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Friday, January 22, 2010

miniscule victories . .

My praise today is over a very small detail, in fact a moth-ish type dead bug.  Or rather it's removal.  We began rounds this morning confronted with a child in significant respiratory distress, the grandchild of a staff member, with a dozen or more concerned relatives all watching in anguish as this baby struggled, wide-eyed and tired, with a lung infection.  It took some serious effort to rouse the man-with-the-key to the generator, get it on so we had some temporary power, and retrieve the oxygen concentrator from maternity.  This is a machine that takes room air and puts out a low flow of enriched oxygen, and one of the MAIN reasons I'm excited about potentially connecting to power next week . . .anyway, the maternity staff told me sadly that it's not working anymore.  Meanwhile the baby's mom was sobbing the death wail, sure her child was dying.  So me-of-minimal-mechanical know-how (where is Luke when you need him) plugged it in and started fiddling with buttons and switches.  Just when we're on the brink of electricity it would be so like Bundibugyo for the oxygen concentrator to die.  I found that the flow meter shot up when I began to unscrew one of the fittings where the tubing to the patient is supposed to attach, and by a process of trial and error determined the connector was plugged.  Every-ready nurse Heidi handed me a needle, and I poked around in the hole and sure enough, the aforementioned dead moth was extracted.  After which oxygen did, indeed, flow.  And the patient closed his panicked eyes and fell asleep in his mom's arms.

And a victory that I hesitate to celebrate quite yet, but may be more than miniscule.  For months I've been struggling with the district, the lab, the blood bank, the clinical research center in Fort Portal, various staff, anyone who would listen, to get a workable system in place for ensuring a steady flow of blood for transfusion, and prompt delivery of some samples and results from Fort Portal.  I've had the royal run-around. So today I invited our DHO (head of everything for health in Bundibugyo), the in-charges of the two main labs, a CRS representative who was supposedly funding the non-existent transport, and all our staff to a meeting.  It started two hours or more late.  It required tedious listing of all the history and details.  It veered off several times into unsolvable dilemmas.  But praise God, thanks to having everyone in one spot and thanks to the clear thinking and selfless suggestion of Moses from the lab, we made a multi-party agreement of a new system that we all think will actually WORK.  There is nothing more tiring than making phone call after phone call and getting vague excuses and knowing money is being embezzled while anemic children are dying.  So I am very thankful for everyone's effort today and hopeful for the future.

Thirdly, there was quite a hubub in Nyahuka last night, including two gun shots and a lot of shouting.  It turned out to be police scattering a mob who had caught a rapist in the act of harming a 12 year old girl, a well-known business man who is suspected to have AIDS.  Praising God for tough justice, for our new in-charge officer who seems to be taking this seriously.  About two hundred people were on the road around the station this morning to make sure the man was carted off to jail and not allowed to bribe his way out.  Encouraging to see people on the side of the victim, at least for now.

And last but not least, the national paper ranked ALL secondary schools today.  There were 2,231.  They were published in order of best to worst, based on exam results.  Christ School Bundibugyo ranked 403--that puts us in the top 20% (or you could look at it as the 82nd percentile) in the country.  The next best Bundi schools were below 1700 on the list (bottom quarter).  Maybe another decade to the top 10%, but given what we have to work with, pretty amazing to be where we are.

This post is a bit of a pep talk . . long week of emerging from illness and struggling with discouragement.  Good lessons from the rich book of Job:  keep engaged with God, stop trying to control the world because God is doing a much better job (God never explains much to Job, other than to show him His greatness), and pray for your friends no matter what, even if they criticize you.  At long last, trying to take those lessons to heart, and as I do, seeing God's power and mercy from dead bugs to apprehended criminals to improbable political victories.

1 comment:

harryk said...

Dear Jennifer,

Thank God for the perseverance He gave you to keep working on the oxygen concentrator so that baby’s life could be spared! Your experience shows that moths don’t just corrupt (Mat 6:19), they can try (like thieves) to steal…lives. And all of this, sadly, because of the curse that we brought on all creation (Gen 3:17; Rom 8:20-21). Maybe your rescue of the child can be a reminder of the deliverance that God provides from the curse. Thanks be to Him also for the other encouragements/victories in progress.

Harry K

P.S. Hope you all get the package soon.