Working On The Storage Building

Work began on a storage building, for storing crops and other things. We already had framework and a concrete slab there, so this week the guys have been busy putting on the roof and building the walls. All of this is right outside my bedroom window and these guys carry on all day! Thankfully I am up by the time they get here!

We also have guys here re-doing all of our solar and adding solar to other buildings. It’s been a busy week!

And You Think Your Healthcare Is Bad

We had been here about a month and Christian and I got pretty sick. Stomach and head, and just felt like we got hit by a mac truck. All of our international friends convinced us after a week of this to go to a Doctor. The moment I had dreaded and prayed we wouldn’t have to do after hearing all the nightmare stories of hospitals and clinics here. So we went to a clinic we were told was the better of clinics. It was dirty, we were put in an office that had exposed framing with empty soda bottles sitting on 2×4’s. There was a desk and an exam table and barely room for two chairs. The exam table had no sterile paper on top, just ripped up vinyl with the stuffing exposed. Now, I am known to freak out over germs – real germs or the ones that I make up in my mind, but I was so sick by this point that I started laying over to stretch out all the while my husband was saying “Don’t do it”! I couldn’t help it, I didn’t have the strength to sit up while waiting on lab work to come back. Lab work – blood drawn and sample taken and someone on a bicycle took it to a lab somewhere. Finally, after what seemed like forever, the results came back. My and Christians blood tests came out almost exactly the same but the “Dr” said he wasn’t sick but I was dehydrated and and HPelori. But why did we have the same symptoms? He didn’t know but Christian was definitely not sick. Hmmm. So I was hooked up to IV’s – medicine and fluids for dehydration, which was terrifying in itself. After about 3 hours of this visit we were finally given a diagnosis of the flu (which our Dr in America confirmed after emailing him the blood test results. He also told me that the “treatment” give for the HPelori was not really the correct treatment) I was told to come back in the morning and get more IV’s, which I did. Then we were given about 3 antibiotics and antacid liquid because I was told all my stomach pain was from ulcers. I’m pretty sure I was not having stomach pain, just a little diarrhea from the flu. It was not an experience I wanted to repeat.

I have learned some more about these “Dr’s” and clinics. Some are quacks just out to take these poor peoples money, killing people in the process. To become a doctor, you only have to attend a University for 4 years. Presto – you are a Dr. (In all actuality, I could open a clinic myself and get away with treating people.) You can then go on a few more years for a specialty….or not. For a majority of the Dr.’s, they are not much more than a PA in our country and I would go as far to say some have about as much training as an RN in our country. What we have experienced with the people of the village that come to us for money to pay for medications and Dr visits, they pretty much tend to diagnose broadly and treat with everything they can think of to cover whatever may be making someone sick. Which means sometimes 3-4 antibiotics at a time. Diagnosis’s of Malaria and typhoid together is so common, even if neither is actually present. So there is an epidemic here of antibiotics becoming resistant and making the sicknesses and deaths, and the spread of sickness worse. We would get people at our door with 6 pages of diagnosis in their little medical notebook, and  prescriptions that were just outrageous. I am not a doctor but even I could see that medical care here is in a way worse mess than what we thought ours in America is.

So I prayed. And prayed, for God to show me a Dr that we could send these people to that might actually help without hurting. I talked to people and I sincerely pleaded with God to help me find a better way, I feel for these people but I don’t have endless money to throw away and watch them stay sick or get sicker. Then it happened. I got pretty sick again. (God doesn’t always answer us in the easiest way!) Christian and I aren’t ones to run to the doctor over just anything, actually rarely. But we are in Africa. So, dreading and trying to figure out what to do, we decided to go to a new hospital that opened just after we got here. It was the answer to all my prayers so far about medical care. It was clean, and so organized. The only doctor we have seen there is Dr. Nelson and I told him he is a Godsend. He has had a practice in Kampala for a few years, and he told us that his aging parents started having to see Dr’s here in our area and they would send him their diagnosis’s and he was appalled. So he and some others opened this hospital to provide better (and cleaner) care for this area. The hospital has a lab, x-ray equipment, maternity ward, trauma center, operating theater. Clean beds with curtains and mosquito netting around them. And the medications that are normally given to hospitals for free but charged at high prices to patients – this hospital gives them at their cost (they are a private hospital) which is very inexpensive. Even more so than the pharmacies. I was tested and found that I was pretty anemic and had the very beginning of malaria. So slight that the symptoms I was having – severe fatigue – was probably just from the anemia. He gave me iron and malaria treatment and within a couple weeks I was back at it full speed! He said he could prescribe me a different preventative that might not make me as sick as the one we had been taking, but that since I had been here four months and this was the first time I contracted it, that I must be doing something right and it was up to me.

We have people at our door weekly, needing help with medical care, and we even have our workers giving us a very small part of their pay each week that we work them to add to a medical fund. We match what they put in (with our tithes that we split between the church and helping people). It was amazing to the guys how quickly their medical fund added up to a large amount. We can see how that has affected them, that they don’t have to feel shame and embarrassment in getting their families care that they need. It has been a tiring couple months though, because to get them to go to THIS hospital we have had to physically take them. Last week we saw Dr. Nelson some days 3 times in the same day. But we see big results and just a tiny bit of expense compared to what people were asking for to go to the other places and get medication. I think Dr Nelson has a hard time understanding, and I try to explain to him that it is God that brought us here, and that is why we do what we do. Yesterday we took two women and a baby to him and he asked me how do I communicate with these people. I told him they are our workers wives – one lives next door and she was at my house when the baby started throwing up. He said “No, you don’t speak the same language, how do you communicate? By sign language?” I laughed, told him their husbands speak some English and we also have a day guard that speaks pretty good English so he is always interpreting for us.

Now my prayer is that God shows us a way to help this hospital and Dr Nelson and his fellow doctors there. I know he is probably not making the money he was in his practice in Kampala, but I believe he, like us, is in it for different reasons. We have had many conversations on the culture and their views on doctors (most are scared of them) and I have been able to witness to him, I do not believe he is a Christian, so I use every visit to show him the love of Christ and that it is that love that compels us to do what we do. Please keep New Hope Hospital and all the doctors and nurses there in your prayers, for their selfless work and continuing help to this area.


I know sometimes my posts are pretty sporadic and I apologize. Daily life can seem mundane and unimportant at times – sometimes little things that bring great encouragement to us come along, but I forget we are so far away from you all and maybe our day to day is still interesting to you and a way to stay connected to our lives. So I will try to do better – the positive and the negative! But only if you promise that when there is discouragement here, don’t worry! just keep us in your prayers. Because above all we are happy, we are at peace knowing we are in the Will of God. We can say, EVERYDAY, it is well with my soul and to me that is everything. I pray you can say the same.

I have struggled a bit with what my own personal role is here. I struggle with being able to minister and create relationships with women here because of the language barrier. But God has shown me that the one or two I have around me that do speak some English, to give my all to them. We all have to start somewhere. I know my main purpose here is to take care of our home and its occupants. I help Christian plan the projects and keep all the numbers in the budget straight – which I do not like! But we really have become  team in that.

Being the best mother I can be to a 6 year old dramatic, loud, enthusiastic, energetic bundle of joy has become increasingly challenging at my age! Her personality has changed and I know it is part of maturing but I have to daily (sometimes 100 times a day) tell myself she is only 6. And she is truly a gift God has entrusted with us.

I know that to God these are important roles I have, but days I look around and feel it is not enough. It’s all about listening to His voice and letting Him bring the opportunities to us. He does. A child that Christian found because he went to help a guy. The mother just waiting for the child to die she said, had sat over him 5 days swatting flies off of his open wound. We were able to get them help – a simple and inexpensive procedure because what had happened to the boy is common here due to malnutrition and worms, but people here are convinced that they will surely die if they go to the hospital. The witch doctor had given treatments that hadn’t helped. God took Christian there, opened the door to minister to them. It’s hard to see so much suffering and hardship an d wonder where do we start. And easy to put time pressure on ourselves. It’s just one at a time, when we let God move us in His timing that we see Him move the most. And that is when we have the most peace.

Dolls With A Message

We were sent a lot of handmade with love dolls by ladies in our home church in America that help to explain the love of Jesus and have been trying to find the best way to give them out. We couldn’t just hand them out here in the village at once, we would have people at our door night and day wanting dolls and more. Here, just the fact we are giving away something means we have lots of stuff to give and we don’t. So we give them out as the opportunity arises. We are getting ready to take a bag full to the new hospital and give some out to children patients and have a school we are going to take some to when they start up again. The children that received them on this day were so happy, and I had been worried about the dolls that were “blonde” and blue eyed, but the blonde one was the one they fought over!

Daily Life

Life has slowed down a little bit since Christian and the guys finished their part of the school buildings. When the other crew is finished with the aprons around them I will post more pictures. So Christian is home, taking a break before starting another project – just not too long of a break! We have seen so much happening in the lives of the guys that Christian has been working with and we don’t want to lose momentum, or them to lose hope.

We’ve had time to walk through our part of the village every evening, and one day came upon a group of kids in front of a house. Actually, we turned down what we thought was the path to our home and ended up in someone’s yard! The kids started asking Christian to give them money and he told them he had none. They didn’t believe him – a mazungu with no money? Not possible in their way of thinking! He emptied his pockets and showed them he only had a pocket knife and some atom ball candy, which he gave to the oldest two boys. They then showed us their “ball” which was plastic soda bottles taped together so they could kick it around. They asked us to get them a ball. So the next time we were in town we bought one and took it over. They were so excited about that ball! They all gathered round it and inspected it and were laughing and carrying on. There was an old man there that we sat and “talked” to – he didn’t know much English and we don’t know much Lusoga! But he said thank you many times for bringing the ball!

On the way back to our home, there are always ladies outside,  they and the kids always want us to come sit. Raelee used their language to say hello and that tickled them to no end. All the people here get so excited when we use any of their words. Although, if we say one word in Lusoga they automatically think we know more and start having a conversation that we don’t understand! And everyone wants us to hold their babies, which is always okay with me! Even Christian who normally doesn’t hold babies is known to hold one or two! I tried to hold the one that is crying, but he is scared of our white skin. It’s so odd for me, who can usually calm any baby and put them to sleep, to have them scared of me. I will never get used to that! And while most still yell muzungu to us, many of the kids call me Jessica, that is the other woman that is here and I’m not sure if thats the only name they know, or if now they think all white woman are called Jessica! I’m sure after time they will get our names down! But even the ones that know us call us Mama Raelee and Baba Raelee instead of our names! (It’s always about your kids isn’t it?!)

Raelee is getting ready to go to school and is very excited. I am excited and nervous – praying she does well and doesn’t take over the school! I believe it will be a good experience for her, she has already fully emersed herself into the culture, learning the language AND the mannerisms so much faster than Mama and Baba! School will be a good thing for her, I just pray she is a good thing for the school! I’m sure she will, she brings life and joy everywhere she goes and has such a kind, caring heart.