Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Adventures With Mark... The BIG Move & A Proud Canadian!

Well, I have to admit that it has been far too long since we have last communicated. Since our last official newsletter we have celebrated the birth of our Lord and moved to our new school. Yes, it was not so much of a glorious adventure, but a lot of hard work with some definite excitement at the same time. It took a staff of about 30 a full week to pack everything and truck it an hour down the road out of the city and to unpack it. Even two months later we still have boxes as we await the completion of storage areas.

The official start of the school year began with our new school also as a construction site with many doors and windows, missing and plasterless walls. My temporary office was a classroom that also included the library, staff room, and work desks for the deputy headmaster and house manager, dirt floor rough brick walls and empty window frames barred over with wood. After a week in my new home three other rooms were occupancy ready as the concrete screening for the floors had set and we moved into our new permanent office home. Luckily for me a snake had not heard the moving date and came early for a visit one morning. I was not in, but he was spotted through the painless window and quickly disposed of. (99.9% of snakes in Uganda are considered poisonous). That’s what we get for moving to the country! No more city pressure. Just snakes! There have been countless temporary allocations for the library, classrooms, staff room, and school supplies as the construction continues. Yes, we have had an adventure, but thankfully the students are very excited to be in their new home as there is a lot of space to run around. About six snakes have been killed but God has protected everyone and provided much needed energy for the staff who have worked extremely hard.

As we move forward into more of a daily routine we are still working on finishing the first phase of the building project. Classrooms are still having doors and windows added along with plaster and flooring. Sidewalks and plaster on the outside of some buildings are also being worked on. The plan was to have things completed before we moved in but that did not end up happening. Currently we continue to trust God to provide for the completion of the school. Our faith based organization has seen donations decline since the ‘credit crunch’ which has affected their general budgets and caused cutbacks at the school. But through all of that, God has been good and we have been able to meet our operating targets (though we feel stretched to the max) and provide an excellent education for the children. However, I continue to feel a hunger to have the school completed which means simple things like plastering, paint, landscaping and important things like fencing and an access road developed. Yes, on some rainy days you would not be leaving our property without four wheel drive.

On a different note I continue to see how good Canada is the longer we are in Uganda… During the Olympics I was dying to see some of the action and especially the men’s hockey. In fact the night of the big game against the US, a Canadian friend and I spent until 2 in the morning trying to find the game televised somewhere. After searching everywhere we found nothing and went to bed not too happy. Yes, I will admit that some of you would laugh at a few of the places we poked our heads into just to see if they were airing it on their big screen (most pubs here are dedicated almost solely to soccer matches. And they are generally, should I say, ‘rustic’). But we wanted so badly to see that game and just as importantly to stand in a far away land and sing so proudly OH CANADA! It turns out we won and I sang OH CANADA several times the next day on the way to work in the car where no one could hear me or even see the odd tear coming down my red and white cheeks. Yes, Canada has a lot of work to do, but from the glasses I am looking through there are not a lot of countries better.

Well, I should sign off, but we would love to hear from you and all the best in 2010 from the Williams Four in Uganda

Adventures With Sarah... LIfe As A Family In Uganda

This is such a long time in coming. I think I’ll say that Christmas was amazing as we saw it through the eyes of our little ones. No snow but what a sweet time of being together and being excited about new toys, yummy food, and the lights on the tree. We did begin our tradition of giving to a needy family. Seth had so much fun wrapping the gifts for the children (whom we didn’t know) and then announcing to them excitedly what was in them as he handed them over. Jodie enjoyed the handing out as well. It was very special to see how God led us to a family for whom we had the right amount of presents and who were in a location that didn’t attract a swarm of other children we couldn’t give anything to. Giving food to the mother was a blessing as well. What a privilege to be able to care for our own family and have enough left over to love someone else! That is not the reality for the majority of families over here.

Another way I’ve realized how blessed we are is through recent sickness our kids have had. I think I’m going to map out our Feb/March for you a bit.

Feb.19.. Sarah sings at a concert with some friends she’s been writing songs with… while prepping to leave Jodie grabs the hot iron and severely burns her left hand. This resulted in two weeks of changing the bandages twice every day and no playing outside in the dirt. (As well as severe clinginess to mommy which resulted in very low productivity!)

Feb.25.. Seth begins screaming with stomach pain very suddenly and begging for a ‘bandaid’ on his tummy. Sarah borrows a car from a friend and rushes him to the clinic. He is diagnosed with amoebas and needs 5 days of very nasty meds.

Feb. 26-28 Sarah leaves Mark with both kids (Jodie with a bandaged hand and Seth taking yucky meds) and speaks at a church women’s retreat which she has been involved in planning since November. Everyone fared very well while she was gone. Three cheers for daddy!

March 8.. Seth gets a high fever and diarrhea. Is diagnosed with a bacterial infection which is very common here right now, and has 5 more days of yucky meds.

March 12.. Jodie begins to have fever and diarrhea.. she was cutting a big molar and these are normal symptoms for Jodie cutting teeth (she struggles!) (Bacterial infections aren’t contagious like viruses but you need to come in contact with the bacteria itself through physical touch and then get it in your mouth)

March 16.. Jodie’s tooth starts coming through but she begins to vomit. Mommy takes her to the clinic and she has a bacterial infection as well. The doctor prescribes very yucky syrup that she must take every 6 hours for 7 days (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

March 17.. Jodie can’t keep down any food or fluids and starts to dehydrate. A friend drives Sarah and kids to the clinic while Mark tries to wrap up his work day quickly and come home. Jodie gets anti-vomit injection and spends 3 hours at the clinic just to be sure she would be able to keep down her meds.. her prescription is changed to a once a day antibiotic for three days (hallelujah!)

March 18.. Seth starts vomiting. Sarah thinks ‘there’s no way he has another bacterial thing because he was just on antibiotics, so maybe it’s just a stomach flu’. At 5.30 PM he starts having diarrhea and his fever spikes. Sarah’s pretty sure it’s not a stomach flu by now. Mark gets home as quick as possible, house-girl, Joyce stays with Jodie, and we’re off to the clinic. Seth needs an anti-vomit injection (by the end of the day he’d vomited 12 times) and is on a drip for 4 hours to re-hydrate him. We left the clinic at midnight with more meds for a bacterial infection and his fever under control.

March 19.. Jodie is better and taking her last dose of antibiotics. Seth is still lying on the couch and not even talking much. Has diarrhea all day and no appetite but keeps fluids down. At 7.30 PM he starts vomiting again. So we call some friends to stay with Jodie and rush him to the clinic with a fever of 102F. He gets another anti vomit injection and stays at the clinic till about 11.

But on the way there Mark says he’s not feeling well. By the time we get there he goes straight to the bathroom and then to one of the sick beds at the clinic. Imagine the surprise of the doctor when he tells us we can take Seth home and we say, ‘Could you please check Mark first?’ Apparently Mark had gotten some food poisoning from something he’d eaten that day and was struck with severe diarrhea and vomiting. (Are you laughing now?) A friend of mine was nearby so agreed to ride along with us home to hold Seth because he was too weak to sit in his car seat on his own on these bumpy roads, and I drove while Mark clenched his teeth and clutched a barf bag all the way home. That night Sarah stayed up till 3 making strawberry jam for a sale the next day. Sarah sold jam at the sale until 2 PM and then had practice for leading worship on Sunday. Mark was well enough to watch Seth on Sunday while Sarah and Jodie went to church.

Note-able moments of the month? 1.Showering liquid diarrhea off of Jodie and hearing Seth come to the bathroom saying ‘I have to puke!’. He ended up on the toilet having diarrhea and puking in a bucket at the same time. The laundry was mountainous! 2. The look on the doctor’s face when we told him Mark needed some medical attention. ‘Really?’ he said. 3. On Seth’s fourth day of his third stomach affliction he was beginning to feel better. Late afternoon he said casually, ‘Mom, I need to go diarrhea’. ‘Okay, come on let’s go!’ Sarah said. He began to saunter to the bathroom singing cheerfully, ‘Diarrhea! Diarrhea! Diarrhea!’.

But, my thankfulness comes from the fact that I can take my children to the clinic when they are sick. Many children here die from such illnesses because their parents don’t have the money for or cannot make it to a clinic. God has blessed me in so many ways!

Adventures With Seth & Jodie

Seth. Do you know that some cats are mommies? My cat is! She had three babies in the night. So I got to see them when I woke up in the morning. They are very tiny and they usually like me. Sometimes they cry but then I give them back to their mom. I’m always very gentle with them and I tell Jodie to be careful. I love to just sit by the basket and look at them and pet them and talk to my cat, Tonka. She’s a good mommy. So when my friends come over I show them my kitties. Next time I will tell you how much I have learned about school.
Jodie. I like baby kitties. When Seth is holding them I always say, ‘Too?! Too?!’ which means I want to hold them too. First I sit down, but then they stick their little claws on me and I drop them on the floor and I cry and they cry for their mama. But you know what? Their mama is really tough. Because for a long time there was a rat coming into our kitchen at night trying to find food and daddy and brave Uncle Francis were chasing him with sticks and making traps and stuff. But he was always getting away. Then one night mommy was sick so daddy got up in the night with me when I cried. I asked for milk and daddy went to the kitchen. And you know what? That rat was on the counter top!!! So daddy grabbed Tonka who was under the table with her babies and he threw the cat at the rat! And daddy said she grabbed that rat so fast you could hardly see it!!!! Man I wish I could have seen that!!!! But daddy still made my milk for me. Then he ran into the bedroom where mommy was trying to sleep and made big muscle arms saying, ‘We caught the rat! We caught the rat!!!” I think I’m going to be brave like Tonka when I grow up! Next time I will tell you about all the words I can say. I’m big! Bye bye!