We forget…He does not.

March 25, 2004

Dear Jane,

Psalm 78 reminds us that we are consistent in our forgetfulness of the great works of our God–but he remembers His covenant forever.  That is good good news!

Mike downtown (Small) Casey is off from school today and so after the meeting to train mamas, we are going into Kampala to get haircuts. This is one of those times that brings such remembered pleasure to our days.  Mike has headed to Entebbe to pick up some mini missionaries who are making a second visit to Uganda.  We have had 3 flat tires in the past couple of weeks so I am praying that the patched tires will hold up for the journey.  Yesterday was full and busy.  We had a second interview with a woman that we hoped would be a mama in training. Effective interviewing is so difficult–the women are so desperate for the position that they will often tell us whatever they think we want to hear.  I don’t blame them.  MatatuMeetsCustomer (Small)This dear woman revealed under closer questioning that she is a single woman with an 8 year old child who is living here with her child instead of the child being in Kumi with her mother as she had told us on the first interview.  I praised God for her honesty and was thankful that we did not offer her a job that would make an orphan of her own child!

We also went to Nsambya Babies Home and saw 2 children that we hope can come live here in cottage #4. Over the past week, I’ve spent several hours with our new housemother Robinah Nafuna.   She is a treasure with depth of knowledge, both of people and of faith. She made me laugh so hard when she shared a story with me.  I had invited her to my home for a follow up interview.  Robinah&William (Custom) She got there around the lunch hour and since I knew that her journey on the matatu had been long and hard, I offered her a bowl of bean soup and some tea or water.  She asked for water probably so that she would not cause me extra preparation time.  I felt her eyes watching me quietly as I prepared her meal.  I noticed that she did not drink the glass of water and just assumed that like many Ugandans that drinking water was not her habit.  These folks have to walk long distances to streams and carry the water they need in large plastic “gerry” cans.  Since the water comes with contamination, they must boil all water for drinking and cooking.  I think as a result, they must think of drinking water as a costly extravagance.  DSC00223 (Small) Well, I had drawn her water right from the faucet, and when she saw that I did not “cook” it she was convinced I was a misguided mzungu trying to make her ill!  As she shared what she was thinking about me and these crazy foreigners in the village, I rolled with laughter.  What she did not know then and what will be a great treat for her as she lives here, is that here in the village we have a deep bore well.  The water comes up uncontaminated and immediately suitable for drinking!

Sophie I don’t know if I have shared that we heard that baby Sophie, who we are waiting to bring to Rafiki, was recently hospitalized.  We are not sure what is going on but we did stop by Sanyu while in town to check on things with her.  Joyce met us and took us into the lunch room where the children sit in those little chairs around the edge of the wall to drink their porridge. We saw Sophie but she looked so much smaller and weak.  As Carolyn talked with Joyce, I noticed a sign above her high chair that said “TB use own spoon and cup only!”  Things began to make sense about why Joyce had not released Sophie to us.  We had heard through the grapevine that there has been an outbreak of TB at Sanyu and we had been wondering if any of our children are infected.  They all had passed the TB serology tests but evidently they discovered through chest X-rays that some Sanyu children had the disease.  This throws many things up in the air for us–Carolyn is e-mailing the Rafiki pediatrician in Nairobi to see what we should do now. Well girlfriend, I need to move away from the laptop and get my mind ready for the mamas to come for training today.

gratefully yours,


P.S. Dr. Dan in Nairobi told us to bring Sophie as soon as possible so that we can get her treated for the disease. The treatment can take up to a year.  He told us not to panic about the other children that he would test them all when he visits in April or May and not to worry about it.   That was very encouraging.

The Misery of Malaria

November 6, 2003

Dear Friend,

DSC00661 (Small) Today is training day and so I will try to grab some desk time to prepare for that.  Chloe did fine with the immunization.  I enjoyed talking with Mama Flavia and preparing her with the news that she might have an eldest son added to her family as soon as Monday. We are planning to place Yoweri in her cottage when the paper work gets completed.  Praise God his blood work was fine.  DSC00546 (Small) When I shared Yoweri’s story with her, she responded sweetly, “I feel that that one is already mine.  It is the plan of God that he should come to my home.”  Can you imagine?  She has only been here a month and has three  3 year olds and a 12 month old and is willing to take on more!

It has not been smooth sailing for her since we brought her the four children from Sanyu.  The longer I am here the more outraged I am by malaria! It is the most awful disease–it grieves me that it does not raise shocked responses in the western world like SARS, mad cow and bird flu do!  Many of our children come to the village already infected.   kato2

The malarial parasites live in the liver but from time to time move out and into the red blood cells rapidly multiplying and making a person very ill.  Kato woke last night delirious and convulsing.  He had to be sponged down and given fever reducer every 3 hours to make it through the night.  Flavia had seen such symptoms before and knew it was malaria.  We did not go to hospital because there is no one there to help you in the middle of the night–you still wait till morning.

This morning we went to SOS clinic and thankfully they responded to his condition “quickly”  and gave him a bed.  The nurse worked with him from 9:40 until 11:00 giving him a fever suppository, a valium shot to relax the seizing activity, syrup to also help reduce the fever, a shot of quinine and a shot of antibacterial something or other.  He wet all over me, bled all over me from a nosebleed and then vomited all over me before we got home.  He was pitiful and the quinine effects are almost worse than the malaria symptoms.  Anyway, on this day I have plead the mercy of Christ for this little one and He inclined His ear and listened.      There is more to share but I am retiring in case things are hopping again tonight.  I love you dear friend and I know that the gathering at the Biltmore was glorious for Christ and His kingdom.

Until later, lissa

November 7, 2003

Greetings again dear friend,
DSC00647 (Small)I remembered you when I awoke and prayed for your teaching time.  May God visit you with much grace and power as you serve the sheep the finest fare from His Word.  I slept very well and Kato did okay through the night.  Part of his take home medication was Phenobarbital to relax his brain from the effects of the malaria and quinine tablets–I am learning much about this disease and none of it is good.

Flavia is doing beautifully in caring for him but I sense the mamas think I am too “soft” with Kato and showing too much concern.   It seems that these African women have a strong cultural predisposition against being soft–or by my standards outwardly affectionate.

I remember reading in American history that when infant mortality figures were high, parents were not as indulgent or inclined to attach too  affectionately to children.  It was a self protective way of coping when a mother was faced with the reality that death might snatch away her precious little one.  Mama Teopista reminded me of that when she said, “JjaJa, if you are too kind to this one, how will he ever want to get well?”  I never stop being fascinated with the threads of cultural norms that I discover here.

I was able to spend some time with the Lord this morning and was grateful for the time then managed a few minutes to get things ordered here at home before heading out to check on the children.   DSC01656 (Small)

We were reminded that we have invaded and only partially civilized the bush as we encountered 2 small snakes at the cottages yesterday.  Any snake is too much for me so I have been walking very much more carefully today!  The mamas laughed when they saw me surveying the ground on my way to and from the cottages.

The folklore of when snakes come out and how dangerous they are occupied our Gazebo conversation.  Pray for mercy!

I hope you arise rested and satisfied in Him and what He did through you last night.  I am off to take Kato more juice–you are to drink plenty of fluids for this malady as well–so if this is spoiling him I am doing it!

With love,