Random tidbits

I guess I should start this post with an update on the little boy I had mentioned previously who needed surgery. So many people have been so kind and so willing to help.

My mother was the first. As soon as I explained the situation to her she told me that she would have the money in my account in the morning for him to be able to have the surgery.

And while I don’t believe in just giving things to people and solving their problems for them, I couldn’t help but remember the kindness of a man who saw a girl working on her own to finish highschool from her front porch. And offered to buy her the science kit and microscope that she needed to be able to understand the science she was trying to learn on her own from a book. I couldn’t help but remember the doctor who repaired a torn up shoulder for free because a certain girl couldn’t afford to pay for her surgery, and I couldn’t help but remember countless other times that others had stepped in and helped me out when I needed it. And yet, I still know that it’s not good to just swoop in and handle someones problems for them.

So I was pleased when during a discussion with a carpenter, trying to negotiate a good price for furniture for the Musana women so that they have a nice work place, the most perfect solution dawned on me and I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it before. Benji’s father is a carpenter. He can build the furniture for us, and it saves Musana money, the women get their furniture, Benji gets his surgery, and Benji’s parents get to be a part of solving the problem. It seems a win win for everyone.

I don’t know how I became the designated take people to the hospital person but, somehow I am.

Emined called me the other day to tell me that one of his students had something seriously wrong with her and needed to see a doctor. He told me he needed my help. I met him at the taxi stage and he came with a little girl whose head was covered with a black scarf. She allowed me to remove it and look at her head. She had a huge lump growing about two inches off the top of her head. It was oozing and looked terrible. 973903_170390523135670_1847109875_n

We took her to see Andrew, the Scottish doctor who is a volunteer at Living Water clinic and is a friend of ours. As soon as the little girl saw him putting on gloves she began screaming and covering her head with her scarf. It took four of us to hold her down so that he could have a look at her head. She had some kind of abcess on her head that was full of infection. She is on an IV antibiotic and they lanced the absess and packed it. She should be ok.

The little girl with the burn on her arm is doing much better also. I invited her and her mother to come to church with me on sunday. They agreed. When I showed up sunday morning to get them the mother said she had somewhere to go but the daughter was ready to go. We went and she was a great addition to my little primary class. I have no idea how much she understood. I don’t think she speaks much English but I know she had fun with the other kids and she is especially happy to see me when I pass her house on the road these days.

My little friend, showing off our matching arm bandages.

My little friend and I showing off our matching arm bandages.

The other day I scratched my arm. It was hardly deep enough to bleed but I didn’t want it to get infected so I wrapped it. I told her we were twins.

I had a hot shower the other day. It had a legit drain, a shower head, warm water, and even a shower curtain! It was heaven.

I met a woman here who invited me to her home. She lives on the Mehta compound. In fact her husband is the head of security. She said she gets bored and lonely there all by herself all day. She has a beautiful home with a real kitchen, it even has an oven! She doesn’t really know how to cook so I’m going to go help her. I am excited to get to know her. She has lived an interesting life all over the world.

I went to the Rainforest Lodge and went swimming. It was incredible I saw monkeys swinging from the trees in the forest as I walked there. And I saw some of the most incredible butterflies!

The lodge itself was beautiful and relaxing and there simply aren’t words to express how much I enjoyed the swimming pool.

The pool at the Rainforest Lodge. It was so refreshing!

The pool at the Rainforest Lodge. It was so refreshing!

First world problems in a third world country

My roommate used to have this thing she would say to me when I was voicing my frustrations over various issues. She would sigh and shake her head and say, “oh first world problems.” Meaning that maybe before I complained about the internet being slow I should remember the fact that simply having a computer puts me miles ahead of where someone might be in a third world country and that I should be grateful.

DSC00311Since coming to a third world country for the first time I have noticed something interesting. There are first world problems, there are third world problems and there are first world problems in third world countries. I was surprised to find that slow internet, a head battery, and a file that won’t download are still the most frustrating things to me. When the electricity goes out, as it did today, I simply open the curtains to let a little sunlight in and do something that doesn’t require too much light. When the water goes out, as it has been for the last week, I haul water in a Jerry can, and shower in a bucket and don’t think all that much about it. But when my computer freezes, the internet refuses to work or I am having other first world problems I still find them the most frustrating. I had a good laugh today when Luta asked if he could borrow my computer. After a few minutes on it, realizing how slow it was he just shook his head and he said with a truly concerned look on his face. “whenever the computer won’t work fast enough I feel pain here, in my heart!” He was genuinely distraught about the situation and looked as I imagine I must have the first time I saw the mud huts along the road and smelled the smell of the sugar cane factory. It was ironic.

Since, I think this is the first time I have mentioned Luta, let me tell you a little about him. I love him. He is one of the people who make it so that I can’t hardly imagine leaving this place.

Luta’s family comes from Rwanda. His parents fled when the genocide first started there. They moved to Uganda. During that time as refugees Luta’s mother became quite close with another woman. This woman became “grandma” to Luta. In America when someone becomes really close or fills a role in our lives we will often say, “she is like a grandma to me.” Not so in Uganda this is not the first time that someone has introduced me to a mother, grandma, sister etc. only to later find out that they are not actually related. It seems family is more about a way of life and less about blood.

Anyway, Luta grew up in a very poor district in Lugazi. Gehry Gehry is the slum. No one there had ever graduated from University. Luta will be the first when he finishes next year. In the district where I live I am told about 55% of households have running water. In Gehry Gehry it is more like 15%. As we walked around the village Luta told us stories. He told about how he spent a number of his growing up years in an orphanage, not because he was an orphan but because by being there he could get an education. He told about his ingenuity in coming up with ways to pay his own school fees from the time he was quite young. DSC00331

He told about the time that he spent in a Ugandan prison on false charges and how he eventually got things straightened out. He told about his good fortune in being able to work as a caddy for golfers and how that led him to all kinds of opportunities. He calls himself the town dog, because everyone in town knows and loves him. And it is true, as we walk everyone stops to say hello to him.

He told us about two girls who came to their village, one day when things were especially bad. The well had become contaminated and there was no water. People DSC00317were going to die. These two girls used their own savings and had a well built. It saved the lives of many village people who surely would have died without water. (since one of those girls was my friend Melissa, it also explains why she is such a celebrity here.)

Currently, he is a student in the capital city, Kampala. He is getting a degree in business, and doing stand up comedy along the way. He became a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints just a few months ago. To see him showing us around, wearing nice clothes, and speaking with excellent english, one would never have suspected that he grew up in a mud hut on the side of a dirty crowded street. Yet to see him go back there and sit in front of that same house with his mother and baby niece, to see him being greeted warmly by everyone there, there is no question that this boy has done something amazing.DSC00322