Forgive me for being behind, hopefully I can catch up on all that I have been doing. The past two weeks kind of run together so it will probably just be an overview and not day by day which you are probably thankful for.
The past two Sundays I have been going to this wonderful couple who have been teaching me how to sew bags that they make for a living. My mama introduced Kristina and I to the couple shortly after coming and I have expressed a great interest in learning how to make some of their bags. They live about five minutes away and told me that I could come anytime to learn from them. We have been gone a lot of weekends but the past two Sundays I have been able to go over and spend four to five hours with them sewing. It has been amazing and I have loved every minute of it. They are such an incredible couple whom I have grown to love. They are in their early thirties and have wonderful senses of humor and a heart for hospitality. The wife, Jemima, is handicapped because her legs are not fully developed. She sits on the floor of their little work area and she is able to completely function and maneuver around, and up until Wednesday, November 18th, she had been pregnant, but still doing everything within her reach. She is wonderful and amazing; beautiful inside and out, with such a loving heart. The husband, Robert, is the one who helps me sew in the ways that she cannot, and he has been wonderful and has a wonderful sense of humor. They are both great, great together, and great with others, especially this little girl that lives right next to them. My time with them has been wonderful and I was able to make a bag for my mama that she absolutely loved.
The other nice thing about the past two Sundays is that we have actually been able to go to church with our family and to not have to stand up and introduce ourselves. It is a wonderful feeling such being a part of the congregation and the pastor asked us to come over and have dinner with his family. Kristina and I went last week and met his three adorable little girls who were precious! Spending time with them in their home was like stepping into a little America. The home was very nice and western (American) in appearance and the food, though still Ugandan, tasted amazing with new flavors that we had not yet experienced, and tender meat!! It was a wonderful time, especially just being able to spend time with a family who spoke very good English and could understand us.
Last weekend Kristina, I, and a group of other IMME students went to the capital, Kampala, and went to a craft market where we were able to finish all of our shopping, which was wonderful, and to eat at New York Kitchen, which is American food! It was nice to get out and spend time with people in our group under a non-academic setting, and eating American food was definitely a perk! While in Kampala we also went to the grocery store because this week we made dinner for our family. It was amazing to have a roommate in this process because if I wouldn’t have had a roommate I am pretty sure I would have been something extremely easy and generic. But instead we made French toast with vanilla, cinnamon, powered sugar, and honey; scrambled eggs with onions, peppers, and cheese (which was crazy expensive); mashed potatoes with garlic, onions, and peppers; and no-bake cookies. It went incredible well, much better than either of us were expecting, which was great! They had no idea that we could make something so flavorful. The no-bake cookies were a definite hit which was exciting. Kristina and I definitely enjoyed that night, it all tasted wonderful, especially the French toast which was like heaven on a fork. We had to feed ten people which made it a little tricky when trying to figure how much ingredients to buy (such as eleven pounds of potatoes) but it went wonderful and we had enough food with a little left over.
We have a program on campus called Save the Mothers which was started by a doctor from Canada who lives over here with her husband and children. A group of us went to hear a presentation from her this week and it was fascinating hearing what is happening in Uganda and what the program does. The amount of child and mother deaths due to complications and delays in childbirth is horrifically outstanding. This concept was enlightening and very interesting and it was unfortunately brought home this week when I personally saw how truthful and relevant the information was. Jamima who I spoke of before as being pregnant went into labor on Tuesday and because of her handicap (they are thought of as not a complete woman) she was not given the immediate attention that she needed. They did not do surgery until Wednesday night and it was stillborn by that time. The doctors were not telling Robert anything that was going on (men are not allowed in the rooms) besides that she was singing gospel hymns in the hospital room. It took him awhile to figure out what had happened to his own child. The simple fact that it could have been prevented and knowing that if it had happened in the States the doctor would no longer be working at the hospital… The funeral was yesterday, November 19th, though Jamima was still in the hospital. It was a rainy gloomy graveside funeral that consisted of a tiny coffin with a cross carved into the top of it and a small but deep hole in the ground. It was devastating. The pastor spoke as well as Robert and his brother. It was truly awful, but being able to go with Kristina helped support them and make it seem real to us. We also went with another USE student, she in one who lives on campus, but during the semester they go and live with families for two weeks around school. This was her family. The praiseworthy part is that Jamima is fine and should be released from the hospital in a few more days. It is a true miracle that she will be fine and we are all praying for her and Robert both, and I hope that you will join us, for they are in desperate need of them.
I am sorry to end on this sad note and I encourage you all to realize what we take for granted in the states, such as there are hardly any childbirth complications; such a natural process of life that we have no need to fear, but that drastically affects women and families here every day.