Wednesday, February 16, 2011

very good things

We are slowly getting Tumaini off the ground.  I was very excited to get news yesterday that we were awarded a grant from an organization in the U.S. that helps orphans.  We will now be able to finish the wall, pay for the last semester of school fees for 82 children, and also rehabilitate the kitchen!  I am so excited.  Thanks be to God!

Hopefully in the next couple weeks, we will start getting information up (and our website) about the children at the orphanage who will need sponsors.  We are planning to have each infant or child that lives at the orphanage, sponsored by two people for $25/month (per sponsor).  This will pay for formula (there is another new baby boy this week), powdered milk, and staff for the orphanage.  I'm so excited.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Disney World

I had a recent conversation with my daughter, Natalie (she just turned 4).  By the time we get back to the states this summer it will have been 1 1/2 years since her last visit.  

Natalie, when we go back to America there will be sidewalks!  
Natalie:  eyes get big

And there won't be big holes in the roads, or goats on the road.
N: "but why not mommy, I like goats"

And, there will be power (most) all of the time, and it will be strong power!
N: "whoa"

And there will be water all (most) of the time, and it won't be brown or cold!
N: eyes even bigger

And there will be lots of stores!
N: "with lots of juice?"

And all the kids speak english! (There are no english speaking kids here currently.)
N: "but I speak FRENCH, not english!!" (we are still working on trying to get her to understand what "english" is)

And there will be parks, and no guards, and no guns all over (well, I didn't say that part about the guns, I just thought it).  There won't be huge concrete and brick walls around the houses.  
And there will be trees, and we all won't have diarrhea allll the time.
And we won't need bug nets!  
N: There's no babaria in america?  (that would be "malaria")
Nope, baby, no malaria.

And, guess what?
N: what?
In America, you can DRINK out of the faucets!!

Yup, pretty much, America is Disney World.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

life and death, and the God who holds us all

About a year ago I met this sweet baby girl.  She lived in a poor village outside of town.  I was helping at a feeding center that her older siblings went to each day.  She was the 16th child of a man who had three wives.  He made under $40 a month.  Her mother brought her to me, asking if there was something I could do.  I'm a peds nurse.  I knew in an instance, she would need a shunt to live.  I also knew how impossible that would be here in eastern Congo. I knew she would die.  

Well, not so impossible with God.  There was a neurosurgeon at the local hospital who had been trained in Belgian.  He was the only neurosurgeon in eastern congo (the size of the eastern 1/3 of the US).  I deliberated.  A lot.  What if we get the surgery done and she dies anyway?  Her family is too poor.  She will only die later.  She is too poor.  Ah, the poverty and  ugliness of my own heart, of my own spirit! As if it was up to me, as if I give and take life away.  As if being poor takes away your dignity, your right to a beautiful hope filled life.  As if poverty takes away your hope, your choice, your chances.  God pressed me forward.  He knew that in God we find hope and freedom.  We raised the money.  She got the surgery.  She lived. She was loved by her family, by her mother.   For one year.  

She died last week.  I don't know if she died from complications of her shunt (blockages and infections can happen in some children) or from another common disease that kills children every day in developing countries, like malaria or diarrhea.  Did I save her to die?  Did I save her?  No, I did nothing. I am the clay, and God molds me and shapes me, He is the potter.  God saves, he holds our lives in the palms of His hands. He gives, He takes away.  Mystery.  A choice to trust in His goodness and love.

This little girl lives.  She lives, and one day we will meet again.  And until then I pray that my heart will lose the poverty I find within it, and instead be filled with grace, humility, and above all else, love.  Until then, sweet baby, until then.  God is not finished with me yet.

Friday, February 11, 2011

visiting the orphanage update

We had a great time visiting the kids last week.  They were all doing great, aside from the scabies (the babies especially had it bad).  I realize as I drive up there how much I need to go up there.  To get out of the city, to visit the kids.  Not only is it a gorgeous drive, but I really love those kiddos.  Here is one quick photo for now.  This is little Ziruka, she always has a beautiful smile for me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

another step--Patric

Today the sister that has been following Patric's medical case FINALLY came by and gave me his medical reports!  They are not in english (as she had promised) and are a bit complicated, but I can understand that he has at least these diagnoses:  pericarditis (wiki: "Pericarditis is an inflammation of the pericardium (the fibrous sac surrounding the heart", unknown cause, though he did have TB as a toddler which was treated), cardiomegaly ("big heart", of the left ventricle), and cranial atrophy (unknown cause, and this is a very general description from a head CT without contrast, (it is clear he does NOT have hydrocephalus)), and anemia (maybe secondary to Sickle Cell Disease).  What this all means is he is one sick little boy.  He tires very easily.  He gets sick often.  He is in and out of hospitals.  He has not been to school, because he is too weak.  

I don't know if there is anything I can do to help this little boy.  But one thing I do know with much certainty, is that I will never know, if I don't try.  The most I can do right now, is ask all my readers to ask all their friends and families, if anyone would like to help this little boy.  He needs to go to the states.  He will need most likely long term medical care.  There is a lot of unknowns.  He is an orphan.  He would need a permanent family.  There are a couple options for him.  He could possibly go to the U.S. on a medical visa and live with a family.  Or, the longer option, he could be adopted here and then taken to the U.S.  

I haven't seen him in a long time.  Now that the sister said I can look for a family for him and now that I have his medical exams I will try to visit him this weekend and talk to the pediatrician that takes care of him.  

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