Suzanne and I are at Emin Pasha, a lovely hotel we’ve spent a good bit of time enjoying over the years. We’re doing a “spa day” which bascially means we paid 60,000 shillings for lunch, a pedicure, and the ability to use the hotel and pool all day. Plus power for charging things and the internet! Not too bad! Here’s where we’re sitting:
The last few days were challenging and very exhausting. I’ll start with Monday.
We left for Bukaleba at 10:30 and got there in about an hour. We went first to the primary school and visited each of the 3 classes, P1-P3. They all did their “Welcome Visitor” recitation for us, which is pretty funny. Here are the classes.
After this, we went to the babies home. There is a brand new manager, who was thrown into the fire because the former manager never showed up to train her. So she (Sarah) is doing her best to figure things out as she goes. The main concern is that the babies aren’t doing well, including Marvin (who isn’t technically a “baby” but is still with the babies because of his development). The former manager had set the menu to give these children (all about 10 mos – 18 mos) cow’s milk and porridge only, and they aren’t thriving (for obvious reasons). Godfrey was going to pick up some of the high protein mash in Kampala and get formula from a woman in Jinja who specializes in malnourished children. If Marvin and two of the three triplets that we met last May don’t seem improved in a week, Godfrey will take them to that lady for nursing.
It was hard to get photos because they were all in a narrow room. But in this last picture, the baby on the left looks EXACTLY the same as she did last May. She’s one of the triplets. She’s at least 14 mos old, if not more. Her sister, in the middle is in the same situation, although she’s a bit healthier. The other triplet is doing better. Jacob, with the bat, looks good. He’s the baby that I got to name, that was found in a trash can. Marvin is the one standing in the top picture. He’s at least 4… He was extremely malnourished when he got to the babies home, and still is having trouble. He also had malaria at our visit so he wasn’t well.
We ate lunch and visited the new office, then went to the secondary school, visiting some of the classrooms, the new dorms, and talking with the headmaster. They have about 165 boarding students there now, and it’s going well. We got back to the guesthouse at about 5:30 (no internet).
At 8am on Tuesday, James, the driver for Hospice Jinja, picked me and all my stuff and we went to the office. After worship, prayer and a meeting, I set out with Dr. Patricia (one of the married, retired Irish doctors who come spend a month twice a year volunteering at hospice), Beatrice, Metrice, and Esther and James took us out into Luuka district. WAY out… We were far. We saw over dozen patients, both in their homes and at clinics. I also got to experience my first “mad man.” I don’t like to take many pictures of hospice patients – I wouldn’t want people to take pictures of me! – but I have a few. I’ll caption them.
The road back to Jinja was ENDLESS, bumpy and hot. We hadn’t had lunch or any bathroom breaks, and everyone was exhausted. We got back to the office at 4:20, and at 4:30 James and I left for Tororo. The 1 1/2 hr drive took 2 1/2, thanks to road construction, but we got there, dropped my stuff, and I had a nice dinner with Rinty, who runs Hospice Tororo. I crashed after a freezing cold shower!
No power, and it was dark when I woke, but I had a nice breakfast and tea with Michaella at the guesthouse before the 3 of us walked to the hospital, where Hospice Tororo is. I have no pictures from there, as I didn’t want to walk around the hospital taking pictures. We saw three patients on the wards in the morning: a very emaciated woman with HIV (next to her was an old woman that couldn’t have weighed 70 lb… she looked like the old pictures of Ethiopia); a middle aged woman with HIV; and an old man dying of prostate cancer. He was about 80 lb, and had horrible bedsores. His grandson has been caring for him and is doing a great job, and he has a private room, which is helfpul. There are about 40 people per ward, otherwise, and it’s very grim. Honestly, to me, it looked like half the people there should be in hospice!
We had a good and very cheap lunch at the hospital (2000 shilling, or about 70 cents, for a full plate of beans, rice, chapati and greens). The driver was 1 1/2 hrs late getting to Tororo, so we left at 2:30 instead of 1pm, got our stuff, and headed back. We dropped Rinty in Jinja, and then kept going to Kampala. The “4 hour” drive took 6 hr and 15 min, was hot, frustrating and way too long! And I didn’t get dinner… I got back to Fathers House at 8:45, had tea, and crashed. No power, there, either, but there had been for about 2 hrs earlier so at least the shower was lukewarm.
So that’s my week! Emotionally and mentally, not to mention physically, it’s been quite challenging, so I’m very glad for this day off. Tomorrow I meet a new friend for coffee, then go to Ray of Hope to review the women we met last week and go over business plans. Saturday is the party, then Sunday I head back! Hard to believe!
Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers!