.

One of our many roadside meals.

Different kind of roadside meal.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

more pictures?!

I have so many pictures that I like. So I'm putting more up. This is the last post with pictures, I promise. (For tonight at least)

A “colony” of flamingos (aka a large herd)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Drove from Sototi to Eldoret today. This requires crossing the Kenya/Uganda border and it certainly breaks up the long boring driving hours with some long boring hours of standing in lines at immigration windows. There are some slight exaggerations there but for the most part nothing really exciting today. Tomorrow we continue on to the Game Reserve which should be lots of fun. Hopefully good pictures to follow shortly.

Friday, July 16, 2010

More medical stuff

For a little change of pace I hung out for a few hours today in a private clinic. (There are three types of medical services provided in Uganda- “free” government facilities which are far from free and most often the most inefficient trying to treat the highest volumes with the poorest resources. There are the NGO services for small fees with adequate care but these are few and far between and there are the private clinics which are the most expensive but have the best doctors and resources- like accurate laboratories and working equipment.) I was waiting to see an orthopedic surgeon for his opinion on two kids who are not able to walk. He was nearly 3 hours late and had 4 surgical cases that came first. So even though I was at this place at 8 sharp when they opened the kids were seen at 2pm. And this was the place that is the most efficient! It would have been worse to try to get an ortho specialist in the hospital and I most likely would have waited days. I also spent time “wandering” the wards again looking for another patient- an adult this time. The huge amount of suffering is so blatant there and the medical care is so bad compared to what I know is possible in parts of the world. We are leaving for a retreat in Kenya tomorrow and honestly I'm really looking forward to being away from all of this for a little bit.

*For those who are interested in the medical part: Of the two kids I was having seen this time the first little girl is 3 years old. When you stand her up she only stands on her tip-toes though she doesn't point her toes when she sits. Her knees and ankles feel really tight with passive ROM but no indication of pain. She “walks” with the most obvious scissor gait I've ever seen. She has absolutely no balance or coordination when supported to stand. But she hit all other developmental milestones without difficulty- crawling especially was normal. She is HIV positive but in otherwise good health. The doctor seems pretty convinced that it is spastic Cerebral Palsy with nothing we can do. The second is a 2 year old who cries when you make her stand so she only sits or gets held. The mother believes damage was done when she got a quinine shot in her hip. I have heard of a lot of muscular and nerve damage from those shots (which are almost NEVER called for) but this doctor thinks the child is just stubborn and needs to be made to walk. I think I would have more respect for the diagnosis if he had actually touched the child at any time during his “exam”.

*Another side note- in our hours of sitting waiting to see the surgeon while he was in the OR the windows were at such an angle to the yard that I could just see a little of what was going on. Patients went from the OR table to a wheel chair (he was doing pretty major orthopedic procedures) and then were wheeled outside into the shade to wake up. It was all I could do to keep myself from moving a little closer to keep an eye on respiratory rates. Two of the four patients sitting outside had pillows propping up their extensive plaster jobs or external fixation hardware. The other two were just using coats and clothes from family members. All seemed pretty uncomfortable as they came around but nothing like the majority of the post-op patients I'm familiar with.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The newest form of wildlife to take up residence in our yard.

Soroti Regional Referral Hospital

Spent a little time in Soroti hospital again today. I would have thought by now it wouldn't shock me so much but somehow it still does. The purpose of my visit was to check on a few kids that possibly would need follow up after they left the hospital. Amecet knew of a couple there now that are high risk for being neglected again so asked if I would watch them. I wanted to meet them and see if I could make a guess at a discharge date. As always, we bring food with us because rarely does the feeding program have food to provide. (There is no food provided in any ward of the hospital- when people are admitted they have to bring someone with them who will get and prepare meals so why should it be any different in the malnourishment ward?!) Anyway, there were 6 little ones there, but none terribly emaciated so we talked with the mothers and passed out the food and prayed over them and prepared to go. But the ones that Amecet wanted me to see were not there so we headed out into the rest of the hospital to find them. We went into the pediatric ward first. It was packed today. (I'm not allowed to take pictures there so I'll try to describe it). Picture a big open room, bare cement walls and floor. About 30 old steel frame beds and 10 more old steel cribs (that look more like cages) in rows. Every bed with at least one child in them, some with two if the kids are smaller. Most beds have IV fluids hanging, often held up with sticks wired to the bed frame. There is a blanket spread under most beds because that is where the child's caretaker sleeps- this is the person who essentially provides any “nursing” care. One child even had blood hanging which both frightens me and makes me happy because often this intervention isn't available. In the dark hall leading to the treatment room the walls are lined with parents holding kids. I don't know if these ones are just here for the day and waiting to see the doctor of if there just are not enough beds (most likely both.)
As we stood in the middle of the room scanning the kids looking for the ones I need to meet many parents call out to us to get us to come over to look at their child. They want help paying for needed medicines because their child will not get treatment until they pay. It is noisy, crowed and stinks of sick, unclean bodies. Even for someone comfortable in hospitals this place is frightening. I can't imagine being a sick child in this unit. We don't find the children we are looking for so head back outside. (Each unit is a separate building connected by dirt paths wide enough for gurneys to pass.) As we walk past the surgical ward (you can identify it by the clothes lines outside covered with the dark blue and green cloth surgical drapes, caps, shoe covers, aprons and sponges drying in the sun.) I look in the windows and can see that surgery is clearly going on. There are no screens in these open windows. We walk from ward to ward and finally find them. They have been moved to the TB ward because the have both had positive chest x-rays. Good that it was caught and treatment started and also good because this will get them two more weeks in the hospital. Well, good I think. At least I know they are getting food there because Amecet is providing. The TB ward is not as crowded at the other but just as open, dirty and the people clearly just as sick. I can tell just by looking that many would be on an ICU in the states (and some intubated). But there is no such thing here. The head nurse on the TB ward was telling me about the kids treatment then went on to tell me that a year or so ago they opened a new TB ward with separate rooms. The tone of her voice was telling me that she thought this was a ridiculous idea so I asked why they moved back into the old unit. She explained that frequently when someone is diagnosed with TB the caretaker won't stay so when they were in private rooms the person could die and no one would know for hours because they were alone. As I looked around I guessed there were about 15 patients and two nurses (only one for night duty). There is such a difference in “nursing” here and “nursing” in the states. Today I really missed my 12 hour shifts on IIU with a nice 4 patient assignment and one in respiratory isolation...
*a picture is worth a thousand words so I'm going to someday figure out a way to sneak my camera into the hospital to get some pictures. There has to be a way to hide it in my bag....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


So I've been a little incommunicado for the past two days. The night of the world cup there were 3 bombs detonated in Kampala. (Consequently ?) We had intermittent phone service, no power and no internet. Monday midday I went in search of a newspaper and was told that due to breaking news they had been delayed so Soroti wouldn't get them until the following day. Then today I stopped for fuel and was told that there isn't petrol coming from Kampala. However other than the inconveniences we were not really affected. Our team leader Tim was in the city at the time. Here is a little of what he wrote.
Since I was in Kampala, I thought it would be fun to watch the final World Cup match with a few hundred Dutch (along with many other foreigners and Ugandans) at Iguana, a local restaurant. All in all, it was a good time… until we had to be evacuated. 3 bombs went off a few kilometers away at a couple other local restaurants where many foreigners and Ugandans were also watching the game. (For those of you who have been here, the bombings occurred just across from Game & Shoprite at the Kyadondo Rugby Club and on Tank Hill in Kabalagala at the Ethiopian Village Restaurant – places foreigners, including us, frequent.) Apparently, the attack was coordinated by suicide bombers from the Somalian al-Shabab terrorist group who are upset with Uganda for sending more peace-keeping troops into Somalia. The seriousness and danger really didn’t hit me until the next morning when I joined some reporter friends and went to the sites. We praise God that the restaurant we were at was not bombed; however, we ask that you pray for the many injured and the friends and family of the 74+ killed.
You can see pictures he took the morning after at!94B85C53B78F4A33!8610.entry  A few include the Ugandan president speaking outside one of the bomb sites.
On top of all of that the Karamajong staged another big raid in the north and the son of a high ranking military official was killed yestersay. Today while driving to Kumi I saw a lot of military trucks headed north and military helicopters overhead.

But it all seems short lived as tonight already we have power back and the internet is slow but that isn't unusual. I hate knowing that there are many grieving but I can go right back to life as usual.  And I can even count it a blessing to go right back to life as usual. *Sigh*

Sunday, July 11, 2010

World Cup

Sitting and watching the World Cup game.  My chair is in the front right side of this covered porch. I'm sitting with a few white guys but they are lost the crowd. No one here really seems to care which team wins. They are all cheering for any good play. Nice! 

"She did what she could" (Mark 14:8)

“She did what she could.” Jesus' words. The Sunday that Beckie and I were commissioned before leaving the states the sermon was from Mark 14:3-9. This story and Mary's life really stuck with me and I find myself going back to it over and over in these first months here. This is the Mary that sat at Jesus' feet. I can totally picture it. The men in the front room. Pots and pans on the stove. The kitchen hot and full of food to prepare, a sink overflowing with dishes that need to be washed. Martha busy thinking ahead, trying to figure out, if there is enough water from the well, where all of these guys are going to sleep tonight, so much to do. But all of that can wait- Mary sits at her Lord's feet. She did the one thing that was needed says Jesus. (Luke 10:38-42) This is the Mary that knew Jesus well, from the time she sat at his feet, knowing what was important. So later when we read about her, that Jesus is pleased with her, should we be surprised? Again I can picture it. The men are all sitting around talking at the end of a long day. They are having diner and Mary walks in. She goes over to Jesus who is eating and slowly they all get quiet to watch her. She breaks what is most likely her most valuable possession. And she does this extravagant thing. She anoints him with oil. And suddenly that room full of men is disparaging her gift. Disproving. They were seeing a bad decision and not afraid to tell her. But she has eyes only for her Lord. She had spent time at His feet so she knew. Better than even Jesus' disciples she knew this was appropriate. They didn't REALLY hear Jesus and didn't seem to know what was coming. But she did. And she did what she could. She doesn't care what she is giving up. She pours it all out. Two drops would have been nice. But she gave it all. And Jesus defends her. She doesn't try to defend herself. He calls her act a beautiful thing!
I need to be more like Mary. I need to know my Lord by sitting at his feet. Not talking. Not telling him my needs, not even interceding for others. Just listening. So that I can know what He is about. But that means that I need to put away all of the things that need to be done. To not be busy with the doing but to just sit in His presence. Easier said than done. And I want to know Him so well that when it seems unreasonable, it is then that I can give a gift that pleases my Lord. I want to be able to pour it all out. To not just give two drops. When other express disapproval, I want to have eyes only for my Lord. To not worry about defending myself but know He defends me. But I must know Him well for this. So it comes back to sitting at His feet.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Filed under "found on a bike"

So I haven't had very many light posts lately. I'm about to fix that (We had a baby shower this morning for Angie and Zulea- their new adopted daughter, so I'm feeling better after a pretty heavy week.)
The following pictures are from my "found on a bike file"
If only these men could figure out a way to ride their bikes also...

That's a lawn mower...

He was riding like this was REALLY heavy... (and side note- this is the street to my house.)

Dried fish... lunch possibly?
Thats all for now but I continue to see crazy stuff on bikes all the time so I'm sure there will be more in the future.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Abraham's burial

Yesterday early morning I got a call from Amecet (the baby shelter). The parents of Lazaro and Abraham brought Abraham (11 month old with hydrocephalus due to osteogenesis imperfecta- see 4/14 and 4/16 ) because he had seizures in the night. They were asking for Amecet to give them medicine to make him better. They called me because I've been visiting them often. When I arrived there his breathing was very irregular and he was pretty much unresponsive. We had the very hard conversation that there is nothing that can be done and the best thing was to take him home and hold him and let him know he is loved. I went to visit them in the village in the early afternoon with Angelina and found that he had already died. Today was the burial. Here are a few pictures I took with his family's permission.
The girl in the green dress is Lazaro's older sister. She is 14 and also affected by the disease but is very high functioning. She is unable to stand/walk but attends school and works as hard as the rest of the family. She seemed hardest hit by his death. She was inconsolable when they laid him in the ground. Please be praying for her and her mother and the rest of the family that when I go back next week that they would be receptive to hearing that there is hope. That they can see him again in heaven in his perfect body. That Jesus Christ died so that death is not the final end and life doesn't just suck and then you die. (which is a commonly held belief here.) 
The men sit seperately from the women. The whole community attends because, as it was explained to me “today it is another but tomorrow it will be you.” There is a lot of work that goes into a burial. The bush needs to be cleared from large patches of shade. A coffin needs to be made. Chairs and benches gathered from other homes. A deep hole dug. The work is shared. Everyone brings food or water or firewood and at the end of the day they all eat together.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Paging Dr. Idon'tevenrecognizeaseizure

I would like to simply say that I learned a lot today and wasn't quite as frustrated as I anticipated being and leave it at that tonight. But saying only that doesn't seem fair to those of you who were praying for me so here is a play by play of the day if you want to read on.

I picked up the kids and their moms and was on the road to Mbale by 9:45. A good start as it seems to always take Ugandan families a little while to get in the car when I try to pick them up. We made good time and were to the neuro hospital by 11:00. There are no such things as appointments here so we waited. When we were called Joshua and his mother went first. I'm still trying to learn/understand this but questions and answers seem very circular here and never direct. I had to hold my tongue the whole “triage” instead of jumping in and cutting straight to the issue. Jessica (Joshua's mother) said that we were here because “he has stiffness in his joints”. In my head I'm thinking “What?! Is that really what you think your child's primary problem is?!” The registration clerk/triage person (not a nurse) asks “how long has that been a problem?” and continues along the stiff joint topic for a significant period of time. Now let me describe to you what we are all looking at. This is a 4 year old child who weighs barely 15 pounds. (7.1 kilos to be exact) His head is misshapen, he has severe scoliosis so can't sit up, is blind, has frequent seizures, can't speak, can't grip and is drooling constantly. Finally, I can't do it any longer and I interrupt and explain something to the effect “that the child was seen here in 2007 and the parents were told to come back for a CT scan to determine possible treatments. They didn't return because the drive was too long and the couldn't afford the trip or the diagnostic tests and were then sure that they couldn't afford any treatment on top of the other expenses. I've brought him back today, 3 years later, to re-evaluate and help them understand their options, and possibly help them pay for treatment that will improve the child's quality of life.” After my brief soliloquy I received a blank look from the registration person. After a strangely long pause where I had time to mentally review nearly everything I said to figure out where I went wrong she just pointed us back outside to the benches on the porch that serve as a waiting area. Ummmm.... After a thankfully short wait we returned to the office where we discover that the man who was sitting quietly behind us during the whole registration was the physician. As he starts to ask more questions I again vow to keep my mouth shut and let Jessica answer. He started with questions that I feel I answered minutes ago but think he possibly wants to hear it from the pt's mother. Then, having never even touched the child he tells her that Joshua has cerebral palsy and does she know what that is? and that this is how he is going to be for the rest of his life. Jessica seems to be getting smaller in her chair as he speaks so again I can't help it and interrupt. I start out trying to remain pleasant and ask him about the things that were suggested years ago like the CT and possible treatments. He says the CT is useless as it won't change the treatment plan (in my head “what treatment plan?!”) and there is nothing else. So, me getting increasingly frustrated as it seems like he just wants us to go (and he doesn't even know yet that I'm here with a second child and mother!). Still trying to remain pleasant I say that I really feel like even partial seizure control could help the child and possibly allow his poor brain to develop. He says something to the effect that he didn't realize seizures were a problem and maybe drug therapy was a possibility. I would like to mention that Joshua has a focal seizure about every ten minutes and many bigger ones throughout the day. During the course of the conversation with the doctor he had one where his little head cranked hard to his left, his breathing became ragged, his arms went rigid and only the whites of his eyes showed. I don't know how long it lasted but I can't believe the doctor really didn't notice! He explained that they only take care of neuro-SURGICAL patients, wrote me a referral to the CP clinic in Kumi, encouraged me to try phenobarbital and that was the end of it. We went back to the waiting area.
Victorina is the second child that I brought- a 2 year old girl who is lethargic, doesn't stand, walk or crawl or attempt to communicate. Last week I brought her to a pediatrician in Soroti who after a malaria test, urine dip and a check for worms in her stool had given me a referral letter to this neuro hospital because he said her head was big (wrote in the letter “possible hydrocephalus”). I realize in hindsight I should have listened to my instincts that this really wasn't neurological but he is an experienced doctor and I just figured he saw something I didn't. Anyway, while I was with Joshua the registration person had gotten them started so I had the pleasure of skipping that step. I wonder just a little about the conversation but suspect it would have just added to my headache. The registration person came out to the waiting area and told me that she had measured Victorina's head, it wasn't abnormal so we could go. Wait, what?! Deep breath. Pleasant voice. “She has a referral letter from Soroti that she should be seen here. I'm willing to pay the consultation fee. Can she see the physician while we are here anyway?” Even though I'm thinking Dr. Idon'tevenrecognizeaseizure is as helpful as as a box of rocks he is at least another opinion. So back into the office we go. Malnutrition. Final diagnosis. Ummmm.... pleasant voice. “I've seen her siblings, none of them look malnourished or have trouble with developmental milestones. The pediatrician didn't mention malnutrition. If this isn't neurological what do you recommend I do?” Now, here is the only place I'll give him any credit. He turned back to the pt's mother and asked how many other children she had. Only 3 others (this I knew already). Then he asked about other wives that her husband had. She replied one other. And how many children does that wife have? 5. Where in the order of children does this one fall? She is the youngest. The youngest in a house of 12 people. Yeah, it is clearly possible malnutrition just leading to developmental delay. He suggested getting a new pediatrician.

So we loaded back up in the car. On the way through Mbale we bought some bottles of drinking water and some bananas for a very late lunch. And drove home.

The one redeeming part of the day is that impulsively I stopped at Kumi to learn about the CP clinic that Joshua was referred to. It was getting late and I didn't know where it was but for some reason I turned anyway. We found Kumi hospital easily even though it is more than 8km from the main road and even found the specific clinic without trouble. There was one very helpful social worker left there and he answered many of my questions. The clinic has a physiotherapist who sees kids every Tuesday morning and several other staff who help families with activities of daily living. They are taking new clients and the price seems reasonable. I think next week I'll be taking a few others with me in addition to Joshua.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Attention Dad, Benj and Nick

Only pictures tonight because I'm running out of energy fast. This first one I took because it made me laugh. As I was packing up the car the day we headed back from Kampala this was the pile of stuff that I took OUT in order to repack. Seems ironic.

This next set of pictures are for my family as I've asked them to redesign the chairs that we make for these little guys. There are a number of features that I would like that the carpenter here can't quite seem to grasp. He smiles and nods when I talk about things I would like him to add or change and when I go to pick up the chair it is identical to the rest.  So new strategy. Diagrams from people far more talented than I in the spacial/logical department.  

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Oh, time to post again. Life is clearly getting busier because it is harder to post at the end of the day. Also things must be getting more routine because I was saying to myself- "what new and exciting things to I have to post about?" and wasn't able to come up with anything..... my mind is very scattered tonight but here is what is going around and around...
  • I discovered we have a LARGE monitor lizard living in our yard. I'm glad we saw him before we got chickens because I would have been frustrated if we had bought them only to have them start disappearing. I guess we should figure out a way to get him to live somewhere else.
  • We managed to finish our outdoor volleyball court. Had the pipes purchased, measured, welded and cemented in for poles. We've laid out the court and have the ball ready to go. We are planning on playing the first game on it tomorrow for our team's 4th of July celebration.
  • I went out to see Lazaro and Abraham again yesterday and only get more discouraged every time. I think their mother just doesn't care anymore. Or she feels so helpless it is easier not to care. We arrived around noon and she had not feed Abraham yet that day. With some "encouragement" from Angela (on of the handicapped advocates I went with that day) the mother made some porridge and fed him. And we also found a bug burrowing into the skin on his foot that needed to be dug out- another clear sign of neglect. 
  • I brought one of the Gweri kids to the clinic because I just couldn't figure out why this 2 year old girl was so lethargic and has never learned to walk. The doctor's only real suggestion (besides malnutrition- duh, and malaria- give me a break, more on this topic in the future) was a referral to take the child to the neuro hospital in Mbale. So now the middle of next week will include a trip to that hospital. And if I'm driving all the way I'm not going with only one so I went back to the home of a 4 year old that I met that has seizures constantly. His family is interested in having him seen there also. But to be honest I'm not holding out a lot of hope for this trip and I really pray that it isn't just a waste of time and resources.
  • I've been visiting at least once a week, sometimes more, with Anna Grace. She has end stage AIDs. I've been providing commfort (it is amazing how far meds go when a person has never had ANY pain medicine in their life before). Her strength seemed to come and go and she has had trouble with pain and not being able to sleep but that seemed to be getting a little better. Until today. She has developed an upper GI bleed and was too weak to sit up. I suspect she is close to the end but the family has asked me to help get her into the hospital. To get her out of the village and into town she has to ride on the back of a bike several kilometers to a main road and then on the back of a motorcycle the rest of the way. She is far too weak for that. So they asked if I will come back monday and pick her up. I'm sure they also need help paying. The way the system works here is you pay a little at triage. Then, after the doctor sees you and writes his prescriptions your family or whoever came with you to the hospital has to go to the pharmacy for what you need. This includes IV fluids, needles, tubing, any medications, drinking water, tubes for labs if he has ordered them- any supplies needed to care for the patient. But back to Anna Grace. Between the TB that I'm sure she has, the GI bleed (from stomach cancer?) and the HIV where can you even begin?! Just getting her into my car and bumping up the foot path to the road may do her in. Of course I told them that I can pick her up but I feel like it is against my better judgment. The sub par care at the hospital will just put her through so much pain for what purpose?! She will never get back to her home.
Well, so for not having anything to write about I managed to ramble on for a while. This coming week is sure to be full of challenges. Please keep praying for me!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Just like kid's camp

Painting                                                        Bobby telling the story of Joseph with a translator
Today was just like Kid's camp- well, sort of. Many of my friends and family have just gotten back from CHR this year and as they have been telling me about it I realized how much I missed it. It would have been my 17th year (I think- give or take a year). Several times today I thought about how what we were doing was so much like camp. Games, crafts, a bible story, and my favorite- skit bags! Everyone was having fun and even though the culture is different kids are still kids. Right?
Practicing their skit                                                             Playing "human knot"
But several times today I was reminded that this place is different. The kids we were with today have lost their innocence. They have all been abducted by rebels and forced to do things that no child should be a part of. Many have been forced to kill. They were taken from their homes, forced to march miles and miles, some were part of satanic rituals (that supposedly give them protection or power) and others physically tortured. So catching a glimpse of a limp or a scar or just a fraction of a second of pain in their eyes that isn't hidden as well as usual, reminded me that this isn't just a day at camp.
We picked the story of Joseph to share because Joseph was a slave like many of these kids. He was mistreated, falsely accused and had every reason to lose hope, just like many of these kids. He could have hated those who caused his pain, yet he chose to forgive. And Joseph could see that God was able to use all of his hardship and pain for a much greater purpose. And that is the message we wanted these kids to hear. God has a purpose for their lives. They have reason to have joy and hope and can continue to love life. So today we played games and had fun. We didn't tie dye t-shirts (maybe next time) or go tubing on the river (we practically did that as leaders on the way there) but the point was the same. We took a group of kids and tried to communicate that GOD LOVES YOU! Isn't that what camp is all about?

These were the roads to get there and that is all the "river" I wanted this year!

Feeding the group- not quite walking tacos or burgers on the grill.