Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mango Accidents kill one, injure seven in Soroti.

I just have to share this Ugandan newspaper article.  First because it has a picture of the inside of Soroti Hospital and second because it so succinctly summarizes what i'm usually griping about in regards to medicine here. Besides it is a great piece of well written news. (Fair bit of sarcasm in there in case you didn't get it.)
Pretty sure that pancreatic rupture was actually a splenic rupture. As much as I would like to write that it was probably the writer that confused it I would not be surprised at all to learn it was the doctor that confused them which would explained why the patient died so quickly. I also find it interesting that the entire first two paragraphs are about this poor kid's "life threatening" urethral injury. And that closing paragraph is like icing on the cake. If you parents would pack your kids a lunch they would stop falling out of trees! O.K.- I'm done. I'm sure I have better things to do.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Just more pictures

Made it back to Soroti without trouble thought it was a LOOONG day of driving on some really rough "roads". Still don't have an pictures of the road, being the driver and all I had a few other responsibilities besides taking pictures. But here are a few others:
Joseph is blind but pretty inspiring how well he does here. 
Naakale outside the clinic

These boys are swimming in the waterhole swamp but they've dug it out a bit so they are in about up to their hips. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Just a few things

Today was a nice restful day (I'm still in Nakaale) so I really have no excuse for not having a legitimate post except that I just really just don't feel like it. So you get a few pictures and some hope that the next one will be more entertaining.
A snake was found chilling in the trees on the compound this morning and after killing him it was determined that he was most likely poisonous. Glad they waited until he was dead to determine this.
You'll notice his head has been practically completely smashed off. He was stoned to death with thrown rocks then beaten to death again from slightly closer with sticks. You can't be too sure with these things. 
Spiders here seem to be bigger than the average but I think it is because they have more mosquitoes  to eat than anywhere else in the world. 
It really is a coke but it needs a translator.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Direct quote: "Just kill them all. Kill them dead."

Here is a bible story the Karamojung in Namalu are wrestling with this week and their real life application:  They read about David, in the time of his life where he was hiding from Saul. He was being forced to hide and live in caves far from home even though he had done nothing wrong. He was being persecuted and harassed but he was guiltless. As a matter of fact he really deserved better. Then, for the second time, he had an opportunity to kill his enemy, Saul (story can be found in 1 Samuel 26). He had sneaked into Saul’s camp at night and had found him soundly asleep. David’s friends where there with him and all were encouraging him to just kill Saul and be done with it. Twice, God had put David in a position to kill Saul. But he didn’t. He knew that isn’t what God wanted from him. So back to the K-jung. They seem to be continually at war with their enemies. They were challenged with the question “If you come up to a camp of your enemies who were harassing you and had just the night before attacked your home and you found them sleeping, what would you do? They all agreed they would kill them without hesitation. But they are being challenged to think differently and to go against their culture and consider not killing their enemies. David knew that God would be the one to justify him and balance the scale, so to speak. Can you pray with me that the K-jung will also learn how God is our defense and will right all wrongs? Pray that they are able to let go of the belief that they have to be justified and they will be able to forgive and not always be seeking revenge? They think this is a very strange thing, this forgiveness thing, and especially coming from the “white foreigner” it can be easily rejected. But may they know it is biblical and godly. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Roughing it" again


I’m in Karamoja this week, but in an area further east (nearer to Kenya) than usual and actually it isn't rough at all.  Here I can drink the water from the tap, I have lunch provided every day, a nice shower, bed that isn't on the ground.  I really feel like I'm on vacation.  The roads were more challenging than anything I've encountered yet but we happily arrived without getting stuck and I plan to be here for a bit, hanging out with Leah and the OPC missionaries, learning language, catching up on stuff and just enjoying a quick break from Soroti. I wish I had taken pictures of the road but I was more than a little bit focused on driving- maybe on  my way back down country I’ll get some. Here are just a few others:
With all this rain come the season of planting! Everyone is digging.

Walking from Leah's house to the clinic. 

Mud, mud, everywhere.
Near Soroti the swamp waters are rising! And you can see that storm blowing in. More rain is coming!
Is your morning commute anything like this?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Schools in Karamoja

*wrote this post a few weeks back but guess I never got around to attaching pictures and publishing. 
One of the community development ministries CLIDE has is student sponsorship of k-jung students in Napak district. They have identified children with potential and gotten them in school so they can be instrumental in the future of Karamoja. They are high needs children, who are invited to retreats, encouraged academically, and given opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have. To do this CLIDE also has to encourage schools in the district because most of these schools are struggling too. They plant a Bible Club in each school and offer free training for teachers who are interested. So the “Timothy Students” as the sponsored ones are called, have a club in their school and any student is welcome. We were visting the schools and I know the education system is struggling all over [some sort of boarding available as they are so far apart that it is unreasonable to expect children to walk, even children who can do 6 or more kilometers in a day. But I learned that most of the time this means that the desks are pushed aside in the evenings and the students spread their blankets out on the cement floor of their classrooms. There are literally hundreds of students per teacher and as Ann put it “a lack of scholastic materials”, though I would have said a complete absence of books, papers, pens, or anything. Well, not everything. They do have chalk. And chalk boards. A student will copy the board for hours a day, essentially writing his own text to study in the evening. And teachers…. That is a major issue too. Most trained teachers refuse to work in Karamoja. So the ones they have are as bad as they get. The first school we stopped at the Headmaster was present but fall-over-drunk. There were 700 students and 3 teachers plus him, but he was passed out by the time we left so I’m not sure I can count him. At one school there were 10 teachers so I was pretty impressed until I learned that there were 1,200 students. Any teachers out there want 120 students in their class? 
A little crowded. 
So this secondary school teacher meets her class outside so there is room for everyone. 
And as I mentioned most kids board. 3 of the 10 schools we stopped at offer porridge once a day. That’s all. World Food Program (WFP) provides enough protein cereal to make one hot meal for kids in Karamoja. And that is all the food there is right now. And for the physical structure? For some schools there are no words. I’ve been out here in Karamoja for two years now and I’m still struck speechless as I learn more. 
There are kids in this classroom but it is too dark in there to see them.
A class also in this one. 
Thankfully, no kids in the one with the wall falling down. 

Friday, May 4, 2012


Our team here has been talking and praying much about this issue. We know that it seems to take no time at all to change from a relationship that involves some simple generosity on our part to avaricious dependency on their part. It humbles me to share this example but it was part of my education and I feel I need to. When I first heard of the predicament of the twins (several posts 1, 2, and 3) I rushed right in and provided formula, thinking that it was the best solution. I’ve since learned that it was the quickest and easiest solution but probably not the best one. The right thing to do when confronted with a need is to try to see to the root of the problem and address that for lasting, biblical change. In this instance I could have better looked at the issue of why this family didn’t purchase cow’s milk for their babies. However, it is easier, and makes me feel good, when they NEED me to be the one to just give them milk. But have I really helped the problem?  Instead I’ve come to believe that I’ve actually made it worse. They are now dependent on me.  They feel they needed me to swoop in and “save” them.  I reinforced that they couldn’t help themselves. The father of the twins is an alcoholic, which is one of their root problems, but he drinks to dull the hopeless/helpless feelings. Which I’ve just made worse. It seems to also wreck their faith in God because now they look to me to provide instead of God. And lastly it destroys their relationship with me because, initially they are thankful. But over time they expect more of me. I can’t provide all that they think I should. And I’m human, I occasionally fail. They become mad at me that I didn’t provide. All over a few cans of formula.
So how do we build relationships, make a difference, share the gospel, all without creating dependency? We have to deal with the root problems.  Which, let me tell you, is a lot harder than just giving things away. You have to really confront the much bigger issues. It is a lot dirtier, takes a lot more time and yet it is what will actually bring change. In the case of the twins, they are now old enough that they don’t need milk. Yet, their father is still an alcoholic, their mother still doesn’t have enough to make ends meet, their church is still just a place they go on Sunday and isn’t officering any hope.
And of course it isn’t just formula. It seems to be everything. Giving free medicine and medical care? Not actually addressing the bigger problems. Giving street kids food when they come begging? Not meeting the deeper needs. School fees? Why can’t their parents pay? What is the real problem?
So will you pray for us? As a team that we will continue to learn together and challenge each other to be faithful to what God has called us to do. That we can remain generous with all that we have been blessed with but not in ways that cause more harm. With the people we work with who really don’t understand why we won’t just give clothes, food, school fees, etc… With supporters who want to make a difference and donate “stuff” and have a hard time understanding the new things we are learning. We all need wisdom and guidance!