Friday, July 6, 2018

Independence Day and Other Musings

July 6th, 2018

We hope you had a happy and healthy 4th of July!  We brought out our $7 American flag that has
 been sitting in our linen closet for the past few years.  We bought the flag from a woman selling used clothing across from the hospital.  It was completely random and of course we needed to buy it.  Some years we forget about the 4th of July until the day is already is harder to remember these things living over here.

Being far away from my home country, I was inspired by a friend to read our Declaration of Independence again. I am thankful for my American heritage and to those who have given their lives to protect the rights of others. I do not take this for granted. Permit me to share the preamble to this famous document: 
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

A Visit to the Health Center
During a recent visit to our hospital’s outpatient nutrition clinic, I talked to one of the medical residents about the power of observation.  I asked him, « How can one walk into a room of 60 malnourished kids and identify the one who is in trouble? »  We talked about the fact that most of the kids were under 5 accompanied by their mothers.  We discussed noticing which children were able to walk and which needed to be carried.  We talked about criteria for hospitalization such as the third standard deviation weight for height, medical complications, edema, food insecurity, etc.  There didn’t seem to be any children that needed hospitalization.  I was gathering my things to go home for the day, when a father walked in carrying a little boy.  Two things were out of the ordinary: the child’s inability to walk and the fact that the child was being carried by his father.  The child was wearing a hat many sizes too big for him, baggy clothing, and no shoes.  I couldn’t tell his age, but glanced at the outpatient record which indicated he was 2.  He weighed less than 6kg.  The public health workers noted that last week he had edema and today he did not.   This was very concerning.  As quickly as the father appeared, he walked away to stand outside where he come from minutes before.  I scrambled for details, discovering that the father had refused hospitalization the previous week due to lack of resources.  The medical resident followed him out the door and talked with him in private. 

The problem is usually money and resources.  This father wanted the boy to get better but simply could not afford a hospitalization.  He asked to come back tomorrow which is another way of politely refusing a hospitalization.  I have heard this before with children in similar conditions, I received word later of their deaths.  We didn’t want this to happen.  We kept talking.  There were other mothers who contributed their words of support.  We promised to help him with cooking by providing Mama Ruth’s assistance.  We told him he would receive 5-grain porridge, therapeutic milk, and nutritional foods.  He finally accepted. 

We don’t know his story yet, but we will learn all that we can.  Each child has a story, a struggle.   Often there is separation/divorce/death in the family.  Often there is a story of gold-mining and lack of farming.  There is always a reason for children to fall into a state of malnutrition.  It is our job to do our best to understand these individual situations and provide the needed support.

Graduation from Nursery School (Year #1)
Our BIG news is that Emmanuel successfully completed French preschool!  Last year he was just too
Emmanuel and his nanny Maziga and his beautiful teachers
young and 
learning how to communicate and wasn’t able to do a recitation in French. stood up with so much pride (some timidity) and spoke in French in front of parents and his classmates.  It really has been important for us to help the preschool in whatever ways we can and encourage integration.  At this early age children are already learning very important life skills:  how to accept one another, share, work together, how to work through differences.  I am not sure if Emmanuel realizes that he has light skin and I love that.  I wish more children could have these kinds of experiences.  I am very grateful for our nanny Maziga who has helped our son learn language and some very important life lessons.
Emmanuel's class of 27 (including 6 missionary kids)

Do you see something?

Truth and Lies
There is a spiritual nature to our medical work.  Sometimes I forget that there is an enemy at work in these communities and homes.  There are some very serious social and physical problems which have a spiritual cause.  Lies need to be exposed and bound before people can hear the truths of Scripture.  Silence the enemy. 

This week I was rounding on a 3month old baby when the family told me he had “jacombe.”  The nurses looked at me for a response.  Did I know what this word meant?  I did.  I looked at the family and said that I understood what they were describing:  the child’s skin condition and "something else."  “Jacombe” is a local term that is used to describe a severe skin condition usually affecting the area around the rectum and mouth.  But the word has more meaning than simply a skin condition.  It has a deeper spiritual meaning which has to do with being cursed and being controlled by evil.  It is kind of a self-fulfilling prophesy because people stop touching and caring for their children and in doing so their children die.  I said that I understood but disagreed with this statement.  I said with a boldness that surprised me, “Your child is a child of God and Satan has no control over them.  Don’t believe this.”  They nodded in agreement that the child was a child of God and were genuinely surprised at me questioning this commonly held belief.  Sometimes we fall prey to lies and we don’t even know where they come from.  These lies compromise our relationship with God and we lose our way.  It is my hope that this family will hear the truth of Christ in a new way.

I am reminded that we need to surround ourselves with things and people that encourage our walk with God.  We need to be dlilgent about what we allow to occupy our hearts and minds.

A Little Trip
We recently had the opportunity to travel out to Uganda as a family.  We used our big Marmot tent for   Emmanuel thinks that camping is fun .  I think he will remember the troops of elephants and giraffes he has seen in the wild.  We were so close to elephants on the Nile that the night watchman occasionally had to discharge gunfire to deter them from coming too close.  It is fun to be making these memories together.   Here are a few pictures from our trip.
the first time and camped in and around the Nile River and Murchison Falls National Park in western Uganda.

We enjoy hearing from you and we need your prayers.  
-Pray for an upcoming visit of an evangelistic sports team from California, that they would be a continued blessing to the youth of Nyankunde.
-Pray for the many cases of tuberculosis the hospital often sees this time of the year.
-Pray for continued ministry opportunities in the community and throughout the hospital.

Lindsey (for the us)

A rocket stove with a battery powered fan...creative

With the older bros

Passionfruit juicing day

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