Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Knocking Eyes

IMG_0032Having a teenager in the house is yet another experience. Grace, Monica’s 16 year old sister came along when Monica and Patricia returned from their visit home. She just finished a major milestone in her education and is now waiting for the results which will allow her to continue education in February.

The language of a teen can be quite amusing. Today as we were enjoying lunch Grace noticed a young man looking at her sister. She informed her that the man was “knocking eyes” with her. That phrase has become one that brings great laughter each time any of us is caught even glancing at a man! I can’t wait until I learn the next phrase of teen lingo.

Less than 2 weeks remain before I head off to the U.S. This is a challenging time preparing for being away for 6 weeks – taking care of the ministry and other expenses that continue while I am away. It will be my first Christmas stateside in more than 10 years – pray for my adjustment to COLD and SNOW!

Blessings on your day

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Is there a Doctor in the Country?

I realized that much of my blog has been reporting with little reflecting. Allow me to do some reflection on events of last week. I called a consultant doctor/professor directly and asked how to make an appointment to see him. He told me to come to his clinic at 2 p.m. This was unexpected and as it turned out, unwise, as I had a physical therapy appointment at 5 p.m. Arriving at 1:30 p.m. thinking there might be paperwork to fill out, I discovered that I was # 10! And, the doctor had not yet arrived. So I waited … and waited … and waited. The doctor finally came about 3 and began seeing patients. I saw him at 5:30 and he sent me for lab and a consultation with the dietitian. I left there at 6:30 and rushed for my 5 p.m. appointment. The therapist graciously took me as his last patient at 8 p.m. I returned home at 9:30. Friday a repeat of the same although this time someone had saved #3 for me. However the doctor came 3 1/2 hours late. I saw him briefly then returned home to rest before going to my 5 p.m. physical therapy “appointment.” Appointment is in quotes as when I arrived there were 5 people waiting ahead of me. In a conversation with a young woman who accompanied her mother, I learned that they had a 4 p.m. appointment. They saw the therapist just before me.  Again I was the last patient and left there about 9:30 p.m.

While from the western perspective, these were extremely frustrating experiences, I started thinking about how this is the normal way for Ugandans to get health care. They show up early and wait in long lines only to find that the doctor has gone home at the end of the day. Many have to travel long distances to find a doctor to care for their particular health issue. And at times, they find no doctor available. In Uganda the doctor/patient ratio is 1 doctor for 24,000 people. Kampala is much better than Fort Portal and Karugutu.  I am fortunate that I can go to private clinics. It’s even worse for patients who have little money and need to go to the government hospitals. Government pay (about $350/month) for medical doctors is very low compared to what they can make in private clinics or in other countries. A number of Ugandan doctors are serving outside the country.

Getting the appropriate medication is also a challenge. Many people are diagnosed with high blood pressure and diabetes, but cannot afford to purchase the medicines. When someone dies, it is very normal to be told that they died of pressure and diabetes.

Pray for the people of Uganda – that God would make a way where there seems to be no way to get proper and timely medical care.

Blessings on your day.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Good intentions

Image134When I started blogging barely 3 weeks ago, I tried to write each day. Then it dropped to once a week. And now I haven’t even kept that up! Having a disk degeneration problem in the neck and a shoulder that was “frozen” – the physiotherapist’s words – has kept me from spending much time at the computer.

However, this picture is priceless and I needed to share it with you. As I traveled down the highway, my attention was drawn to this vehicle. At first I thought the truck had backed into these guys and flattened  them – shows the early influence of cartoons on my imagination. As we drew closer, we realized that they were holding on to the structure to keep it from falling off the  truck. There were no ropes at all!

Another traveling story is not so humorous – as I was driving along Hoima-Kampala Road, I saw what looked to be a big animal lying in the middle of the road. As I passed I realized that it was a human being. Someone was putting the warning sign (branches with green leaves) around him, so he must have just fallen off a truck, gotten hit by a vehicle or something else. Unfortunately, in Uganda, it is not generally a good idea to stop so I continued on and prayed for the man and his family.

Monica and Patricia are now visiting their family in Hoima. Patricia’s grandmother is ecstatic. And the rest of the family are very happy as well. They will return with Monica’s sister in about a week. The house is awfully quiet!

Blessings on your day.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Another week?

IMG_0022 Sunday to Sunday. Having a baby in the house is definitely a change in lifestyle. Days and dates just move right on by. Mostly I just get to hold Patricia and help her go to sleep. Everything else is done for her by her Mother. Occasionally Monica leaves to go to a nearby shop, and of course Patricia decides just as she leaves to start crying. Yikes! But it is so much fun to see how much change occurs day to day. She recognizes us now, she’s starting to grasp some, her legs are really strong and she enjoys standing on them – with support of course. She laughs and “talks” to us. In this photo she is sitting on her own for the first time. I tease Monica that Patricia will have an American accent.

We had visitors Friday – Monica’s father (Patricia’s grandfather: Jaja) and her cousin-brother. Godfrey, (Jaja) was amazed at how much she has changed in the past 2 weeks. It was really great to see her just gazing at his face while he held her.

And Friday was my Mother’s birthday (Betty) – I called and sang Happy Birthday to her. Update on Dad – he’s in a rehabilitation facility and yesterday was able to feed himself. They also had him standing with assistance. Each step is step towards recovery. To God be the glory – thank you for your prayers and concern. My Aunt Ruth had gall bladder surgery Friday and is now home.

“Rejoice in the Lord always” Phil. 4:4a

Blessings on your day.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Sunday afternoon is a time for visiting friends and family. So today we went to visit Margaret, a friend who lives in Namugongo, a nearby village. She has grown children and many of the children’s children are with Margaret. When the children saw baby Patricia, they were so excited; everyone wanted to hold her. She was very cooperative.

Margaret is a wonderful storyteller. I hope that I can give you even a glimpse of the story she told us. I had a difficult time trying to decide if I should laugh or cry. She is now 58. When she was 22 (in 1974) and still a student in secondary school she got pregnant. This was not a good thing, so the family hushed it up and even pretended that the baby that was born belonged to someone else. He grew up thinking his grandmother was his mother.

But the funny story was how her aunt insisted that the witch doctors be brought in to help her give birth normally. Apparently she has an abnormal cervix which closed instead of opened so the doctors were planning a C-section. The doctors suggested that she be brought to the hospital and that the witch doctors work on her there. I can just picture the chanting and jumping around. They smeared all kinds of things on her body. The funniest part of the story was when one witch doctor – a woman – told Margaret to spread her legs. She then puffed on a pipe with who knows what in it and then blew between her legs. While Margaret is explaining this she is using me as an example – putting her hands on my knees and blowing. It was hysterical. Ultimately, the doctors prevailed and the parents sent the witch doctors away.

We prayed together with her family before leaving and came home. Monica is now bathing Patricia in preparation for sleep – we hope!

Blessings on your day.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ugandan Missionaries

One of the wonderful shifts going on in missions today is the recent, but should be obvious, realization that God can use local Christians as missionaries to home and foreign fields. Today I have as a guest in my home Kahuma Cheaperfield, a young Ugandan missionary who works with Life Ministry Uganda. I have been blessed to work with him for a number of years in ministry in Kabarole and Bundibugyo (western Uganda). He is now raising support for becoming a full time staff member of Life Ministry Uganda (This is Campus Crusade for Christ). His personal support budget is approximately $200/month and the ministry budget is $500/month. Since August he has been on a ministry partner development assignment meeting and sharing the ministry God has given him. It is not well-known or understood means of support locally – Ugandans will give for weddings and funerals, but otherwise many are not generous for other good causes. Kahuma is an amazing evangelist and an incredibly energetic worker – always planning the next missions. Pray with him as God opens doors for him to share the vision of how God has called him to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in western Uganda and beyond.

Blessings on your day.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Life of an African mother

My young friend Monica is caring for her 6 week old baby. Each morning she rises with or without sleep to do laundry. This involves going outside and filling basins with water and soap, hand washing all the clothes and hanging them to dry. Then she must iron them. Of course she also must tend to the baby when needed. If dishes are in the sink, she washes them. Then she comes in and prepares a cup of tea and bread for breakfast, feeds the baby, bathes the baby, and as the baby sleeps, she sweeps and mops the floors. She then bathes and dresses for the day and prepares lunch. And since she is also helping me – she has a second “baby” to care for!

This is a “modern” life – if she were in the village, she would have to go to the nearest water source and carry water back home. She would need to go collect fire wood to heat water for the tea. The life of an African woman is not easy. Often they deliver a baby and within days take the baby with them to the fields to work in their gardens. Mother and infant mortality rates are high. Just recently I heard of a woman in my neighborhood who gave birth at home – she couldn’t reach her husband and the baby had problems. The baby died the next day.

Pray for the mothers and children of Uganda – this is a huge issue and one that a number of government agencies and non-governmental agencies are addressing.

Blessings on your day


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New Housemates

IMG_0006Monica returned from her maternity “leave” with a baby girl – Patricia Mbabazi Abwooli Hanna – not yet 6 weeks old. Her husband returns to the UK today. So life is about to become very interesting – don’t recall living with a newborn before as one of my life’s experiences – at least since I was 5!

Received word this morning that my father Tom has experienced a stroke and is paralyzed on the right side and has speech difficulties. According to a church prayer request sheet, he is expected to be transferred to a skilled care centre. Please pray for him.

Blessings on your day.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Internet Struggles

Recently my internet provider decided with nearly no notice to discontinue unlimited usage programs. They replaced it with data bundles - while giving no way to monitor one's usage. It also decides on its own to use any balance on the SIM card after your bundle is over so that the balance intended for the next bundle is no longer there. AAARGH. I'm searching for a replacement that is unlimited usage - this data bundle approach is expensive.

Got results from my first term of studies for my Masters of Divinity - top of the class. This "senior" student can still study!

Also signed up today for my placement work with the campus chaplaincy. Should be an interesting experience. Anything from leading Bible studies to preaching at the chapel on Sunday.

I'm at an internet cafe right now - so let me close for today.

Blessings on your day.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Lights anyone?

Before the battery goes thought I’d talk about life without electricity. Although there has been huge improvement in the 7 years I’ve lived in Uganda, there are still significant outages that often come at inconvenient times – like when you need to print a paper for a course that is due in 2 hours! Here in Kampala the outages are usually just for a few hours – but I remember a time in Fort Portal where there was no electricity at my home for 2 weeks – while they waited for a transformer to be delivered. That was challenging.

When I visit friends who live in villages with no electricity available, it’s difficult to imagine life day in and day out without the many electrical appliances that make life seem more easy.

Cooking over a wood fire in the scorching sun instead of cooking in an air conditioned kitchen using a gas or electric stove/oven. Chatting around the fire while cooking is one of the benefits for the women. It is often a community affair.

Fortunately here, hair dryers are optional – the African hair style usually isn’t done with a dryer. Coffee – can you imagine waking without smelling the coffee brewing in the automatic coffee maker? And television – the news is great on the battery-operated radio. Fans? Toasters? Blenders?

I remember reading books as a young girl and romanticizing life in the days before electricity – studying by lantern. However, my eyes are beyond the time when I can read by lantern or by candle light! So my option once the computer battery is gone, is to go to bed. So it’s off to dreamland for me.

Blessings on your day!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More on Kampala

Locks, locks and locks. I have more keys in my bag than I have ever had in my life. A key to every room in the house, the garage, the doors, the gate. A couple of weeks ago, I refused to go out – acting as though I was a prisoner! However, God used that experience to remind me that I have the keys and that there are areas of my life that I live as though the door is locked, yet He has set me free.

A drive down a modern divided highway may include the following sights – a naked man (fortunately going the same way I was), a RAV4 pulled off on the side and people removing a live pig in a sack from its boot, cows crossing willy-nilly, bicycles with passengers and motorcycles going in any direction – literally!

Just getting my blogging hat on – so these are just some thoughts from the day.

Blessings on your day.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blogging Beginnings

Image130 Living in Kampala has been an experience that I had hoped wouldn’t happen. I considered Fort Portal the almost perfect location – good weather, not too hot nor too cold and mountains when the dust doesn’t obscure them. However, for at least the next 1 1/2 years I will be here in Kampala or nearby in Mukono attending classes for a master degree in Divinity at Uganda Christian University.

For those who have followed the vehicle story, the Pajero – mission vehicle extraordinaire has been replaced by the above new mission vehicle called Noah! To God be the glory. It will be exciting to see what plans he has for this vehicle.

Blogging is going to be an interesting task – the biggest question is does anyone really read these things?

Blessings on your day!