Saturday, September 26, 2009
9/15/09 - Slums
Found out today that baby Mark has a parasite... Add another (disgusting!) medicine to his roster. But he IS doing much better, moving his legs some now, sleeping better, breathing better. Malyka is the crier - Mark is quite discreet so far! :o)
Today was our visit to Nomowongo, the slums, and our house visits. We visited 3 women: Agnes, Caroline, and Doreen. Walking into the slums was just an assault on the senses. ALL the senses. The smell was indescribable... human and animal waste, rotting meat, trash. We had worn closed toed shoes (esp after Vicka's description of a "blob" that stuck to her shoe the day before), but the dirt and filth was beyond description. Walking through the houses, with our guide and interpreter Joanne, we got a following of children. Most of them wanted to hold our hands, especially Zeke's - but really, there was true joy in their eyes.
Our first visit was Agnes, who lives in a 6x8' room with 6 of her 7 children. She sews jewelry bags for Ray of Hope, and they have loaned her a manual sewing machine, which is also in this room. She is smiling and happy, and has entreprenurial plans to import beans and flour from the country to the city market to sell.
Our second stop, starting to rain by now, was at Caroline's 'house.' She has a bit larger room, and is sitting on the floor making beaded necklaces. She does beautiful work! She is elderly - she thinks she is 51, but we calculate that she must be older, since her husband was killed in 1972 during Edi Amin's reign, and she has 8 children (it is likely that some or all of the children were not with her husband, an unfortunate cultural problem). She has not seen or heard from any of her children since two of her sons went to the Sudan in 1988. She has no other family. As we are talking to her, we realize she has a hernia the size of a grapefruit under her breasts... and yet she is sitting there, on the concrete floor, working! After finding out the cost of surgery, I offer to pay it (275,000 shillings, or $148 approximately), and Suzanne and Joanne arrange for her to get the the hospital. (We discovered later than Hope Clinic at IHK will take her on, so the surgery will be free of charge.) Her story is so so sad - she is truly who the Lord was talking about when He said to care for "the widows in their distress."
Finally (raining now, so camera up!), we see Doreen. She is also elderly, but in a good home with a friend (the largest we've seen, which is all of 8x10'), with friends and family around. She speaks only Swahili, so we have 2 interpreters! She has some eye problems, but received glasses from Father's House recently, and is too scared to have a surgery. She is able to work making beads, and she and a neighbor sell some produce at the door, so she is doing, comparatively, well.
We return to Ray of Hope and tell Emily we will discuss things on our safari (we leave TOMORROW!). My heart is so burdened for Caroline, so we make sure with her that she will be taken the next day to the doctor.