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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Week in Review

Well, the week isn't over, but as it hurtles by I sit to think of a few highlights.
  • Luke took off for Kalacha, in Northern Kenya, this morning.  Juniors and Seniors at RVA spend the last week of their second term on "interim" assignments, some adventuresome, some service-oriented, some recreational, some career-option-expanding . . Luke's seems to be a good combination of serving missionaries in a remote and harsh desert setting and exploring a different kind of African beauty.  He's completely out of touch though now, for the first time in our lives.  A bit sobering.
  • We hosted a young medical missionary family, and enjoyed sharing our burdens and joys together.  Watched the Veggie Tales version of St. Patrick's story with their 2 and 4 year old kids, and remembered that Patrick began as an abducted child who found God in prayer.  How many of those are right around us, now?
  • The secondary school football season started!  CSB defeated Kakuka 2 to 1 in the opening match.  Nathan probably pulled out some hair as his competent and disciplined team threw all drills and control and passing to the winds and instead played typical crowd-hysteria boot-it-in-the-air wild-power football.  Our "boys" were team captains for so many years . . no longer, but we still have a starter and two bench-warmers on the team.  And the kid who scored both goals was kept in school by a gift from Scott to his cash-strapped fellow-medical staff father, so we felt more satisfaction in the investment.  The only sad thing is once again seeing our kid (used to be Luke, now it is Caleb) on the outside again, practicing with the team but never really ON the team, wandering the side lines.  The ambiguity of his status has been hard on him.  Prayers appreciated for his continued good attitude.  
  • Had to tell a mother yesterday that her baby was dead, after watching lab staff trying unsuccessfully to draw blood as she held the limp body of a frail little twin.  That is always wrenching.  And I felt like I failed to react to the baby's deteriorating status aggressively enough.  On the other hand, it was a miraculous wonder to watch a 1 1/2 year old little girl with pneumococcal meningitis who was seizing and severely sick on arrival, leave the ward giggling and intact, after a week of ceftriaxone.  Scott picked up a tumor in a little girl with a rare hemi-hypertrophy condition, and we both shook our heads over the dismal prospect of finding chemotherapeutic treatment in this country.  Precious, the child we sent to Kampala for treatment of Kaposi Sarcoma associated with her HIV, died.  It is always like that, one thing to rejoice over and more to weep over.
  • Did I mention the putrid smell of our water?  Mystery solved:  two dead birds in the roof tank. This means emptying the system and cleaning and starting over.  As Scott says, the dirty jobs are all his.
  • Give-a-Goat 09 begins!  The Christmas ornament fundraiser allows us to transform smooth clean models of goats into the hairy bleating smelly kind, the kind that make milk.  Lammech trained 33 new recipients, and when I went by Sarah told me that 17 had showed up, including Kosimus whom I wrote about last week.  His mother had weaned him early in fear that her HIV virus would pass into his body.  It didn't, so far as we can test, but he became malnourished until we put him on a rescue plan of boxed milk.  Now she'll be able to give him enough calories and protein to survive, available right at her home.  We're doing the distribution in more manageable small batches this year, and the first group is coming entirely from goats bred WITHIN the district through the Matiti Project.  This is a huge step in sustainability.
  • Tomorrow:  CSB Board of Governor's meeting and the District HIV annual planning meeting, scheduled simultaneously (the former more than a month ago, the latter we hard about today).  Wish Scott could attend both, and ask some hard questions like why Dr. Jonah's salary has continued to come to the district it seems even though for the last 5 months it has not been given to Melen.  She was given a pay stub that seems rather incriminating.  Speaking of putrid smells.
  • Lastly, all of the above is in the context of a week of bronchitis, a wracking purulent cough and migraine headaches.  I felt very sympathetic to baby Jonah who has a similar disease right now.  Being a "wounded healer" and having "God's strength perfected in our weakness" sounds a lot better on paper than it feels in person.  The physical toll of illness makes the emotional and spiritual challenge of survival much more tiresome.

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