- Written by Kimberly Pepmiller Kimberly Pepmiller
- Created: 19 August 2015 19 August 2015
Uganda is a tropical, lush country with lots of foliage. There are trees, bushes, flowers and crops. The dirt is very red in texture and fertile for growing. The thunderstorm that passed through last night only contributed to country’s beauty.
Our transportation here has been a 25-passenger bus. However, most villagers walk, especially women. Children and men ride bicycles, and quite a few men do transport on motorcycles. All large vehicles seem to be commercial and used for business purposes. We have seen just a few cars in Lira, but on the trip to the clinic there are only commercial vehicles. This morning we stopped along the way to pick up the cooks and their families who make our lunch. However, there were approximately thirty people waiting along the side of the road for a ride to the clinic. Pastor James had to discern how many could fit in our bus. This was a tough decision for him! The atmosphere was tense and tight on the bus after this, but within a couple minutes Pastor James began to sing and all of a sudden, all of the women joined in African spiritual songs. This music was joyful, lifted the spirits of everyone on the bus, and made the thirty-minute ride pass quickly. Not a soul got off the bus until the last note was sung, and then Pastor James prayed in his tribal tongue. What an amazing way to start the morning!
When we arrived there were 300+ people waiting for us at the clinic site. They were spread all over the grounds, and the armed security guards remained in place who had watched over the supplies and clinic site over night. Villagers heard we were coming from radio announcements and traveled up to 100 kilometers to come to the clinic. Amazing the need! While we were setting up the rooms for the clinic, Pastor James led the crowd in spiritual songs, and by the volume, many Ugandan Christians were singing along. This gave a wonderful impression that we're serving many Christians.
Kimberly with her special buddy: Pastor James' middle son, Molotude Gary
We tried a new numbering system today to help with the flow of the clinic and to prevent line cutting. This went a bit better than yesterday. Nelly worked a different job today. She served as a scribe at a vitals station. It felt like a special blessing to work up close with so many patients, and she shared Tic Tacs with all of the children—a special treat from her! Kimberly spent the day taking vital signs and doing triage off and on. The flow of the clinic moved at a faster pace today, so we had less time to interact with the patients. As a team, we saw 435 patients. Quite a number of patients shared experiences with witch doctors, each of which resulted with them having significant physical maladies. There is one woman who had her foot amputated after receiving treatment for charms to be removed from her body. Another man presented with burn marks on his body due to the LRA trying to burn him alive. There were several patients with very large growths on the neck and legs. A child presented with sickle cell anemia and a large pressure ulcer that has deteriorated the skin down to the bone. Many patients today came back positive for malaria.
After the vital and triage station closed, we hung out with the villagers who had not yet left. There were many families today, so opportunity presented itself to hold some babies, and we took full advantage. The women are always very friendly and happy to have us hold their children, but due to the language barrier, it is impossible to converse. We've barely learned to say how are you ("kopango") to start a conversation and thank you ("apwoyo") to end a conversation. We're in a Lango region where the villagers speak Luo to converse between tribes, but in this part of northern Uganda the dialect spoken is Leb-Lango.
A little humor: While writing this blog on Tuesday night, a rat to rival any in Haiti ran through the outdoor lobby of the hotel. You have never seen so many mzungu run and scream (Kimberly was the loudest and ran the furthest, leaving her precious backpack—which never gets left anywhere—to the mercy of the rat, while the Ugandans calmly reacted. A few subtle head shakes were noted. We'll leave out the gory details, but the rat was removed and the blog writing continued.
In our devotion tonight we sang "Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness." Some have said there is much darkness in Africa, but there is also much light and beauty. It's great to see what God is doing here in Africa!
“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness”, “mercy”, “loyalty”, “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself,” active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?