What a time to “channel” my inner Due…..4:30am in Mbarara, Uganda. My Grampus would get up this early every morning, and my Granny Due still does. They both have said that it is the best time of the day to get things done and to be alone with God. Now I have seen 4:30 am many times, but not too many that were a voluntary roll out of the rack. Most of the 4:30 ams that I have seen were down the stretch of a night shift in the ER. In the case of the last 3 hours of an overnight ER shift, 4:30 am is not the most productive time of the day! Today, I have awakened, and cannot go back to sleep, so I will do a little blogging to be “productive.”
We had an interesting Monday. We got up early to go to Mulago to see Joseph prior to his biopsy. He was very withdrawn and quiet. I am not sure if this is how he deals with his pain, or if he associates us with pain, but he has not been in a good mood the last two times we have seen him. He was first on the schedule, so we anticipated that he would have this biopsy done around 9:00 am. But because there were no anesthetists available, it did not start until around noon. I have to admit, it is a little awkward to try to hang out with a 5 year old and his father when the boy is clammed up and won’t even look at you, and the father can’t speak any English. I was trying to communicate with Ellya (Joseph’s father), and looking for Joseph’s CT folder, when a guy showed up, out of nowhere, named Peter. He was a nice gentleman, that spoke very good English and evidently the father of the patient in the bed next to Joseph. He stayed there at the bedside and let me explain everything to Ellya. These things, obviously, had not been adequately explained before, because Ellya acted like he had no idea. I told him that the surgery on that day would be just a biopsy and not a big surgery. I told him that Joseph would likely go home on Tuesday or Wednesday. I informed him that Dr. Tumweheire Greg (TG) thought that this was a Burkitt’s Lymphoma, and if the biopsy proved that, Joseph would be scheduled for chemotherapy that would last about 4 months. Ellya was concerned about how he would finance the back and forth trips to Mulago from Mytiana. I reassured him that he would need to work through the local pastor, Robert, to get this done. I am not convinced that Peter was not an angel, on call to help me translate this information to Ellya.
We also got a chance to visit and hang out with Jamil and his uncle Joseph. Jamil does not speak much English, but is eager to interact non-verbally and play with the kids.
His uncle Joseph does speak some English, so we are able to navigate a shallow conversation with them. We took them to the canteen for some breakfast, and hung out for a little while in their room. I was hoping that his doctor would make rounds, while I was there, so that I could see his operated eye without the dressing on it. We were needing to leave at 11:15, to get ready to leave for Mbarara, so we did not see Dr. Agaba.
Holly, our US friend that we met in Mytiana, came to stay at Mulago during the procedure for Joseph. She and her husband took the pathology specimens to a private lab. This was recommended by Dr. TG, as if we had left the specimen at Mulago, it could take 3 weeks for results. As of this morning, Joseph is still in the hospital, and I am “supposed to” receive a pathology report via email. I will then try to contact Dr. TG to pass along this information. Holly’s team from the US that was staying in Mytiana, is leaving tonight, so our contact and work with Joseph will mainly be orchestrated through Pastor Robert, from this point forward.
So Monday turned into a really long day. After leaving Mulago, we rushed home to get our things packed for a 9 day trip in SW Uganda, that starts in Mbarara, takes us to Rwanda, and then back to Kampala on May 9th. We were supposed to leave at 2:00 pm, so that we could travel in daylight and arrive in time for dinner. David needed to get a few last minute things done on the van, including getting an insurance sticker on the van. His last minute preparations ended up in a cascade of repairs, regulations and requirements, that once completed, it was 9:30 pm before we left Kampala. We arrived in Mbarara at about 2:30 am. We unloaded and scurried to our rooms for some “quick sleep”, before heading out for our clinic later that Tuesday morning.
The clinic on Tuesday was awesome. The landscape in this area of Uganda is like a postcard.
Everything is green with some small mountains, many cows, and tons of banana trees. We saw 160 children, in a pretty busy clinic, then drug our sleep deprived-selves back to the hotel about 6:00 pm. I am sad that we will only have 2 days here. Mbarara is 4-5 hours from Kampala, so it is a fairly rural city. We are driving out 40 minutes from Mbarara to this small school, so it is definitely Nat Geo country, and the health care need is great. This would be a great place to do a 1-2 week short term trip in the future. We are only going to be able to see the school kids and not the community, because we have to get to Rugungiri on Friday. Pastor Joseph, whom I met working in Uganda last January, is from Mbarara. He is coming to have dinner with us tonight, and our team is supposed to see his church and projects on Thursday morning before we are required to leave for our next destination.
So other than messed up sleep schedules, our 9 day tour to SW Uganda has started well. We look forward to all that God has for us this week, but we also look forward to next week when Tendo has her surgery scheduled at Mulago, and Madison joins us. Madison Donica is a student at OSU in pre-med. She was a part of our team that went to Uganda last summer. She will be staying with our family for the rest of the summer, and flying home with us in July.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support. We have passed the half-way point of our 6 months here. At times, it seems like we just got here. At other times, it seems like longer than 3 months. We love Uganda and the work that God has for us here. We also love our family and friends back home. We look forward to seeing you in July.