Wednesday, July 25, 2012

63 and a smile

Today we saw 63 children in our inpatient pediatric ward. There were so many patients that we had to call them to the door one by one to see them.  We could not navigate through the little bed pods where we usually see them at bedside.  We had children with unusual blisters covering their body, premies on oxygen, measles, cholera, sickle cell crisis, meningitis, pneumonia and acute malnutrition.  We worked feverishly until all were seen, medicines given, fluids hung, blood transfused, electricity wiring fixed and mothers prayed with.  Exhausted, I side stepped and stepped over patients to the nurses station and asked our head nurse, Margaret how she was doing.  She smiled and said its been a great day. 
In fact everyone involved seemed to echo the same sentiment.  It is a rare and blessed day.  I looked around:  Jessica and I were both there as we work Wednesday together, both assigned nurses were there working; we had Muzafara, a nurse in training on break volunteering and doing a wonderful job, along with Isaiah, my Ugandan medical intern who will start medical school next month.  Additionally we had Night Friday, a Christ School student on break, Summer, our WHM intern and two other nurses not on duty who popped in to say hi and stayed to bail us out.  We worked hard.  We laughed, teared up and prayed together.  In the end, we were all smiling.  It is a wonderful thing to work hard together to see children healed and Jesus glorified.  Webele NHC team!

water, water everywhere, not a drop to drink...

Josh does some repairs on one of our mission rainwater harvesting tanks and the attached gutters
Today, Travis counted 59 children in the pediatric ward that has 27 metal bed frames. That means that he and the other medical workers were literally stepping over children and parents as they gave patient care.

As we have noted, this is high season for malaria, malnutrition, measles, and cholera.

While we are concerned with the current problems, we also have to be thinking ahead and preparing for the likely event of  an impending total water crisis.

Today, our water engineer teammate Josh repaired one of our mission water tanks so that we can best harvest the rainwater of this rainy season. 

Knowing that both Michael and Josh have their hands full with their water and educational ministries, I am sending out an SOS on behalf of Christ School Bundibugyo. Today,  I sent the below pleading letter to the only two men that I know who work in water missions.

So, now I plead with you too. If you know of anyone who would be willing to help with the need as described below, will you have them email me? 

Here's my letter, here's my plead: 

"I am writing to you because we may have a total water crisis on our hands in a matter of just a few weeks.

As you may know, a Chinese company has been contracted to bring the East African Highway through our remote border village through DRC to Angola. The road work has been impressive as they have truly moved mountains to bring the road here.

However, they will only move water pipes that already exist, regardless of their condition, rather than improve or at least fix broken pipes.

The road has reached Bundibugyo Town which is 16 km from our Nyahuka Town. That town has an equal population to ours, but has 5 pipes that bring water from the gravitational flow system to the town as compared to our two pipes for our town of equal population. The GFS that was laid for Nyahuka Town was laid in spurts during the war here so it is shallow and the pipes have been broken and tentatively repaired in many, many places. Our WHM's water engineer Josh Dickenson has worked in partnership with the local government and road foreman tirelessly.

But that is not why I am emailing you. They can sort out the road work water issues.

I am writing because we run Christ School Bundibugyo, a 350 student christian boarding school that will likely be in a water crisis. Currently, the school has three water tanks that receive water from the GFS. Christ School Bundibugyo has NO RAINWATER SYSTEM. No gutters. No rainwater tanks.

Already, Bundibugyo Town has been without water for 5 weeks. Cholera is rampant. Travis has 59 sick children in a 27 bed ward; he is literally stepping over children. I cannot imagine what CSB will be like without water. When the school was without water for 5 days, we had to send students home. What will we do if there is no water for 5 weeks? Likely, students will not be able to complete their school year which means no university...all due to a lack of water.

We have the knowledge (Josh Dickenson, PhD) and the manpower (trained water technicians) and the water (this IS the rainforest and it is rainy season), but we have no financial resources to put in a rainwater system.

Can you direct me to people/organizations that support water missions financially?

Thanks. As you can tell, I am truly concerned. And praying.
Amy Johnson"

Monday, July 23, 2012

never a dull moment...

The day began with a SNAP and then a series of noises of metal scraping against our concrete floor. Success! The spring trap had caught the largest rat, thus far, in this house. As he was such a beast, only part of him was caught, so he proceeded to run around the house with the trap attached to him. My heroic husband took care of the rest of him. 

After doing some katubi medicine, the remainder of the morning involved what teammate Michael best described as "thunder, rain, mud, standing water on airstrip, cloud coverage, more rain, many phone calls, up and down emotions, a window of opportunity, waiting, uncertainty, [and] an absolutely superb landing by Dallas (the Mission Aviation Fellowship pilot)." As Dallas flew circles around the airstrip, the visibility was low to nothing. That is not a good thing when the towering Rwenzori Mountains are right next to you! In his last attempt, the sky opened enough for him to fly through. Amazing.

We were happy to welcome JD Bonner and Loyd Baker, friends that were doing medical and evangelistic work in the Kampala area and whom had visited us last year. After a meal of gnut sauce and various forms of starch (posho, rice, matooke), Travis took them to the health center to see the surgery theater. It was great to catch up, talk about ministry here, and to pray together. 

Though the sun had come out for several hours today, the airstrip still had standing water and the plane gave an impressive spray as it took off. Pretty sure that is not supposed to happen! We are humbled that these supportive friends that would take such a risk and cost to come for a day to consult on a few patients here (including Travis's eye!) and bring encouragement our way. 

I only hope the rest of their flights back to America are not so eventful!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

christmas in july

When things are tough, you just have to create your own fun.
In the past two weeks, our team has: lived under the threat of border insecurity and tribal conflict, without consistent electricity, lack of water (due to tribal conflict, but now fixed), restarted the outpatient nutrition program, consistently treated 40+ sick kids in a 27 bed ward, worked to raise money for the CSB financial crisis, worked to improve the CSB farms, started paperwork for the children's library, gladly welcomed visitors and hosted interns. Additionally, Aidan has given up his pacifier which has caused some sleepless nights in our house. In an effort to keep life balanced, we decided it was time for a celebration. Welcome to Christmas in July!
Yes, that is 2 year old Aidan taking a photo...

Holiday colors abound

Chrissy's Christmas Pizza!

Beautiful decorations thanks to Pamela and her elves

That is not the Grinch that is taking the tree, rather, the party had to be moved indoors as the rains came!

Chrissy leads the "White Elephant" gift swap

Is that the Bundi Santa?

Lilli wears the Sparkle hat

Pamela opens the favorite gift

Edward proudly wears the coveted gift: the "Roll" shirt, the Dr Pepper, the almonds, and the sunglasses!

murals, chalk, and preschool days

Summer paints a mural on the pediatric ward of the local health center

Inspired by Bear Grylls, Lilli creates a contraption to get her toy off the roof.

Chalk Time on the mission's basketball court

Who likes Mac n Cheese? We do! Interns babysit the kids. 

Emily and Aidan are exhausted after a big day of preschool!

Finch is so cute!

luke and steven

I took this pic on the sly. Each missionary kid that has returned here for a visit, has immediately gone to the back yard and hopped on this wall, including Luke Myhre. It holds a lot of memories for so many.

Travis with Luke and Steven (Luke's friend from RVA days)

A fun dinner with college students keeps us young!

These guys share a special Bundi-bond

police cars, flying suits, and tents

There was (and still is) tribal conflict so the government sent police to impose a curfew and to prevent more violence.   This truck is parked in Nyahuka Town and several more are in Bundi Town. The conflict resulted in injuries, one reported death, and a cut water line to town. Praying for peace...

On Tuesdays, Travis does ultrasounds on women referred by the midwives. After several scans that showed no heartbeats, the Nurse Monica asked Travis to do an ultrasound of her belly. He had to tell her that he did not see a baby...but TWO babies! We celebrated with her last week as she has now delivered two healthy girls.

Happy to spend time with Bahati who is in nursing school with the plan to return here to serve this community!

Lilli took candy to share with neighbor kids. When she was overcomes by pushing hands, she decide to organize things a bit! She required them to get in a line and not push. What a girl!

I found Aidan with a small tool from Travis's office fixing his boda boda

Lilli invented a suit that allowed her to fly from the top of her bunk (complete with a large balloon on her back and safety goggles).

Aidan and Gladys

Camping out in our back yard (until the biting safari ants invaded!)

debra, mitch, abel, lydia

It was with great enthusiasm that we all greeted our friends Debra and Mitch Wills and their friends Abel and Lydia. We first met Debra when we went to WHM's Sending Center for our Assessment with WHM. She and Mitch made us feel so welcomed and have become dear friends. We were delighted to host them when they came to see their friends Lydia and Abel in Uganda. After 12 hours of travel on public transportation (read: super crowded minivan on really bad roads), they were happy to unload their bags and join us for a dinner of Ugandan food.
They Arrived!

Aidan and Finch welcome them with "trumpets"!

Hearing Debra and Mitch's first impressions of Africa

Christine Isingoma also traveled with them. We are always happy when she comes to Bundi.

Abel, Lydia, Mitch, and Debra

Pizza Night Dinner with our visitors included Edward testing the heat of the fire.

Grateful for the opportunity to host Debra and Mitch!