Thursday, March 26, 2009

for northern uganda/ "come to Me all who are weary and I will give you rest"

seeking truth seeing truth and there you are - I cried for you I danced for you I waited outside in the rain for you and here we are. you were a song of great discovery of a crying out and heard a beating of the ground of dirt and pain of a great big happening - an all too familiar round and round rejoice.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

not much to report here.

working on the EPOH bags -- looking for/cutting fabric, thread, zippers, rows and rows of lining, getting measurements, writing guidelines, inquiring about screen printing, waiting and praying for our artisans.

The SUUBI ladies are always. making us laugh until the tears flow. I can't imagine life without them. They are too good for me. Teaching me about life and love..and other mysteries. I am blessed.

There's a lot on our hearts and minds.
But not much to write.

Mom, sometimes January seems to far away.
I miss you the most -- may God bless you in ways you never thought were possible.

Love you all so much,

Saturday, March 14, 2009

this boy/creature/tick/fool/kymbi is real

The past few days have been extremely trying and exhausting. They’ve also been blessed and eye-opening. Our house girl/friend (Betty)’s son Kymbi has been suffering from fibril convulsions – meaning that he convulses when his temperature gets to a certain level, which can come on quite abruptly. The only reliable doctor in town says he has 70% virus throughout his blood stream, which is incredible. This situation would be terrifying enough in America, but here in Uganda, this scenario takes on a whole new form.

Ugandan doctors have been telling Betty that Kymbi has malaria, like they tell everyone - it's like malaria is literally the only disease they know about. It’s so incredibly frustrating, especially when they don’t even test for malaria. They just pump people full of the meds for it. When Kymbi started having this second wave of convulsions (after over a month of none), we took him to Vithi Medical Center, which is Ugandan run. After a horrible experience of the doctors jabbing at Kymbi with needles trying to find a vain just so they could hook him up to a Glucose IV, which was not necessary at all, and after them openly admitting that they didn’t know what they were doing, we decided to take him to Dr. Debbie, an Australian doctor whose office is near the Children’s Hospital here in Jinja. She’s the one who told us about he viral infection and told us what to do about it – namely, we can’t do much but let his immune system take care of it, and pray…a lot.

What makes matters more difficult is that Betty is having such a hard time trusting anyone. Her father is telling her to go to the Ugandan doctors, we’re telling her otherwise, and she just doesn’t know what to do. She is impressionable as it is, and basically listens to whatever some one tells her, even if she disagrees.

For me, I want the best for Kymbi and so forced Dr. Debbie upon Betty. But I can’t help but think about how many Ugandans have unreliable information about their sick child or loved one. It makes me feel incredibly blessed to have access to good medical care back home. But still, what about the people here?

As I sat in line with Betty at the Children’s Hospital (where she took Kymbi even though we told her not to!) waiting for some one to see us, there was a line of about 20 women and their babies. I thought of the wrong-headed information they would probably get, and how much they would suffer because of it.

There is so much more to it than this, and so much more that I feel, but I can’t quite articulate it. But please pray for us, for Kymbi and Betty, and for whatever else you happen to think about. Peace. - jt

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I've been thinking a lot about whether I should write to you all about a certain burden that has been on my heart or if I should just keep it to myself so as not to discourage people from helping or caring for people here in Uganda...especially in northern Uganda. And I do not want to knock the selflessness of all those who give. but truly --my intentions with this note to you all is to ENCOURAGE you to think outside the box to get creative to help someone in a way that will LAST.
Every time I walk down main street here in Jinja town I usually see a white SUV with some sort of NGO logo plastered on the side of it. I remember when I was up north seeing huge tents that had WFP (world food program) on them. Whenever I meet a new mzungu they always ask what organization I am volunteering with because why else would white people be in Uganda? It's everywhere. In northern Uganda people are feeling secure enough to leave the displaced camps they have been living in for the past many years but most are not going to leave because of the security that they find in food/clothes/school fees being handed to them. They fear going back to there lands because they might not have food. The Acholi people are not beggars they are hardworking people but because of the war and being forced out of there villages they have become beggars and I think with all the aid/hand outs/ ngo's they will continue to be beggers -- they will rely on mzungus so much that they will become lazy.

I don't want this for the Acholi people.. I don't want this for the Ugandan people.
I want to bring market to them..I want to offer them skills and new ideas so they can learn to once again sustain themselves. this is where I think SUUBI and the new EPOHbags project comes in.
pray for change, friends.
pray for... something...

Friday, March 6, 2009

hi friends, it's me, Melissa, because Joe doesn't update ever. He likes people to think he's mysterious or something. : )

I really don't have much to say.
Just trying really hard to not miss my mom and family so much. and trying extremely hard to not get drained or burdened by all the sad stories we hear and walls are being built on our end and I hate that. But I don't have any money -- I wish I did. I wish that I could offer the ugandan people more -- whether it would be for their own good or not.

I hear about how the american economy is crashing and how people are losing jobs and how its a big deal there and I'm sad for america I really am but it's been happening here for a long ride around on bikes hoping to give people rides to town or to home or to anywhere just for a few shillings and thats their job. And I honetly think they are just thankfull for a job. maybe america needs to get creative? maybe we should all find new ways of working and being thankfull.

I'm not in america though and I haven't been for six months so I really don't know everything. maybe this is why joe doesn't update...we really dont know what were talking about.

anyways I'm going to go cut fabric for the new EPOH bags and probably scare joe with my louis armstrong impression (that always seems to lighten our hearts).

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

hello from cloudy jinja town!
rainy season is here friends!

Today Joe and I decided that we were going to visit some of the new members. We started out looking for Caroline's house. Caroline has been asking us for the past two weeks to visit her so we decided that we HAD to make time to see her. (Visiting is a very important part of the SUUBI group and Joe and I haven't had much time to visit lately so it was nice to spend some quality time with some of the members...especially the new ones.) As we were searching for her house in Walukaba (where all the homes look the same) we stumbled upon baby Melissa's home -- she was sleeping but her mom who is a hoot and a half was there. We talked with her for a bit and then we continued with our search. we wandered in people yards a bit asking whoever we saw if they new Caroline and finally we found Immaculate another new member who was more than excited to show us where Caroline lived. With a baby on her hip Immaculate laughed and giggled the entire way to Caroline's. (It made me realize how important it is to visit these women -- they enjoy spending time with us so much -- I love it!) When we reached Carline's house she was in the backyard and immediatly greeted us and took us inside. She introduced us to her brother in-law (Simon) and her 6 year old son (Innocence). And then of course I asked if I could help her make necklaces (one of my favorite things to do) she brought out two boxes full of beads and Joe and I started making and talking to Simon while Caroline dissapeared to the back. After about 5 minutes Joe looked over at me and said "she just showered for us". We laughed and thought it was so funny that she showered for us. She was clean when we greeted her...these ladies are so sweet! She then came in and asked us what soda we wanted of course we declined and she insisted which is how it goes most times. The brother in-law had left at this point and her son was leaving to go back to school (lunch break was over). I asked Caroline what she did this morning aand she said nothing.. that she usually has nothing to do. She proceeded to tell us that her husband does not allow her to do any work except for house work and that she was thankful for SUUBI because it gave her something to do for herself. That she can sell her necklaces and have her very own money to spend because her husband does not give her any. I was heartbroken to hear about her husbands "rules" but happy for her that we could give her something -- She wants to open a bank account (which is something that Amberle started for us. We are gathering information and pictures and LC letters to open FINCA account for our ladies who want them...It's a beautiful thing) but Caroline's husband will not allow her to have one -- he won't even allow her to go to English class somedays. I just want to shake this man. I never thought I would come to Africa to empower women but SUUBI has inspired Caroline to not sit back. She is going to have a FINCA account, she is coming to english, she has her own money. she's not backing down ... I am so proud of her. God is faithfull and will continue to provide for her -- He will continue to strengthen her because as much as I love this woman.. He loves her so much more HALLELUJAH!
we finished our sodas and necklaces at caroline's and then we continued to Danida to meet with Doreen and her family see if her mother had finished the prototype for the new EPOH bags. (She wasn't finished but me oh my it's looking good!) I absolutely love Doreen's sister (Sidi) she is BEAUTIFUL and so humble...she is about 12 and doesn't go to school because she has responsibilities and home (taking care of Doreen).. and her mother can't afford for all the children to go to school anyways. I am praying and thinking and wondering how I can help this family.. how we can get Doreen AND Sidi back in school without just giving them the money.

please continue to pray with us and for us and for these beautiful Acholi people.
love and peace, Melissa