On Monday I wrote about David preaching on Sunday and us taking a woman and her child to the hospital on Monday. If you have not yet read that post, you can read it it here. While I was working on writing that blogpost, David was running errands in Jinja and getting the van worked on. These things took longer than expected, so we ended up driving home late in a borrowed vehicle. It was a good day, but we were a bit worn out by the time we got home.
On Tuesday after school Esther and I went to the hospital to check on the woman and her daughter. I was so happy and relieved when I found the little girl sitting in her mother's lap. She was still very weak, but she was alert and looked so much better than the day before. Honestly, I did not know if she would be alive which was why I was anxious about going to check on her. Esther brought along some small things of hers that she could share with the children in the "pediatric ward," which is just one big room with some beds and cribs. The women and the children there loved meeting Esther and trying to talk with her. I decided to try to pray for the child in Luganda so that the mother could understand. When I said that I was going to pray, the moms from all over the room gathered around. I don't know if it was because they were curious to here a mzungu pray in Luganda, or because they also wanted prayers. I did my best, but I know that God hears and understands even if I still struggle with the language. That night I went to bed feeling so thankful that God was bringing healing to this little girl, but very tired.
At around 1am I received a phone call from my friend and teammate, Katie Fox. Her husband Cody, was diagnosed with malaria on Sunday and had been taking the medication for treatment. He had really improved by Tuesday and even taught that day. But that night he woke with symptoms of cerebral malaria. I had made Katie promise in advance that she would call me at any hour if his malaria got worse and he needed to go to the hospital, so she called. David has more experience driving here, particularly in Kampala and at night, so we decided he would go pick them up Katie and Cody in Nyenga. They decided it would be best to take Cody to a clinic in Kampala that is open 24hrs. David had another chance to be the ambulance driver, but this time not really knowing where he was going in the middle of the night. I stayed home with the kids and prayed. After doing several blood tests, they concluded that Cody was okay, and that he was having side effects from the medication he was taking for treatment. I received a text message around 4am that Cody was alright and they were heading home. I went to sleep around 4:30am and woke when David arrived home a little after 5:30am. As he lay in bed, I tried to make a joke saying, "You could have a second career as an ambulance driver." His replied, "I don't want a second career." Within three minutes he was snoring. We sent a message canceling school since none of the teachers had slept more than an hour or so, and then slept for another hour.
On Wednesday morning we received a phone call from the local hospital administrator that the little girl was ready to be discharged. On Wednesday morning, I took Elijah with me and went to pick up the woman and her child who had recovered so quickly. She was much stronger and even smiled a bit. While we waited for some paperwork, (They had to turn on the generator in order to print the receipt for them to be discharged.) Elijah and I visited and prayed with some others there in the children's ward. He enjoyed passing out stickers to all the children and practicing his Luganda. I wish I had his young mind which seems to learn the language so quickly. We were able to drive them home and talk briefly. If we understood correctly, the father is not in the picture. Unfortunately, this seems all too common in the local villages.
On Thursday, we did not go to any hospitals! We taught school, worked on some ministry related paperwork, and had a generally quieter day. I got a chance to go for a short run which was really good after such a physically and emotionally exhausting several days. In the evening, I went to visit our neighbors and they told me that they had sweet potatoes for me. The sweet potatoes here are white, but they are still very tasty. When they asked if we ate them, I thought that maybe she would give us 6 so that we could each eat one. Instead she brought a huge bag and gave it to me to carry home on my head. Wow, these Ugandan women must be so much stronger than me, because my neck and back are so sore from that sack of potatoes. The Ugandan women told me that if I had a baby on my back and was carrying a 20L jug of water, then I could be like a Ugandan woman. Yikes. I have my work cut out for me.
I thought Friday might just be an ordinary day of school and then a trip to town for some supplies, but I have learned that there is no such thing as an "ordinary day" here. During our morning school break, a Ugandan friend found me and said that she had a gift for me at the gate. I was very curious since most of the gifts I have received from Ugandan friends are food items. I thought, "Why would she leave a bag of tomatoes at the gate?" I walked to the gate to meet her and found her there with a live chicken. The feet were tied and she had obviously carried it here for me. Most of the people around here do not eat meat very often, so a gift of a chicken is an expensive and very generous gift. I was so honored and grateful that this sweet woman sacrificially gave me this amazing gift. I am still overwhelmed by the generous hearts of so many of my Ugandan friends.
I don't know what the rest of today or tomorrow will hold, but this week has been both amazing and exhausting! I am so thankful that God has brought healing to the sick, given us opportunities to be his hands in feet, and shown us a small picture of his lavish love through the generous gifts of others.