Devotions had just finished and people were getting set up for the day. I was in the pharmacy checking to see what medications were needed for dispensing today when someone said “Doctor, I think there is an emergency.” I glanced out the door and there was a man running through the gate carrying a child.

There was a flurry of activity as they were directed back to the section where we start IV’s and told to lay the child down on the table. Everyone gathered around to watch as Dr. Jim asked the translators to figure out what had happened, Rachel worked on starting an IV, Moses obtained blood for a malaria smear, and Mark got the child’s temperature. Apparently the child had begun convulsing this morning, so they brought her straight to the clinic. She was seizing, so Jim got some anti-seizure medication and gave some while others were doing their tasks. I stood back taking it all in and trying to figure out if I could help. The child was hypothermic so I decided to run to the ward and get a blanket to get the child warmed up. I returned a few minutes later with a blanket and hat to warm the child. The child was very sick: she continued to seize despite the medication, her lungs gave a picture of pulmonary edema or aspiration, and her body was limp aside from the clonic or tense part of the seizures. I was afraid the outcome would not be good, but remembered that we serve the God who heals so I began to pray for this one.

By the grace of God and the wisdom of the doctor, the child began to regain her body temperature, the seizing stopped, the breathing cleared, and the child slept. Within 4 or 5 hours the child was awake, agitated by the IV and talking with her parents. When I returned from lunch I met the family walking down the road with a child who looked completely different than the one who had been carried through the gate just a few hours earlier. Kire Ejok Akuj. Surely God is good!

Ipei, Ngarei, Nguni…

Today was a slow day at the clinic. Dr. Jim and Nurse Albert went to Nakapiripirit to attend a meeting regarding the malnutrition program we are doing. “Those ones of concern” is the name of the organization sponsoring it, and they had called for a meeting to discuss how the program was going. I stayed behind with the rest of the staff and we saw maybe 25 patients today. I spent the day observing different staff members do their job, unlocking the pharmacy store for more supplies, and just talking with the staff.

The best part of the day though was when Lokwii and JB decided give me my first Karamojong lesson. It started with counting from 1 to 10. Ipei, Ngarei, Nguni, Ngomwon, Ngkan, Ngkanikapei, Ngkanikarei, Ngkanikauni, Ngkanikomwon, Ngtomon. We laughed and laughed as I tried to train my tongue to say these “simple” words that were so challenging to me. I “learned” to count to 20 today, how to ask “Where are you going?”, how to respond when someone asks where I am going, and word like my friend, my brother, my sister, my mother, my father. I think we will have to review this simple lesson several times before my tongue will be used to it. ☺ They had fun, promised to spend any more free time teaching me, and told me it was ok to learn slowly slowly. So here is to the adventure of learning Karamojong. Wadu wadu. Slowly slowly.

A Walk

I walk out of my house and slide the latch on the door into place with a clank. It is 7:40 and I am heading to the clinic for the day. The night watchmen have left, and the compound is relatively quiet as I head for the gate. I open the section of the gate that is for people walking, and pass through being sure to pull it closed behind me. I continue down the lane and see ladies walking down the road with bags of sorghum on their heads. As I reach the road, I am greeted by two schoolgirls who saw the Mzungu (white person) coming and decided to wait and walk with her. I can greet in the local language, Karamojong, but that is about it. Unfortunately I haven’t learned how to say I don’t understand or I only speak a little so they continue to try and ask me questions as we walk down the road together and dodge piles of poop left by the goats or cows. As we walk on I catch the phrase, “What is your name?” and tell them my name is Jenny. They laugh and try to say it. I don’t understand what they are asking me, but through broken English they finally ask “Where are you going?” I point down the road and tell them “I am going to the Clinic.” They reply to my inquiry of where they are going by saying, “School. Alamacar.” They then begin to point at my bag and grab at it, and ask what I can give to them. They ask for my water. They ask for my pencil. They ask for my book. All their requests are met with the response, “Mam” which is “No” in Karamojong. At this point, we meet others walking down the road and greet them. I meet the old man Peter and greet him, I meet Lucy and greet her. She asks me in Karamojong why I have not washed my outfit yet. She is the one who washes our clothes, and she knows this one has not been washed since I wore it last. Oops J I missed getting it out in time for her to wash yesterday because she came earlier than usual. Oh well. Tomorrow it will be washed. By this time we are at the crossroads and I part ways with the schoolgirls and head to the clinic.

This is a typical walk and I usually do it four times a day. I go down in the morning for work, back and forth for lunch break, and then back home again at the end of the day. It is frustrating to not be able to communicate, and hard to always be asked for things. If it would help them, I would give them my belongings, but that would really just hurt them. So in my walks I resolve to learn the language to the best of my ability so I can communicate with these ones and give them one thing that won’t hinder them from being responsible: my conversation, my time, my friendship.


So this is my bonda, I'd post more pictures of the inside, but the internet is refusing to upload them. Maybe later. Enjoy my one lonely picture :)

I owe you how much?!

So if you are from America like me, getting used to the currency here in Uganda is a bit hard. You see it is not uncommon to spend thousands of shillings on a meal or on your groceries. In fact, my total at the supermarket this week was 70,000 shillings. Ito! (as the K'jong say). Granted these things are basic cabinet stocking items and will last for a while, and when you translate it to USD it is significantly less. The current exchange rate is approx. 2000 Uganda shillings to 1 USD. When you sort it out... it really isn't so bad, but my oh my it hurts my brain to see all these big numbers. :)

About Me

My name is Jenny. I am a sinner that has been redeemed by the blood of Christ, and I want to share the grace and love He has shown me with others. I am a nurse living and working in Uganda, and I am praying that God would make Matthew 5:16 true of my life.
"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
Enjoy snippets from my journey as I step out in faith day after day.