After Patton's graduation from kindergarten, pack up and travel out of Bundi, 24 hours of a nasty stomach bug for PJ and Aidan, way too many near-misses in Kampala traffic, some great meals in the city, grocery shopping for the next 2 months, vaccination shots at 2 different hospitals, and a dinner with new SIL friends, we have our bags packed and are ready for a week of family vacation. After a very full and often intense few weeks (ok, months), we are ready for a little break. Travis did a great job of summing up the drama of tribal conflict, border insecurity, broken waterlines, famine and malnutrition, intern hosting, and CSB financial crises in a letter to our supporters:
"It has been a crazy couple of weeks here. Thanks for your concern about the ebola outbreak. We are safe, though the outbreak is in our neighboring district. Pray for those suffering with the infection and for those who lost their loved ones. Pray that the church can respond well with the hope of Jesus. In addition to ebola, so much more has been happening these past weeks. I firmly believe it is the prayers of believers that has protected us from significant calamity.
Over the past 4 weeks, there has been tribal conflict. The king of one tribe moved a shrine into the territory of the other. Fighting broke out and many of our friends were affected. Thankfully there has been peace for the past week, but tensions are high and people are worried. Be praying for all of our friends in Bundi. It is rumored that President Musevini will be coming to help settle the conflict.
There have been rumblings of the ADF rebel militia regrouping across the border in the DRC, and another renegade militia threatening to "liberate" towns just across the river.
Additionally, we have had significant problems on our district's waterlines. Due to progress of the incoming road, Bundibugyo Town has been without water for 6 weeks now. The main waterline to Nyahuka Town was purposely sabotaged during the fighting . As a result, there is a cholera outbreak. Thankfully, there has not yet been a death in our local health center. However, there have been several at the district health center in Bundibugyo Town. Dr Josh, our WHM water engineer has been busy working with the lines that are affected by both the road and the vandalization. Currently, waterflow is restored in our village but not in the main town. Our village continues to grow in population and is beyond the current systems capacity. With the insecurity across the border, it is possible the population could grow rapidly. We have been seeking ways to partner with the local government. Pray that a District Water Board will soon be running and effective.
It is also "famine" season. Despite the rich soil and bountiful rainfall, every year food is low in June and July. This has to do with the cacao season and the government calendar. Cacao is in its flowering season and so cocoa beans cannot be sold. The government is at the end of the fiscal year and many salaries have not been paid. Not may people in the area grow nutritious food. Typically, people buy beans, porridge, matoke or rice in the market. Without money, they eat the casava roots and yams that grow on their land. These have minimal to no nutritional value. As a result, children on the borderline of malnutrition fall into moderate acute malnutrition. With the breakage of the waterline and the change of the rainy season, diarrhea illnesses and malaria abound. Children with moderate malnutrition get sick and fall into severe acute malnutrition. This past week we have admitted a dozen children who are swollen with skin peeling on the verge of starving to death. These are the ones that have made it to our door. Dr. Jessica and I have been busy in the Paediatric ward treating patients. We have had mattresses strewn across the floor for the past month, so we are literally stepping over children to treat them. Jess and Chrissy restarted the outpatient malnutrition program last week in hopes to catch children before they are on the brink of death. They spend time educating the parents, sharing the gospel and giving food supplements.
Christ School Bundibugyo is also facing difficulties. Over $15,000 of school fees have not paid by families this term because of the above problems. We are struggling to pay teachers and buy food for the students. The Orphan Scholarship program needs 16 sponsors. Many of you have received a letter from our teammate Michael regarding the financial needs. He has been hard at work telling the story of this key ministry. We are so thankful for the response you are giving to his letter.
So, please be praying for us. Pray for us to faithfully be God's hands of mercy with our water systems and medicine. Pray we can have avenues of peacemaking and reconciliation through sharing the gospel in the complex relationships between families and tribes. Pray for the students and teachers who are beginning the last term of the schoolyear. Pray we see where Jesus is working and join Him."
We are thankful for a team that works so hard to serve and love. It was especially moving to see so many of them to cheer on our kids at their RMS Graduation and Olympics. As we are far away from our families, these teammates act as surrogate aunts and uncles and our kids are like adopted nephews and niece to them.
We look forward to a rest...see ya in a week!
|Collegiate athlete and summer intern Summer teaches the kids how to high jump|
|Intern Emily with Kymigisha Harriet|
|It's "Take Your Goat to School" Day|
|Lilli begins the RMS Olympics with the lighting of the torch|
|The RMS IOC|
|Olympic Jump Rope Competition|
|A new addition to the Games: Olympic "Squeeze the water into the next bucket"|
|A combined effort.|
|A member of the winning team|
|Summer was obviously the Long Jump Champion|
|The road out of Nyahuka Town has not been graded in over 2 years|
|The first part of tarmac on the flat part of the new road|
|Catching replays of the Olympic highlights online|