Thursday, January 26, 2012

Malaria is no stranger here

Day 7 in Uganda
We stayed up until almost 4am this morning so I slept until around 11.  I heard the choir already practicing. Momma Nabakalu brought us a cup of tea. Christie fed Josiah and handed him to me so she could go to the restroom.  I burped him and when I did, he spit up on my shirt so I went to my room to change out of my pajamas. As I left out of my room I saw Momma Nabakalu’s daughter, Mbode (Bo-day), laying in Ritah’s bed. I told her good morning and she slowly got up. She was not her normal spunky self. In fact, she was acting a little delirious. Children just don’t lay around in bed. Even at 4 years old they hand wash their own clothes. So I felt her back and forehead. She was burning up with a fever. Christie asked Momma Nabukalu if she had given her anything for her fever, because we didn't want to give her something, too.  Momma Nabukalu said she had already given her Coartem.  Coartem is a drug used to treat malaria.  Christie feels that every child should be tested positive for malaria before medicine to treat it is given, but it was too late in this situation.  So we just had to go from there.  We couldn’t find Josiah’s thermometer, but I found her some Tylenol and Christie picked her up and carried her to the clinic to see if they had one. Good thing we had Tylenol because the clinic is low on medicines (no one has donated for those), so they didn’t even have Panadol (their equivalent to Tylenol).  I waited impatiently as to know what was going on. Minutes later Christie came up the porch steps with her undressed. She took her to the bathroom and ran cold water into the basin. She took a sponge and filled it with cold water and rubbed it on Mbode’s little body. Her fever started to break. Mbode started smiling so I knew she was getting back to her own self again. Christie brought her to sit in her lap to make sure she was going to be alright. I laid Josiah on the floor and Mbode came over to play with him. Thank God she was feeling better. Brian brought me some fresh pineapple. When I finished I gave the rest to Mbode. Christie poured the rest of hers into the bowl along with mine. Mbode looked up at Christie so sweetly. I love these children.

A guy from the UK visited today. His name was David Russo. He is a retired teacher and had a choir/dance team from Uganda that toured the UK.  He wants to travel with us when the choir tours the United States. “These kids are amazing”, he said. We are going to meet in Kampala and have lunch and talk about our plans for the choir. We want to learn from their mistakes (the group is no longer together) as well as their best practices.  I watched the choir practice for a while and headed back home. We had lunch and prepared for the community meeting. There were at least 75 people in the tiny church. It was mostly women, very few men. School starts on Monday. George told them he wanted them to contribute something for the school, since their children’s fees are paid. You don’t want to just give handouts. You want people to work for things, even if it is just a little. They expressed their concerns for the pit latrine. With 250 students there is only one latrine. They wanted to bring more children to be profiled, but they don’t have the room for more. Only when a student doesn’t show up or moves, will another position be open for a new student. George also let the parents know that there are some parents being dishonest about the clothes. He said they take the new clothes off the kids and send them here or when they hear the van coming they change and run outside with rags on. Last year they had a problem with parents not sending their children to school with their new shoes on. So he encouraged them to make them wear them. Last they told the husbands to be here on Saturday to start laying the foundation for the clinic. They are sending the local council out to all the homes to notify them. It is a must. No more children should die from preventable diseases.  When the meeting was over, the choir performed for everyone.  I recorded a lot of the dances but I could hear the men and women behind me reacting as they saw their children and others from the village dancing.  The choir has been practicing for almost a year, but some of the parents had never come to the church to see what his/her child was doing.  

Christie, Wilson, and I prepared the soap, salt, sugar, diaper, and underwear we told Momma Lydia we would bring her. We loaded up in the van. We looked back and all the kids from the house were going with us. I held Josiah in the front seat. We headed down the dirt road. We waved at the people along the way. They aways scream out Mzungu. They see Christie driving and they think it is the funniest thing. Not many women drive around here. We turned left up the small foot hill. It was almost dark outside. When we reached the home of Momma Lydia, all the kids came running out. I held Josiah out the window so they could see him. One of the older boys grabbed him. Momma Lydia approached with her baby girl. When she saw Josiah she passed her baby to one of her kids and grabbed him. She just smiled. We gave them all the things we had brought them. They were so thankful. Christie put the diaper on the baby girl. The diaper was almost too small. We joked around with them for a little while and we headed back home. The power was on so we got our baths. Momma Nabakalu had supper ready. She had cooked some noodles but no sauce. So Christie and I had some Ramen noodles instead. Tomorrow we plan on going the market.


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