We grew food. We fed people. Can we come home now?
The rains have come and gone. The beans have grown, harvested, and prepared in the kitchen. The maize is putting on cobs and will be ready to collect in a week or two. Mission accomplished, are we finished? Not yet. Though we have seen much providence in the soil there is still much to do. We have grown the local crops as well as our neighbors but that is short of the calling that brought us to Africa. We want to be a place of hope and a center for learning and transformation in this nation. So we have to produce more than just our neighbors, we have to grow more variety than just the usual crops, and we have to do it in a way that is sustainable for everyone. This season we tried zucchini, yellow summer squash, and acorn squash, unfortunately most were lost to the abundance of worms in the soil. Our broccoli never quite flowered but the leaves were delicious. Tomatoes did well but needed better caging. All in all some good experiments and we will get more seedlings ready for the next rains. If you think of some seed that will grow in only ten hours of sunshine, heavy clay soil, and lots of rain send it to us; we'll give it a try.
Answering Our Call
Many of you responded to our recent call for support and prayer on behalf of seven year-old Arnold. The grandson of Ruth, a woman in Jeri's Friday Bible study, Arnold was born with severe cerebral palsy. His whole life has been a struggle of survival. Unable to eat the staple foods of the Ugandan diet, his caretakers have tried to provide for his special diet. Without assistance they have barely scraped by these past seven years. As you might imagine, there are no additional resources for emergencies and when he gets sick it is hard to get him to eat at all. Two weeks ago we got word Arnold was ill and not eating and so we sent help to get him seen by a doctor. Circumstances prevented his transport so Jeri stepped forward and visited his place. Shocked that this seven year-old boy weighed only 15 pounds she put out the call for prayer and many answered. She organized transport, got him admitted to the malnutrition ward at Jinja Children's Hospital, and set up his aunt to stay with him. The next week we visited them and took them more food and supplies (the children are fed but the caregivers are left to provide for some meals). While Jeri took Arnold and his mom for X-rays at another clinic and more supplies, we stayed back, sang songs, prayed for families, and colored with the children—anything to provide distraction from the endless days of waiting for their children to get well. In Uganda, the caregiver has to stay with the patient, helping to clean them, do all their laundry, and to get meals. It is no small job! The caregiver lies usually on a mat on the concrete floor in one big room crowded with beds and patients and children. This is quite the sacrifice to care for him, especially since he could be in the hospital for a month or more. Arnold still has a way to go before he can come home but thanks to those who gave we have a reserve to get him well and support his caregivers so they can stay with him.