Saturday, March 29, 2014

A snake, eyes, language oops, connecting, and a boda boda ride home

We are assessing the situation...
Even the cat was eager to get away...

Last year, when my roommate and I were walking late at night from one side of New Hope to the other, we came across a snake.  To me, it looked like a snake from Jungle Book.  Not necessarily because of it's size.... but because it was all coiled up and looked rather innocent.  Chrissy did the appropriate thing... she stepped back and screamed.  I did the odd thing... I found myself peering down at it.  As far as I was concerned, it was resting and was pretty benign.  The more likely scenario... it was a dangerous snake and something that I should have avoided and killed .  We took note of it and kept walking.  We notified the security man and that was that.  Later I received the feedback that I should have killed it...or at least ensured that it had been killed.  An excellent point.  And so this past Wednesday night when a black snake was spotted on our porch... I knew that though the temptation for me personally was to shut the door and stay inside... that the proper thing to do was to make sure it was killed.  And so I did what any damsel in distress should do... I called out for help.  One phone was turned off, one just rang and rang and rang... one person told me that killing wasn't their thing... and while I was on the phone with one man happily eager to come and kill the snake... one of the first people I called arrived on the scene.  U. Jay and Jeremiah were ready for battle with their long sticks.  I can't help but wonder if  they may have been just a LITTLE disappointed that the snake in front of them was particularly small.  But they didn't let on in the moment... they put up with our screams and quickly killed the little slitherly snake.  It was dead within a short period of time and was carried away by U. Jay.  On Friday, a green mamba snake was seen by our door.  I might be more willing to hit the next snake I see...but I am just as content calling out for help.  We all have gifts.  Killing snakes is not mine.  And I am ok with that.  

This past week, Dr. Jim, his two sons, and his daughter's good friend, Lucy came and ran an eye team. In their three days here at New Hope, he saw about 215 patients.  His main focus this time around was doing eye checks on the secondary students.  They came in groups.  Most received good news about their eyes and those who were identified as needing glasses will be blessed by a pair real soon.  Dr. Jim will return to the States, have their prescriptions filled and the glasses will be sent back to be delivered to the student and/or staff.  It's pretty neat.  Actually, it's a LOT neat.  So thankful as I know the kids and staff who received care from him this week are as well.  Thank you Dr. Jim and team!
First step in the eye examination process

A thorough check of the eyes by Dr. Jim

Complete with curious classmates....

Thanks Dr. Jim!!! It was fun working with you this week! Thankful to your commitment and dedication for those he has placed in front of you!  We are thankful. So thankful! 

And what better to do after a long week at work than join the jump rope party.  It's been many, many years since I did double jumping... and truth be told, I didn't quite get there.... but it was fun joining in on the fun! 

And today started the beginning of a long weekend for me.  It was a very lazy morning.  We decided to go into Kiwoko to have lunch.  We hopped a boda.  We were going to check out a chicken and chips restaurant that just recently opened... but it was closed.  Our second option was also closed.  And so we walked to the taxi park....we wanted to greet A. Rebecca who has a shop there.  After a quick greet, we invited her for lunch.  Since she was working, we decided to eat at her shop.  The waitress came to us, took our order, and delivered our food.   I was so excited.  There was matooke (steamed bananas), rice, and a chicken leg.  It was good food, good conversations, and so good to be out and about in a country that I love!  A funny moment from lunch.  Asking the waitress in Luganda if she wanted us to pay then or after we ate.  The only problem was that I mixed up the verb and instead asked her if she wanted us to vomit then or after we ate our lunch.  Mmmmm....  An immediate laugh, an attempt to correct, and as of right now.  I haven't vomited.  

And since my computer is fighting me and not allowing me to place captions underneath the pictures, I'll say the four pictures above are from when we had lunch with Rebecca.  The first was the view looking out from her shop.  The second was a cute little girl who strolled over to us.  She was curious and hesitantly friendly.  Her hair was awesome! A bit frazzled... but nonetheless awesome.  The next picture is of some of the foods that Rebecca sells in the shop. There are a variety of beans, sugar, maize bran, and posho.  The picture directly above this paragraph is Chrissy and Rebecca eating.   What a delightful afternoon.  A great lazy day.  Resting.  Relationships.  And of course a boda boda ride home.  

Love to you all! 


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A little bit of a Lot

A few days back, I joined up with U. Ronald and A. Rebecca to have a little birthday celebration.  It was a bittersweet event.  We picked up a variety of sodas and sat around a birthday cake.  Imprinted in the middle of the cake was a "1" formed out of sprinkles.  He would have been one.  We started singing Happy Birthday and though several of us started, I think that only one was still singing at the end.  The tears choked up our external ability to sing over this little boy now nearly 3 months gone.  Internally, we cling to the truth that our God is good and that despite my assessment concluding that he was taken far too early, I choose to rest in God's plan and His goodness.  We choose to rest in that.    It's easier to stand in some days than others... but it's a stand I am committed to standing.   So Frankie... Happy Birthday Little Man! I trust that you are running around having the sweetest of ALL times!  

Auntie Kate...."we're lost!" 

I feel like there is so many other things I can share.  This past weekend, a small group of us ventured two hours away to a rhino preserve.  We were out in the bush! It was an adventure of all sorts and a time to simply REST.   We entered the rhino preserve early afternoon.  We found our lodge and settled in.  Late afternoon, we took off in the park to meet up with the ranger who was going to take us to the rhino's.  The only problem was we never found the ranger.  We drove around in wild safari land for about an hour before we found ourselves back home at the lodge.  While it may sound scary and truth be told we were probably oblivious to the true potential of danger... the truth is we laughed a lot and It was good!

The next morning, one of the staff joined us on our drive to the ranger.  With his help, we arrived at our destination and was able to go out and meet the wild rhinos.   And by meet, I mean that we kept a safe distance of approximately 30 meters.  An upset rhino is not something to contend with.  And an upset or nervous rhino with a baby rhino is surely not something to contend with.  So we didn't.  We just took pictures and enjoyed watching these amazing creatures.  And amazing they were....

And what an amazing of women to go on this Rhino Adventure with.... 

And on a personal note, God is growing me and challenging me.   And it has been... it's been hard, good, and a little of everything in between.  He is weeding out the parts of me that need to be weeded out and while I wade through the process, I know that it is for good.  I love being here... I love the opportunities to talk with, laugh with, and to be used by Him.

Some of the highlights of the last month (and a few days): 

*Heading out to Musana and participating in a dental clinic---watching nearly 80 people receive much needed dental care.

*The absolute honor of being present with Caleb and Alair in the arrival of their sweet little Nora Jean.   There are no words to watch God doing something... HUGE and AMAZING.

*Joining with friends Kate and Natasha in a weekly Bible study.  Yes, the study is sweet... but the time of fellowship and going deep in conversation is food for the soul.  So thankful!

*Joining in another Bible Study each week with friends Hannah, Chrissy, Wesley, and Jennie.  Another source of connection and sweetness.

*Deepening relationships here.... growing ones, deepening one, and new ones.

*Turning the clinic van into an ambulance... a couple of times recently  One in particular where I was sure the man was going to die.  Chest Pain, diaphoretic, with a thready pulse did not mean good things to me.  We sped our way to Kiwoko Hospital honking the horn frequently and praying out loud for the life of this man.  Hours later, he was in emergency surgery with a dangerously low pre-op hemoglobin and a perforated stomach.  I've seen him several times since and his smile seems just that much wider... that much more joyous.  He is alive and doing well!

*watching a near empty cistern filling up quickly after the huge amounts of rain.  Yes, it's good for farming and agriculture... it's also appreciated for indoor plumbing, faucets, and... truth be told... showers!

*visit from friend back home in Indiana... Laurie.  Good conversations, times to pray, and to just hang out and journey life together.

*times to hug, hold, and care for the children that come through the doors of the clinic.  It's been a slower pace during the clinic hours the last couple of weeks... more time to spend with each child that comes in... to learn their names and to get to know them better.

*I have just over half of the money I need for a vehicle raised.  Thank you to each and everyone of you who have contributed, prayed for, and supported me in this journey.  If you have any questions.... you are welcome to email me or message me.  Thank you!

*A short bout with malaria and a possible near bite by an alligator tick.  I won't say much more than showing you a picture of the bug that was on me.  The first is the actual bug... but there was nothing to size it.  So, later when we saw another... we snapped a picture of that one.  Rumor has it that the one on me was bigger.   I was in the pool with two friends when I noticed that there was a massive bug on me.... we all got out screaming... and though some may say they were coming to rescue me... neither of them did.  ( ;  Just a few minutes ago, I learned that this beatle is not benign... it's actually a vicious little critter.  Apparently the bite is one of the most painful bites.... though the article also made it clear that the bite has no medical significance.  So all drama set aside... I am healthy!

*Stretching and growing and learning how to live the life fully that God has for me here.  I would be so thankful for your prayers in this area.  There are so many opportunities... so many ways in which to connect, serve, and be.  They all sound good... but really trying to get a sense from Jesus on what each of my days looks like and to be obedient to what He has for me.

Thank you! Love to you all....


Drinking my first REAL cup of coffee! 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Good Afternoon from Uganda! It's been way too long since I have last brought fingers to the keyboard.  It's been a FULL month and I am so sorry that I did such a poor job of bringing you along.  Right now, I am sitting on a balcony at a hotel in Kampala with two of my friends.  I am both resting and recovering.  I am thankful for malaria medications and the healing that God brings through them. I started feeling a little off on Sunday afternoon.   By Tuesday morning, I thought it would be wise to test.  I had been fighting a fever and was just overall feeling off.  The blood smear showed the little malaria parasites making my blood their home.  I started treatment and thankfully am feeling much better.  Not 100%, but definitely better.  Even thinking about what food I will eat tonight.... and that's huge!   And on to other things....

February may have only been 28 days... but it was packed with many different adventures, challenges, and sweetness.  A team from North Dakota came to serve and I was able to work alongside a dentist and her assistant.  Many, many people were able to receive much needed dental care.   We worked a few days in at Kasana and also traveled and ran a clinic about 5 hours away.  I was in charge of sterilizing and organizing those who came to receive care.  It was an adventure.  And I loved it! It was so neat seeing people coming to be seen in pain and uncomfortable only to see them leave a short while later with a lop-sided smile.   Their lopsided smile would soon be replaced by a full smile once the novocaine had worn off.  There was plenty of time to talk with those who came.  Often, my awesome Lugandan was met with giggles and further translations.  Lots of laughter and lots of sweetness watching people cared for.  

The view at Musana

Clarifying what the dental problem is.  

numbing the mouth

The sterilizing room.

Sterilizing equipment

Some of the ladies who were blessed by my Luganda and by dental care. 
Just chilling in the sterilizing room. 

After nearly a week of doing dental care, I got the message in the middle of the night that my friend Alair was in labor.  It was a good 5 hour drive away.  I was picked up in the morning and was able to get to Kiwoko hospital to be with Alair, Caleb, and our friend Laurie.  Alair was a champ.  She labored for nearly 30 hours.  Her labor wasn't progressing and the baby's heart was dancing in a not so great way.... and so the decision was made for a c-section.  It was such a gift and an honor to be with Alair during this time. 

Recovering for Alair and resting for me.  
Sweet baby Norah
What an honor to be part of this journey...

And while there is still so much to say... I am hitting submit and letting myself rest.  I'll write more later...but wanted to post.  

Love to you all and thankful for you all of you. Thank you for having patience with me and I am sorry for not writing sooner.