Friday, August 31, 2012


My primary focus when in Kangole at this point is language learning. So several times I’ve just headed into the town center to practice what I’ve learned. This week I went to the home of one of the CLIDE evangelists and just sat with his wife. She is a lovely woman doesn’t speak any English. (Which is best for learning right?) I knew that she makes skirts but just learned that she also makes beaded necklaces and stuff. I was trying to talk with the ladies sitting around the porch but I was getting less than 1/16 of the conversation (and that was the part that they were attempting to translate for me!). So with the other 15/16ths I was just sitting trying to make agreeable sounds at the right time and one thing led to another and next thing I knew I was dressed like this.
There are like 10 pounds of beads around my hips and another 2 pounds on my neck. Then the ones tied around my arms and head are cutting off the circulation. But by K-jung standards I'm finally headed in the right direction. The skirt is my own, made of two wool blankets but it is the K-jung favorite.
I don't know how my language learning is coming but I'm getting more fashionable by the day.


 I hope these roads entertain you as much as they do me because this post is all about them again. I’m just back from Kangole yesterday. Still can’t get out to the peace village because of impassable roads. And I found the main one into Karamoja almost impassable this time. But somehow I made it through.
These guys were all digging to get this truck out. I slipped way too far over  trying to get around him but managed to pass somehow. I had never encountered mud like this. It has all the bad characteristics of tar while acting like grease. 
I'm thankful that this one was dry this time because that stick is marking a 3 foot drop off the side. The culvert is several feet deep but has been filled with rocks. As long as you can stay in the center you're fine. But you can see the trenches on the right the big trucks made as they tried to pass around because it is too narrow for them. 
This picture can't even begin to explain this pothole. Literally the whole truck drops down into that hole. I needed the 4wd low to climb back out and wasn't confidant the whole time that we were going to make it.  
This 16 wheeler was stuck so the road grader was pulling him out. We had to wait until he cleared out first.
As if the mud wasn't enough. It took nearly 10 minutes for this whole herd to clear  the swamp so we could get through. 

Bad picture but there are 4 trucks stuck here. We spent nearly two hours waiting for one to get out so we could get around. 
Last picture from this road trip:
I don't particularly like this one because it testifies that the water I was passing through was WAY too deep.  But by the time the water was hitting the windshield like this it was too late to turn around. So what did Kodet do? He got out my camera and documented it for me. somehow God protects me from my stupidity. Before next rainy season I will be getting a snorkel for the air filter on my truck. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I have a feeling that some of you read my post last Sunday (about teaching the kids) and you know me well enough that you stepped up your prayers. You know about my aptitude with kids and my affinity for teaching and felt that much intercession was needed. And I agree! Today, I felt those prayers. I was intending to do some tutoring with Emmanuel and Joyce but when I went to pick them up found 7 kids waiting for me. For some strange reason I agreed to take the additional 5 and took them all over to my house after verbally confirming with them that this wasn't going to be play time but time to do some school work. The time went really well and I think the kids enjoyed it! They had to do some writing assignments on prefixes and suffixes or opposites (depending on their age) then work in two groups to write a short story using the words from the lessons. Considering they range from second grade to fifth grade somehow the lessons catered to all of them. It was actually fun. Here are the boys writing their story.

And the girls reviewing the words they just learned.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


We (Beckie and I) have had some friends, Mike, Dede and their daughters Cassie and Grace, visiting for the past four days and though it has been quite busy it has been wonderful and refreshing to have them with us. We’ve been visiting some of our ministry locations and introducing them to many of our friends.
They even spoke out in one of the villages Beckie lives/works in: Dede to the ladies under the shade of a tree and Mike to the men in Beckie's garage.
Playing with a toy they brought
Look at those smiles.
Too much fun.
Cassie, Grace and I 
Bec and Grace headed out to the village. 
Dede and some new friends

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Turns out I'm also a mechanic

I have a funny story from yesterday what I want to share. Those of you who have never been to Uganda may have a harder time picturing it but I’m going to try. The back ground is this. For the past few days I’ve haven’t been able to start my truck in the morning. The mechanic has been working on it and dropped it back off to me Monday night but Tuesday morning it wouldn’t start again. Beckie and I needed to pick up some visitors in Jinja (a rough 4 hour drive away) and it didn’t seem like a good thing to have the truck not starting. It took some time but is finally determined (thanks Dad!!!)  that BOTH of the batteries were bad. So I got it running with a jump from team mates (Thanks Jim and Collin!!) and headed into to town with Steve and Tanya’s oldest boy (to sit in the truck while I leave it running until I find the shop that has the batteries that I needed) and we finally managed to find someone who had. So I turned the truck off in front of the shop and ordered two batteries. Here they have to add acid to the dry cells after you buy them and you have to wait while they outgas or whatever before you can use it. The guys asked me if I wanted them to call a mechanic to install. I said sure. But Bec and I needed to get on the road. So while I waited for the mechanic and the new batteries I started to disconnect the old ones. Still no mechanic. So I unattached them from their cradles and completely removed them. Still no mechanic. But the batteries were ready. So started to install the new ones. Now here is what you need to picture. I’m a white woman (in case you didn’t know) and women here, especially white ones, don’t do mechanical work. Ever.  I was right on one of the main streets of town, middle of the day. Wrenches, pliers, greasy hands, whole nine yards.  Lets just say I had a few people stop to tell me what to do, offer help, ask me what I’m doing, tell me they know someone who can do it, etc… But I ended up just needing to ignore most of them and telling the rest of them to leave me alone. The mechanic arrived shortly after I learned that battery #2’s poles were opposite the way the original battery was (positive on the right and negative on the left) so the positive attachment was a bit short so while he ran for bolts to attach the extension I wrapped the wires he brought in electrical tape and we eventually got it attached. And now it starts every time I turn the key! Amazing. But it turns out that my alternator may be bad and I may be looking at replacing it. I really hope not and I need a mechanic to confirm but I’m having trouble connecting with said mechanic. And I think I may chance it and see how long I can push it before I get stuck somewhere that I can’t get a jump and get really mad at myself for not fixing it before I got in trouble.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sunday School kids

All squeezed in my little living room. 
Back row: Emmanuel, Vicky, Ivan, Janet and Ken
Middle: Opio, Shelia, Joyce and Ivan
Front: Benjamin and Daniel
This week I brought the kids home with me after church and did a brief "sunday school". These are the kids that come with me to church almost every week and Beckie's mom has given them all nice new clothes so it was a good time to take pictures. I'd given them a talk about how I like their faces so much better when they were smiling (most Ugandans want to frown or look very serious in pictures) so in response I got these great faces. Thanks kids.

Marybeth- these pictures are for you. I tried to get them to group together with their siblings but they thought they looked better grouped based on clothes that looked similar. So in no particular order-
Emmanuel, Ken and Ivan
Ivan, Daniel and Opio
Shelia and Janet
Funny story about these two- when I picked them up for church Sheila had the pink shirt and blue skirt and Janet had the blue shirt and pink skirt.They said it was prettier that way. By the time they were at my house they had traded back. I didn't ask why. 
Joyce and Vicky
(Joyce is actually wearing the dress that the RRC team brought.) 
(Also wearing clothes the RRC team brought)

Friday, August 10, 2012

My parents are coming!!

In 7 weeks my parents are coming to visit! If you can't tell I'm a bit excited. Due to the whole ongoing visa fiasco it looked for a bit like they were going to have to cancel but we've decided to move forward. I will expire right in the middle of their stay here which really stinks but I'm going to work really hard to renew again just before they arrive so that I should be all set until January. Will you be praying for that?
I've been really glad to hear you all have been having a drought and heat wave which will really help them be more prepared when they arrive at the start of the dry season. (As a matter of fact, it is possible that it was hotter and drier there the last few weeks than it will be when they are here!) There are a few other things they should do to prepare to come- like stand in one place and clap for a few hours to get used to it. (Have you ever clapped for more than an hour? It really is rather difficult!) They should drink all of their soda warm to get used to having a lot of warm coke here. Or they could drink hot tea at all hours of the day- especially 2 pm, the hottest part of the day when an iced beverage would be really nice but is never going to happen.  They could start referring to each other as foreigner as is the primary thing they will be called while here. My dad could do his work in the maintenance barn with only 4 tools and none of the right parts to begin thinking outside of the box for the work I'm going to need him to do. Mom could begin working with ear plugs in to get ready to not understand most of the patients that we'll be encountering.
Don't worry guys! It will be fun!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I’ve been studying a bit of C.S.Lewis’ stuff and a few things he wrote have stuck in my mind. Most of what follows here I have to give him credit for. I’ve just been processing and here are my thoughts:
Time. It is a funny thing. In the States "Time is money" and we HATE having our time wasted. That isn't the mind set here at all. Here people feel "There is always more time" and they don't mind wasting theirs, or mine.  I've gotten a bit better in my attitude with time. Or at least I thought I had until I was reminded of some truths. I noticed how irritated and resentful I got when time that I though was going to be free was interrupted by something (or more accurately someone!).  Like the other morning when I had just settled down with a wonderful cup of hot tea and finally had internet for just a few minutes of facebook and someone showed up at my gate who I knew was going to be here for more than an hour. Or when I was really looking forward to a quiet evening at home and the afternoon was dragging on and my part in it was clearly going to go well into the night because it was so disorganized and so much time was being wasted.  At the root of it, I felt that time that was my own, was being stolen from me. Without actually realizing it I felt that I was the lawful possessor of 24 hours- like my birthright.  I was even subtly thinking of how good it was of me that I was giving so much of my time to God. Whoa! Who's time?! I can not make or retain a single second of the day. Every moment of time is given to me as a gift. If God were here in bodily form and demanded a day of service with Him, from me, I would be exceeding grateful but possibly even disappointed if he gave 30 minutes back and said now you may go amuse yourself. And if he were here in bodily form and asked for nothing more difficult than an hour of my service to be sitting and talking with young woman who came to my gate or a few hours in the afternoon to be waiting patiently for kids to be released from their program so I could give them the treatment they needed, wouldn't I be ecstatic?  But isn't that what is happening all the time? He is inviting me to join him in his work then putting people in my path all day long. And I have the nerve to be upset? How selfish of me. I need to daily re-surrender the time he has given me now that he has gently encouraged me to rethink my sense of ownership over it. How about you?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I love the Olympics! What is it about them? The once in a life time, history making moments? Individuals who have worked so hard to be the best in the world at what they can do but yet are still like us? The inspiration, the competition, the challenges, the amazing feats? So many nations, cultures, peoples together? Ummm, I could go on like this for a while so let me interrupt myself. The point of this blog is that I was trying to share my love with Betty and Abella and was challenged a bit myself. It is a hard to watch the Olympics here. The internet is often too slow or expensive to stream anything and there are not a whole lot of TVs in Soroti and the necessary cable channels are even more difficult to come by.  But the day I discovered that Betty and Abella had no idea what the Olympics were  I decided to try to overcome these nearly insurmountable odds.  We drove around town looking for a restaurant that had a television, power, cable channels and were tuned into an Olympic sport other than football (soccer).  It took us more than 30 minutes but we did finally accomplish that goal. Only to discover speed walking. And track cycling.  "Why don't they just run?" "Well, Abella, the point is to be the fastest walker." "But running is faster." "True." And Betty: "Why are they just riding in circles?" I began to doubt if this was actually a good idea. But after a few more clips of other sports they seemed to get it. And when Track and Field came on, this is a sport they understand!, they really got into the competition.  They were silent while watching the women on the trampoline and couldn't stop talking about the man who ran with no feet. They are still asking me questions about women weight lifters and want to try table tennis for themselves. They were astounded at the swimming (they are like fish!) and can't believe the high dive.   I would love to have them see more. I think they would be fascinated with men's and women's gymnastics, the triathlon, and  pole vault. There are so few things that they know and have experienced in this little corner of Uganda. But at least now it is just a little bit more.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

In which I can't even remember every thing I did

It was one of those days where so much was crammed into it that you get to the end of the day and something reminds you of one of the things you did much earlier and you find yourself asking if that was really the same day? You know what I’m talking about? That was Monday for me.
I started to write this day in narrative but it will take me whole other day to do that so here was my schedule:
6:30 Run with Ronnie
7:30 Shower, breakfast, pack med bag and supplies for clinic.
7:50 Call from CLIDE staff “could I please bring by a few medications for them?” They are doing their big Timothy Retreat this week where all of their sponsored children from all over Karamoja come down to Soroti for a week that resembles camp. I had already treated several of the kids the day before for various aliments but I know that most of these kids are from the poorest families in Uganda and never receive medical treatment (or even enough food but that is for a different post) so have everything from chronic cough (TB?) and malaria to tropical ulcers and parasites of every  make and model.
7:55 Pack another bag of meds and supplies.
8:00 Pick up Betty and Abella who are on school holiday this month and wanted to come with me out to the clinic. As they both do really well translating for me I agreed to let them come.
8:10 Arrive at the school where the 400+ students are staying. I found the director and gave him the meds and he asked me to please see one or two.
8:45 After three positive and one negative malaria tests, two nasty  wound dressings, and one with what I suspect is TB I was getting panicked that the patients out in Obule would be piling up so begged to come back after clinic and see anyone else who needs treatment.
9:20 Arrive in Obule to find 6 prenatals waiting and 5 others.
10:00 20 minutes of pregnancy teaching and answering questions. I’ve managed to do only 3 of the prenatals before the teaching because all three were prima gravida .  But 3 more have arrived so I taught everyone and let the finished ones go home. I’ve also begun sharing the basic gospel presentation with the 5 minutes at the end. Up to this point I’ve gotten very little response but at least they know where I stand and that they can ask questions if they want.
10:30 Lucy (the actual nurse) took over antenatal clinic.   I took a few minutes to go visit a girl who was a patient back in Feb. (Remember the Uvulaectomy?) I had heard she was pregnant so really wanted find out the whole story as she is only 14 years old.  Turns out she is 6 or 7 months along but I didn’t get to see her as she was sent to live with her “husband” (which is just how they refer to the man who knocked her up. They are in no way married.) But she was sent almost a day’s travel away. I know she was going to school here in Obule so I was trying to ask how this man made her pregnant from so far away. I got some very confusing answers about how she is accusing a man from here of impregnating her (which makes a lot more sense!) but he is old and already married.  I’m still  very confused (and saddened) that she was sent away and have no idea how to get the real story. But on a more positive note the other pregnant girl I’ve been writing about- Esther- found me as I was headed back to the clinic. She wanted to give me 10 pounds of corn and 5 pounds of millet to say thank you for helping her.  She said she was feeling really good, feeling the baby move, taking her medicine and then promised to come next antenatal day.
11:00 Back at the clinic and began with all the other patients- of which there were many more now.
Sometime early afternoon a two year old with a 3rd degree burn on his chest and left arm arrived. It had just happened and it was possibly one of the worst burns I’d ever seen. He had pulled a pot of thick hot portage onto himself.  I debated starting a line but I knew the mother would be taking him home and when she was trying to comfort him she kept putting him to her breast. It isn’t very common to let a baby that old still nurse but mostly because most mothers already have another baby. It was translated for me that this mother had still born a few months back and had gone back to breast feeding the toddler. I encouraged her to drink a lot of water and let him nurse often and we could possibly avoid putting in a line. She agreed. I also started abx right away. I don’t know what the correct protocol is but here it seems the risk for infection is just too great to not give.
Then just a little bit later a 70+ old man came in with scrapes and abrasions all over but worse, what I’m pretty sure was a broken clavicle. He was surprisingly calm when I recommended he stop riding his bike.  He also said the sling really helped his pain which I’m happy about but I still sent him home with some Tylenol.
3:00 Finally wrapping up in the clinic. Had sent Betty and Abella to the home of one of the girls that they go to church with while we were out visiting and it was obvious that I was going to be at the clinic quite a while longer. When I stopped by to pick them up they said they and their friend “had made lunch couldn’t we please stay a bit longer?” Feeling like I was making the wrong decision but also feeling like no was the wrong answer I agreed. The good news was the meat was already killed and cleaned and even cooking. The atap was not yet mingled though. But they worked pretty fast.
3:45 Lunch was served. We ate, loaded back in the truck and headed back to Soroti. I dropped off the girls at their home and headed over to the school where the CLIDE kids are staying.
4:15. Find my truck surrounded by kids in a matter of minutes after arriving. Throw down the tailgate which is about table height and begin doing assessments.
6:45 I can’t even really think clearly anymore. I’m sure I have treated more people in this one day than any other day up to this point. Somehow, I still have the meds I need in the back of my truck and I just keep treating kids. At the end of the day I counted 52 administered malaria tests, of which 40 were positive. I also have one very full sharps box. But I haven’t charted or documented much of anything so I don’t really know how many I treated.
6:50 Race home, wash my hands and face, grab my books and head back out the door for bible study at Karen’s home.
9:30 Home, shower, dinner and bed.