Family Reunited. Well, most of us. Luke is still in Kenya of course. His class at RVA put on their major event of the year, the Junior-Senior Banquet, which involved months of planning and days of set construction and rehearsal, sort of a prom/stage show/dinner/creative festival all rolled into one. The theme this year was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory aka Roald Dahl, and they transformed an auditorium into the magical world of Oompah Loompahs. Hope we can post some pictures soon to celebrate the ingenuity and perseverance required. Luke's assessment: the evening was too short (7 pm to 1 am). Which means everyone was having a great time. Meanwhile I'm so glad to be home, with Scott, for a while. Thanks for prayers.
Bundi is still Bundi. Hadn't been home more than ten hours before one of my most desperate little patients, Peter John, was at the door early Sunday morning dying of dehydration. The battle for that family still rages. Small victories: he was rescued with fluids, and I caught his sister smiling today. And good news that our supply of anti-retrovirals, the life-extending anti-AIDS drugs, is supposed to arrive today. We've been scraping by pill by pill for two months, and the situation was looking bleak. Almost a quarter of my ward right now is HIV-affected. Sadly a young woman whom I sponsored in primary school in our first years here, who is the sister of a good friend, died of AIDS on Saturday. I biked out to her ancestral home yesterday evening to pay condolences to her mother and siblings. She had several failed "marriages" in her short life (she was only 22 when she died), none of which produced children. This morning a 15 year old's 790 gram 24 week premature baby died at the hospital. My heart goes out to all these teenage girls, looking for worth and love and value and ending up fatally infected or grieving.
Investing in Leaders. This is one of our themes this year . . .and before returning, I had a chance to visit nurse Asusi Mildred and her family. She has completed her degree and is mid-way through her internship, and Heidi and STephanie and I had one of those rare evenings with her when we all are just people who live and work and relate together, when we can laugh and talk about politics and eat and pray, and not feel the barriers of nationality and status so blatantly. It was a six-hour investment to get to her place and back (and nearly cost us our lives a couple of times when insane drivers passing on the wrong side swerved into our lane), but well worth it.
Goats and more leaders. Since I was driving back without all the family, we were able to arrange for a young couple John and Allison from the goat project in Masaka to come out to Bundi and consult with Lammech on the Matiti project, while setting up a computer-based tracking system for the goats. We have now put so many in the community it requires a data-base to know which breeds are where, and how the genetics blend with each generation of breeding. As they all spent the evening with us on Sunday I was again thankful for Lammech, who has a flair for community-organizing and teaching, and a heart for the people of Bundibugyo, and skills that bring life to others. Another leader.
A big week. We are already into the week, and there is much water to still flow under the bridge. Today's main task was to clarify with the Nyahuka Town Council that the dedicated water line to the health center is NOT available for other users to tap into. This should help assure water supply for little details like washing hands after dealing with cholera patients . . or mixing ORS to save a life. Yesterday and today, goat training. Today and tomorrow, nutrition education re-training in Busaru and Busunga. Tomorrow through Friday, a site visit from EGPAF. Thursday, the quarterly Kwejuna Project Food Distribution, with a couple of hundred patients and tons of beans, a measure of survival in the lean season of February. Meanwhile the kids go to class and sports, the sun beats down, the patients show up, and life goes on. We can use prayer this week (as always!!).
That's the news from Tuesday morning.