Tuesday, August 9, 2011

our journey to Uganda-Rwemikoma

Today I'm highlighting the Rwemikoma school. (pronounced Rem-uh-coma) Rwemikoma is in a very rural area of southwest Uganda. It is not easy to get to. It took us about a 3 hour drive from Mbarara, half of which was not paved. (some of you know I get motion sickness. well. this day was NO exception. usually motion sickness, for me, means I feel miserable and get a stomach-ache.  on this traveling day, it meant puking. that was a first for me. and hopefully a last.)
There are 200+ students that attend and 6 teachers. It is a day school and some children walk over six miles each day to attend. They do teach English in the classroom, but since they are in such a rural area, it usually isn't spoken at home, so the children don't speak it great, especially the younger ones.

This is how we are greeted each time we show up somewhere. I kind of felt like a celebrity. Except this love and affection was 110% genuine. 

Our hearts were drawn to this sweet girl as soon as we got out of the Miracle Van. We got to love on her for a bit and then send her back to class. 

Then we got to meet Abia! She was very happy to meet us and after we quickly got aquainted, she stayed by my side holding my hand for an hour!

Excited about the gift we brought her!

Showing her pictures of us and our families

I would catch her staring at me throughout the day. There are a lot of words to describe our meeting that day. But it was remarkable. Here's this girl that lives on the other side of the world, in a completely different culture than we live in...she knows us as her "sponsor". I'm not sure what more they know about our involvement with PCM, but she knows we love her, and she loves us. It was a sweet sweet day with Abia. :)

The children got socks that were donated by PCM supporters!

This is their kitchen. There's no door. Just a big pot.

Here is David! My parents' newly sponsored child. This kid had so much personality! He loved to give us high-fives and after we introduced ourselves he waved and said hi randomly the rest of the time we were there.

Here is Dickens, our newly sponsored kid! He was quiet but very sweet. 

Me and Shanda passing out juice and snacks

Here is an excerpt from my blog entry while we were there...
Besides not going to school, these children have no other options. But praise the Lord for PCM being able to offer the children this opportunity. Because of the long walks and limited resources for medicines, healthcare, and even socks, when the children get bitten/stung/scrapes on them, they have no way to treat it. I quickly noticed that several of the students had big open sores on their legs and ankles from untreated wounds turning into raging infection. I am a pediatric nurse. That is my profession. But today, I had much head knowledge and very few supplies.  Several of the other group members and I did our best to clean the wounds with water and Neosporin and put little Curious George band aids on them.

In America, these kids would likely be admitted to the hospital with a full IV antibiotic treatment and intensive wound therapy. But I had to use what we had in our backpacks and just pray that the Lord would protect them from further harm and heal their wounds. Because HE is the healer. This is one of the very reasons these people have such an intimate relationship with THE healer. He is ALL they have. I pray that I can learn to rely fully on Christ the way that the Ugandans do.

Yall, there were some wounds that made my stomach turn. Of course I've seen worse in the hospital setting, but not on innocent children that have no resources to fix it. After we realized there was more than one kid with sores, Chris started surveying their ankles and legs to find me more "patients". When I would sit them down in the chair I got Driver Emmy to translate and ask them if their leg/foot/whatever the infection was hurting them. They would kind of hang their head and always say yes. It broke my heart.

Then we would clean it with the spray bottle. (might I add..the spray bottle with dirty water) They would wince, but never cry or scream. The kids are strong. But I wish they weren't. I wish they didn't know that pain. That they wouldn't be accustomed to those wounds and the ache of infection. But they do, that is life for them. It's a harsh reality for me.

Then there is the battle Rwemikoma has faced with getting clean water. You can read about it on the PCM blog. Short version...last year they raised money for a well because they'd been told there was water. They drilled and there was no water. So on our trip we brought a certain filtration system and after hours of working with it, the system wasn't working properly and we didn't know what to do. So Justin got all the children together and we prayed for water. 

Once again, an amazing moment. Kids had arms stretched to the Heavens crying out to God for wisdom and water. God used Chris in the miracle water story, so you should click on the link above and read about it.

A totally new part of my heart and love for Chris was revealed while serving with him and getting to watch him love on these children. It's an incredible and intimate feeling to serve together and know that God has stitched our hearts together to serve Him together. 

Saying goodbye when school was over for the day...notice how many of them do not have shoes.

You can read more about our day on PCM's blog postOur day at Rwemikoma was an emotional one. Parts of it were heavy, but I am reminded over and over of how blessed we are. That I am not entitled to everyday conveniences of American life, they are blessings. 


Anna said...

Leisha your stories are both beautiful and heart breaking at the same time (and I'm sure it doesn't help that I sit here in complete hormonal overload being 37 weeks pg). But your words of wishing the children didn't know what pain was just breaks my heart. I've wished and prayed those same words about the sweet kiddos I worked with on a daily basis. I'm so glad you had such an amazing adventure.

Ashley said...

I'm so glad you are recapping your time in Uganda Leisha! Thank you for sharing these stories and reminding us of how blessed we are and how much there is to do. I love how you were talking about how amazing it is to serve with Chris! That is exactly how Daniel and I felt last summer after Haiti. It's awesome that God gives us someone that He specifically picked out for us and allows us to serve Him together!

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