Sunday, October 17, 2010

a day in our life

May 28

So, after we found the baby with the head injury Wed evening and Gary went back and stayed until about 10:30 helping with that, he got home and took a shower and realized that we had a rat in our well. We started working on the well at 5:30 am and it didn't take me long to realize that it was going to be a crazy day, so I decided to journal it for you! I wasn't disappointed!

5:30 am - Gary called Jonathan to come help him try to fish the dead rat out of the well. They tried to scoop it out with a bucket, but that wasn't proving very effective.

6:00 - Gary thought I should run to the hospital before 7am when they have worship and lock the gate to get some bleach. He wanted a couple gallons, so I made soy milk to take down to my malnourished babies and tied a box on the back of the motorcycle to haul the bleach back in.

6:30 - At the hospital I checked on the baby with the head injury and he was sitting up and looked good. His head was quite swollen in places. I found out that my very malnourished baby who I had really tried to help for the last week had died during the night. Very sad, but we couldn't get her to stop vomiting, so what could I do? Another baby went home because it is time to plant, so the moms won't sit still, they have to get back and work.

Also tried to buy bleach. Had to wait for 15 min for someone to show up, and then they only had 5 liters left, so would only sell me one liter.

7:30 - While I was gone Gary and Jonathan got some guys working on some projects out on our property. I'm not sure what all was going on out there. They were pouring a post for the foundation of our hangar and the containers that will form the outside walls. At some point in here, Gary went to get another rope and told the guys to stop trying to get the rat because it was very bloated and he could see the stomach, but they didn't listen and proceeded to pop the rat, which promptly sank out of sight!

Cherise and I made and ate breakfast, but the boys didn't want to stop.

8:30 - Gary went back to the hospital to get a good rope. He was going to pump the water out of the well and then send someone down to try to find the rat, but he didn't have a good rope. He put a cargo net on the person for a harness. At the same time Jonathan went to the market to get nails for the forms the guys were building out at the project, so I had him get more bleach. He had to go to two different places to find enough.

Anne (our neighbor who now lives in N'Djamena) came over to ask me if we had some of their barrels which we do. We were storing food in them that we brought back with us to keep the bugs out. Well, they are going on furlough for a year, so are packing all their stuff, so they want all their barrels back! She was wondering when she could get two of them to get started.

9:30 - The boys are back working on the well again. Sent one guy down and he couldn't breath, so they hooked up the air compressor and pumped some air down in there. I guess it worked, I wasn't out there. But when they went down they couldn't find anything! Three different guys went down and found sticks, centipedes and rocks, but no rat!

I took the chance to read my bible while nothing crazy was happening here!

9:50 - I folded some clothes and started to put them away. Cherise came in and had been playing in the water they were pumping out of the well - gross!

10:00 - Got one drum ready for Anne and then she also wants all the stuff that belongs to this house, since she is packing all her stuff, she will put it in their old house and use that as guest house if anyone needs to stay at the hospital or anything. So, this is sheets, towels, and kitchen things mostly.

11:00 - I started grinding grain for hot cereal. All the grains have had to be washed and then dried in the sun and then I grind them in my vitamix. Since we are using solar and we only have two small batteries, I grind a couple batches, and then wait 15 min or so for the system to recharge. I am making a mixed grain cereal - sorghum, millet, corn, barley (this one came from the US so I didn't have to wash it!), and oats. I would like to add wheat too, but don't have any clean right now. Anyway, I haven't tried it yet, so I hope it's good.

11:15 - Started working on lunch. Didn't happen. Anne came back over and had some stuff for us since she is packing and then we talked for a while. By the time she left two other ladies were here with sick babies. One has rheumatoid arthritis and we have been working with him for a while. He is doing quite a bit better. The other baby is very malnourished. I sent her to the hospital and she will wait for me there until I bring the milk down for the other babies and then I can help run her thru the system.

12:30 - Finally back to fix lunch. Got a really yummy pasta sauce fixed and realized I never started the pasta cooking, so we end up having to wait for that. By now the boys have given up on finding the rat, and they are hungry. They put quite a bit of bleach in the well and hope for the best.

1:30 - We finally all sit down and eat lunch although there are still interruptions. Jonathan has to go check on the work crew who should be starting to pour cement soon and need constant supervision to meet Gary's work standard! Throughout the day Gary is also making phone calls and sending text messages to coordinate the purchase and transport of a couple of containers from Moundou that he will use as walls for the hangar.

1:40 - The lady who comes to work for us in the afternoons arrives - she is supposed to come at 1:00. Since there is no water available yet, I just have her sweep and bring in water from Jonathan's well to wash dishes.

1:45 - Tried to finish eating quickly!

2:00 - Put Cherise down for a nap.

2:15 - Back to the hospital to check on "my" babies. The baby I sent down is there waiting, so I pay for a consultation and leave her while I go check on Eliane. She is a nursing student from the US and is getting some practicum time in, so needs a US registered nurse to supervise. She is almost done for the day, so not much to worry about with her. I run over and make my milk at Tammy's house. Thankfully she has the same soymilk maker that I have, and since mine is dirty and we haven't washed dishes yet, I decided to make it there. She is happy to help. When that is finished I run it back over to the babies and then find the other one who is finished with the consultation, but they don't want to hospitalize him. He is very malnourished and really needs to stay for a long time, so they agree to hospitalize him for me since I don't have a place for them yet. (He ends up leaving the next day. Supposedly the father came and said they couldn't stay. Not surprising since the women are the ones that do most of the planting, etc.) It takes a long time at the pharmacy to get all the meds, etc. They write everything down several times and they are never in a hurry!

4:00 - Run to market. I am out of peanuts which I also use to make milk for the babies and Gary wants more bleach. Only problem is that I forgot to get more money before I left to buy bleach, so I go to one Arab guy that sells phone credit, but also a little shop and he agrees to let me bring the money tomorrow - it's the African credit card.

4:15 - Home again. They have pumped water into the tower and we can use it again! I would sure feel better if they had found the rat. My phone beeps - a message from Anne saying that they are going to release the head wound boy. What? We really would like to monitor him for 48 hrs. Though when I was just down there he was standing up and walking a bit and it looked like the swelling was starting to go down.

Two ladies show up with their babies for milk. One lives nearby and her baby isn't malnourished, but sick and not eating and he will drink the milk so since I'm making it anyway, I've told her to come. The other one is very malnourished, but they have discharged him from the hospital. For now she is staying nearby as well.

4:35 - I brought the journal to the bathroom to see if I could catch up! I really hope things slow down now! It's really a hot and muggy day.

Jonathan has a bible study on our porch on Wed and Thurs afternoons. It is supposed to start at 4:30 but no one is here yet, including Jonathan! I spend a few minutes straightening things up out there. We are sleeping out there still since it is much cooler at night.

5:00 - Cherise and I take a shower. It is VERY bleachy - like my nose and eyes burn a bit! Cherise is very whiny and so I bring in some of Jonathan's well water to wash her hair and face.

5:45 - Feed Cherise leftovers while trying to be quiet since they are still in the bible study.

Gary is and has been outside talking to people and listening to all their woes.

6:20 - Cherise and I have worship quietly and brush teeth, etc to get her ready for bed.

6:45 - They bible study is finished so Cherise goes to bed. I set up her fan, music, etc. It's dark already.

Discuss a few things with Gary until somebody else shows up to talk to him. I try to send/receive email, but it doesn't work.

7:00 - Eat by myself, since who knows when Gary will be done.

7:30 - J&G finally come back in and eat. Then we clean up using Jonathan's well water to wash dishes.

8:15 - I'm exhausted, so I head to bed, which still takes several minutes! We have to bring a chair with books on top to put the fan on and then put the mosquito net down and then take the quilt off the bed so that all the dust from the mosquito net won't fall on the bed! Gary is still doing something on his computer and I barely notice when he comes to bed.

baby update

May 28

So, I just wanted to update you this am. They baby made it through the night. His head is quite swollen and deformed, but he was sitting up and looked fine. I didn't look at him too closely since he started to fuss when I touched him, so we don't want that! Anyway, keep praying for him.

On another note, we have a dead rat in our well - again! We had one last year too. I thought the water smelled in the shower even the night before last. But we had just had a big rain and during the rain we smelled sewer! Gary finally figured out that the vent from our sewer was under water, so as soon as the water soaked in it was fine, but I just thought what I was smelling was something related to that. Then last night it still smelled, but we had quite a big rain yesterday evening as well, so I wasn't sure. Then when Gary got home from the hospital and took a shower, he realized what it was. So, first thing this am they are working on that, but had a local guy helping and Gary left for a few minutes and he popped the stomach so then it sunk! So, they pumped most of the water out of the well, Gary went to get a better rope and someone is going down in there to clean it out. I guess there's a lot of other gunk in there too. In the mean time, I am very thankful for Jonathan's well and we are bringing in water from there! I ran down to the hospital early to try to get some bleach and they would only give me one liter - they only had 5 left! So, Jonathan is looking for bleach at the market right now. Always something...

So, last night when we saw the baby, Gary asked who the father was, and he was right there. So, Gary said, "If you want to pick a fight, pick a man, not a defenseless child!" A guy nearby said, "he was only trying to beat his wife"! Well, he must have been trying to kill his wife because it was some serious force that hit the poor baby. So, Gary said, "Well, it's not good to beat your wife either! You will kill your kids like this!" The father never said a word, he just stood there obviously very angry! Then when Gary went back they weren't going to do anything for the baby because the father didn't want to pay. (I said, "Lock him up until he does!") So, the father was sitting there messing with a cell phone and talking to his buddies like nothing was wrong, so Gary went over and said he needed to go pay and he said he didn't have money, so Gary took the phone out of his hand. (The hospital has a system so if they don't have money they can pay with whatever they have and the hospital will hold it until they bring the money, or if they never come then the hospital sells it.) The guy said, "It's not mine". Gary said, "I don't care. Go get some money. Do you want a dead kid or a live one?" So the dad actually did go and get some money. It really makes my blood boil and I said last night that he will blame the wife, but that's not all - everyone will blame the wife! It is so frustrating. I really wish I knew how to help the women here, but it just really hit me how low people will go when they do not have Jesus in their heart!


These posts are a bit old, but I got lax about posting them, so still a story that gives a glimpse into the life of the people in Chad.

May 27
We were just down at the hospital and as we were leaving saw a group of
people coming in quite quickly. I didn't see anything since it is dark,
but Gary saw a child with a lot of blood. We kept going a bit, and then
he turned around to see if we could help. It is a baby I would guess
about two and he has at least a 3" gash in the back of his head where
his father hit him! The father was trying to beat the wife, but most
likely she had the baby on her back and he hit the baby. It had to be
some serious force as the skull is dented in as well, and it is all the
way down to the brain. The baby was convulsing already. The local guy is
supposed to be coming in, so we left and told them to call if they need
help, but there isn't much to do. They will need to clean it up and give
antibiotics and something to stop the convulsions, but the serious
problems will be when it starts swelling. So, please pray for the baby.
It is so sad and makes us so angry! I think the father will go to jail,
but probably just til he can pay a fine. And he will blame it all on his
wife for provoking him!


May 4, 2010

One year ago we were enjoying the last month of Kaleb's life. Of
course we never would have dreamed it at the time, and I guess that's
partly why I am writing this letter. There isn't much I wouldn't give to
hold him in my arms right now and bask in his presence, and I long for
the resurrection when this wish will be reality. So I just want to
remind you to spend time with the people you love - other things just
aren't more important. And also, we must always be ready; we never know
how much time we have left.

I also want to say thank you so much to each person who has prayed for
us, written encouraging emails, and supported us financially. We are
very thankful for all that so many people have done. We received emails
from people all over the world and it means so much to know people are
praying for you. We also are very thankful for time we had to be with
our families. It was very healing.

So, now we are back in Chad. It was hard to come back, but good at the
same time. Life here is very hard and we see so much suffering, That at
times it is hard not to get discouraged, so please continue to pray for us.

The money we received in memory of Kaleb is going toward starting a
nutrition center for the many malnourished children and babies here.
Right now we are looking at land to purchase and we have some One-day
Church buildings that we can put up quickly for housing and the center.
We have talked to the government authorities and received their
blessing, so we are moving forward. Even though we don't have the
building up yet, we are already working with a few babies here and
there. I found one almost two weeks ago now and begged the mother to
bring him so I could feed him. First he had to spend a week in the
hospital for malaria treatment, so during that time I made soy or peanut
milk twice a day and took it to him. It was a lot of work, and he is
such a skeleton, I didn't know if there was any way he could survive,
but so far he has. While I was at the hospital, I noticed another very
malnourished baby, so I started taking him milk as well, but he died the
next day. It is so sad and so needless, so I really pray we will be able
to make a difference for the children here, but more than just feeding
them physically, I hope that we will be leading them to the Bread of
Life as well.