Monday, July 7, 2014

News long-overdue from Timu

Am I actually on the blog? Is this really happening? Believe me when I tell you it's taken me no less than five weeks to get on this blog and post. Chalk it up to especially terrible internet. Maybe this will encourage those of you who don't like waiting for online pages to load.

I've loaded a bunch of pictures because we haven't blogged in so long and I simply can't eliminate our 'happenings' from May.

Terrill's brother (Chad) and sister (Laura) came for a visit. It was a delightful, encouraging time. We picked them up and took them to Timu for a week, only to return south a week later in order to have our court hearing for the legal guardianship. The time together was full of chai and chatting. They glimpsed our life and we were updated on theirs. Below we are making a nightly visit to our neighbors. The girls were immediately enthralled by their new aunt and uncle and pleased for any/all attention.
Chewing grass with Uncle Chad
A sad day of farewells before they flew home.

Before we left Kampala, we took the girls swimming at one of our favorite playgrounds 'Freedom City'. I just had to include this photo because Lemu (tiny girl in pink) thought she could pull that big inner-tube to the rail. What she didn't realize was that the rope was tied to the rail and she was pulling on the rail instead of the inner-tube. Where is Janet? Inside the inner-tube. It looked like fun and my friend & I lamented that we didn't have these kind of playgrounds when we were growing up in the 80's. 
On the road-trip home. Our new tradition is to buy a pizza the night before a trip and eat it for lunch the next day on the dusty road. Those of you who have been through Karamoja know that there are no restaurants or cafes to dine in along the way. And my girls' favorite food is 
A view of our house on the road to Timu (cream building in center).
One of Terrill's first chores was to put up a new rope swing for the girls. They love to climb, so he put knots into the rope that would allow them to climb up to the branch. They...and all their it.
Another chore was to cut Lemu's hair. She does not like for anyone to 'do' her hair, whether braiding or dreading. I can't blame her because I have a sensitive head myself. So, we keep cutting her hair short. This time, however, we decided to mix it up again and give her a Mu-Hawk.
The girls are both fascinated with grasshoppers. Janet is usually the brave one, but Lemu will not be outdone by her sister and decided to let a walking-stick crawl all over her head (it's by her ear in the pic).
 Back in Timu, the girls and I headed back to the kitchen. I'm amazed and thankful by their good palates, good sense of smell, and helpfulness when in the kitchen. I think they'll turn out to be good cooks one day. It's so surprising because they come from a culture of bland foods (think cornmeal mush and beans with no seasonings...salt at the most...twice a day...every day). Maybe that is why they appreciate spice and flavors. Below, Lemu is rolling out chapatis for me.
Being helpful by doing afternoon dishes. They enjoy any opportunity to get wet. 
One of our new cooking ventures is to make pita bread to go with our weekly hummus....the girls second favorite food next to pizza. I know it's unconventional to only eat hummus and pita for dinner...but hey...we live in Timu, which is unconventional in itself. 
Head-gear fun
Rough-housing with daddy
 Okay, the above picture is me removing a jigger from Janet's toe. What's a jigger? A sand flea that bores into the skin of your hands and feet. They eat away the flesh wherever they bore in and they start producing eggs, which they drop into the sand while still in your foot. The eggs hatch in the sand and become more fleas that reinfect and bore into more places in your feet. The scary thing for me...jiggers have come to our compound. We took precautions and made the sandbox off-limits for a number of days. Terrill sprayed. We wore shoes. And thankfully, we haven't found any more jiggers in our feet. But, our neighbors and friends still have tons of jiggers and keep coming to me for help. One day I worked on an elderly woman for four hours. I worked on three toes and removed around 100 jiggers (a white sack with a black body inside). She had seven more toes full of jiggers. After that, I decided the Ik would need to pull their jiggers out on their own time. Now I hand out safety pins and vaseline. The vaseline (when put on top of the jigger) is supposed to suffocate and kill the jigger. Then the person can pull the jigger out. It is said that some people in Kaabong district have died of jiggers. They got so many that their limbs eventually got gangrene and they died of a blood infection. I believe it's currently under control, but it's odd how such a tiny thing could cause havoc in people's lives. Pulling out jiggers below too.
 We've had a very sad month of June, which Terrill wrote about in our previous post. Several friends have died, two of which had AIDS. One man who died was young and educated. He knew he should take his medicine, which could extend his life by decades, but he was too ashamed to be seen at the HIV clinic. There is still a stigma here surrounding AIDS and people do treat you differently when they know you're infected. So out of shame, even the educated do not take life-saving medication. This really upsets me and I wasn't about to let it go. For one thing, I started talking about AIDS with anybody who would listen. I warned parents to talk with their teenagers (who are promiscuous). I warned teenagers to stay away from soldiers and prostitution. I warned men not to take women who had been with other men and were not yet tested for HIV. I asked the pastor if I could share in church with both the married couples and the youth. And I encouraged people to stop 'keeping quiet' about AIDS. I'm determined not to let it be a silent killer. Have my efforts paid off? There are glimpses of hope. Last Friday an old man showed up at my house asking to be taken to Kaabong for an HIV test for his wife who had left him for a number of months. I was encouraged. He was trying to prevent the spread of HIV. He was conscientious. One thing the Ik have asked of me is that I would carry the HIV tests myself. There are some really simple tests I can do and it would ensure a measure of privacy on their part. They would not have to be seen at the HIV clinic.

Below, Terrill stands beside the grave of our friend, Lopuwa Paul. He was one of Terrill's early language helpers.
This was another funeral we attended for Janet & Lemu's paternal auntie. She also died of AIDS. She & her husband had been unfaithful to each other at some point and both had contracted AIDS from different sources. There is something to be said of faithfulness to one's spouse. The wages of sin is death...
 At the funeral, the old women were cutting some hair off the head of the children (with a razor). Don't know what this ritual means, but it is performed....probably in protection of the child against evil spirits.
 A glimpse of the mourning hut (straight-ahead with someone going through the door). The widow of the deceased must stay in this make-shift hut for a week of mourning. Thankfully, she is usually attended to well by the family.
Speaking about HIV/AIDS at the church. Visual aids seem to help most with comprehension. 
 Below is our front yard. We keep waiting for rain but have only gotten sprinkles in the past few weeks. It looks green but it's been so dry lately and the crops are dying.
Our multi-racial family. Sometimes we feel like different flavors of ice cream...but put them all together...and you have a delicious mix (chocolate, caramel, vanilla).

We'll remain in Timu for the month of July. Life is mundane, but satisfying. Terrill is doing final revisions of the Ik grammar before submitting it to his advisor. I continue to see sick children and those with wounds. The girls are growing like weeds and eating more than I do. I would ask for your prayers as I fill out and apply for the girls' passports in the coming month. We pray the Lord would show us favor at the government offices. I would also ask your prayers for perseverance during this month as we're feeling the need for a break from the work, yet we cannot have that break yet. We need Almighty God to sustain us just a little longer.


Rachel Ranck said...

I'm always so blessed to read about the ways y'all are ministering to the people around you. God bless you abundantly with strength and grace!!

The Reeds said...

Praying for the passports and for staying power for these next few weeks. Of course loved seeing all of the pics and hearing in detail about daily life. I am so so sorry for the hard times as of late (hard-er).

Lynn Hyman said...

Oh, how I love reading your blog!!! I know I owe you a long overdue letter. Praying for you and yours!