Today was our first rural mission of our trip this summer. Ironically, we started in the same place that we did in February of last year, Kachungwa. Kachungwa is a small village, in Nat Geo Nowhere that is about 15 miles out of a slightly bigger town named Mubende. You might remember me reporting “Our Toughest Day Yet” from that location last year. Our 2012 trip to Kachungwa was our hardest day, because we had a young girl that we cared for at the clinic and transported to the Mubende hospital, only to have her pass away because they did not have the medicines and blood that she desperately needed.
To quote the great American philosopher, Yogi Berra, “It was like Déjà vu all over again”! We saw 332 patients today, and I have to admit it was not as stressful as last year, I think mainly because I knew my way around Ugandan medicine a little better. Our team jumped in and did jobs that they probably would not have felt comfortable with. Jonathan Treat was working in the lab and running HIV tests. David Treat was helping a nurse with IV tubing and medicines as she started life saving medicines on children. April Berry was seeing and treating patients and probably was able to feel more spleens than she will in her whole career as an advanced practicing nurse in the US. Kyle Mueller helped me diagnose a heart dysrhythmia and was handy in the pharmacy. He got a quick lesson in what a “sick kid” looks like. Five children were especially sick out of this large group. Three were able to be cared for at our clinic, and allowed to go home. The other two, Prossy and Anita were deemed too ill and likely severely anemic, so Jill went with our Ugandan friend Jonathan to take them to the hospital. The same hospital that did not have the blood and meds to treat our little patient last year.
As Jonathan and Jill drove to the hospital, Adrene, Prossy’s Mom, stated she needed a miracle. They shared with her that our God is in the business of miracles. She said Amena. She proceeded to share that she is born again, but her husband is not, so she was unable to attend church, even though she would like to. Jill requested that Jonathan ask her if she had a Bible. She did not, but stated that she wished she did. After our two patients were checked in at the hospital and settled with their moms, Jill and Jonathan decided to stop by a bookstore to purchase Adrene a Bible, in her native language. They had talked with her and shared that their prayer was that she could continue in her walk, with the Lord, by being in the Word. 1 Peter 3:1-2 states, “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. We pray by her example her husband, Alex, will come to see Christ in her and come to know the Lord as well.
After our clinic day, we went by the hospital to check on our little friends. I had a sick feeling in my stomach as we approached the hospital as this was the exact scene from 15 months ago playing out. This time our new friends were still living, but they were desperately anemic. Their hemoglobin (amount of red blood cells to carry oxygen) was 3.3 and 3.0. Normal would be above 12, and even in Uganda, a transfusion is recommended at 6. But the same problem remained, they have no blood in Mubende. As our whole team rolled up our sleeves, simultaneously, they informed us that we could not donate blood and it be given to a patient. The blood has to be processed and obtained from the national blood bank at Mulago hospital, 3 hours away. The room did light up as Adrene received her bible and immediately began reading it.
It really was not a tough decision. Generous Due Unto Others supporters have helped us to purchase a van and fuel, how could we not expend the energy to take these two kids on a potentially lifesaving trip down the bumpy highways of Uganda? So after a quick bite of dinner, we left Mubende at 8:00pm with hopes that we could be back by 3:00am or so in the morning.
When we arrived at Mulago, we were greeted by a room full of sick children and a nurse informing us that there was almost no blood in all of Uganda. With the help of our new team member, Dr. Louis, we got the two girls checked in. As they reviewed their charts from Mubende, it was noted that they did have some blood for Prossy and Anita will hopefully have some by Thursday am. Please join us in praying for these two girl’s health and that they get a speedy blood transfusion. Alex gets some blood too…..the blood of Jesus!
1 in 5 Ugandan children die before their 5th birthday. What if we helped That One (or two) Persons?