Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Isaac's Mother

I love it that I have family here in Uganda.

Isaac's mother came to Kampala for a visit and so we met her after she had been to the airport and zoo for the first time. We decided that she needed another cream and an elevator ride!

I love this lady!!!

Mama's good friend (in red) with her daughter (in black and white) with her children.

So great!

A Car

We are thanking God for allowing us to have a car!!!

It truly has simplified life and allowed for more family time with limited time wasted on transportation.

Isaac enjoyed the first wash alone, he wouldn't let me was about to rain so I was glad :)


So my parents came for a visit. And so blogging has gone out the window. Sorry

We went to a friend's church for the service. Mom enjoyed the full body worship as we danced.

A huge blessing to have dad help with the solar!!!

And I almost stepped on this little guy on my walk home. Thought I'd bring him home and keep him. Too bad Isaac doesn't like animals. So I put him in the rose bush and never saw him again. Crazy chameleon.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Graduate School Ceremony

Isaac has been working like a dog at his graduate level medical school (residency). He is a teacher and supervisor to the lower level doctors, a student in his classes and with his seniors, he's a full time working doctor and surgeon and if that's not enough he gets to "sleep" at the hospital once a week on the night duty while working the day before and after.

I don't see my husband very much being that he's gone about 12 hours a day. But we do enjoy the time we have together.

This was a moment where he got to take a break for the day. A ceremony for the university was being held. It was a white coat event. I took this opportunity to join the festivities.

Fall is here...sort of

Step 1: buy pumpkin

Step 2: cut in half

Step 3 & 4: clean out seeds and place on cookie sheet. (I'm too lazy to scrap off the cooked on pumpkin so I used foil)

Step 5: bake pumpkin

Step 6: scrap out flesh

Neighbor Children

When the children are and fun commence

It all started with 3 little heads peeping through my window saying "Story? Aunt Rachel, story?"
The story then turned into a whole gathering of children.

Often there are only about 4 or 5 children playing around and in my yard. But this day there were so many that I thought we should play some games.

 One thing lead to another, story to relay races, relay races to acrobatic acts, this lead to a full blown dance party. I brought out our small drum and the children showed me that they certainly knew how to beat it. They danced and sang to the point that neighbors were gathering to watch.

I love it when fun just finds me :)
I also love having neighbors with so much fun and joy in their lives.

Truly I am blessed to live in this neighborhood.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

English Class

I've been asked to help with an English class my church is doing...teacher seems to be me.
These are some of my students (it's hit and miss how many I have on a given class day)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The devil is a liar

The Devil is a liar. This is a phrase that I often here in Uganda. I'm not sure why we don't use it everywhere.

This last week I had the privileged of traveling to Jinja with a woman who is working with people with disabilities here in Uganda. She travels around the country empowering nationals and those working with people with disabilities with trainings and encouragement. I'm honored to have met such a noble woman who dedicates her life to helping make other's lives easier.
We went to two orphanages in and around Jinja who serve people with disabilities. The second one was in the middle of a sugar plantation! The first is the one I would like to share with you today.
We drive down the street and I couldn't have missed it. Children are sitting on the raised porch. They are a all lined up in their wheelchairs. They are so excited to see their good friend, the woman who brought me. We begin greeting child after child. It is easy to notice that many have CP. Their arms and legs are bent and their muscles are working against them. I have worked with people with CP many times and so I know that the brain over muscle control is strong and these children can't help their spastic movements. I offer my hand and wait. Some are eager for the challenge to get their muscles to cooperate for the connection of hands which will suffice for a handshake. Others this challenge is far too great and I quickly grab their hand and shake it for them. I ask their names and some who can speak feed me the information. I greet each by name. There faces beam up at me. They are so happy to meet me. With the exception of one, the woman who brought me says that she's always grumpy :)
From the entry way comes bouncing two children. They are so excited to see my friend. Peter, can't contain himself. His little legs, not developed for lack of walking pressure, jet in and out behind him propelling him along. His arms, with clenched fists, are on the ground holding his small body up. He has mastered the art of crawling even with the extreme difficulty his muscles give him. He cannot contain his joy and burst of joy come spilling out of his mouth in screams and yells. I am happy to be here with him.
Once inside I am hit with the smell of urine. My thoughts go back to an orphanage I visited in Burundi. At that orphanage the children openly urinate on the floors. I am impressed at this orphanage the children all have on makeshift diapers in the form of towels, the workers quickly wash the floors as accidents happen. The children all look healthy and clean. Again I am happy to here there.
While on the tour I see how much the staff members care for these children. They know them by name and seem to be working on a different skill with each child. Children are taken for physical therapy. The supplies aren't many but you can tell they are used and the children's muscles are stretched to keep them functioning. There are multiple small bedrooms and the children have a bed of their very own to sleep in with a staff member in the room. At night a staff member is in charge of only 4-8 children at a time. This is such a great day for me to see such great things happening for children.
During meal time I was sitting next to a boy, he looked to be about 13-15years old (I could be very wrong). He was being fed and was having much difficulty. In the states most of these children would be tube fed. That just isn't an option in this village setting. The children instead are fed the local food of rice or posho (think of a corn flour dough ball). I was able to help this boy turn on his side and cough out the food that had blocked his airway.
While feeding a woman entered the room, this was the director but also the mother of this boy. The boy (not pictured) was so happy to see his mother that he started humming. She had such love and care for her son. She had taken what seemed, the the world around her, a bad situation of having a child with disabilities and had reached out to other children who found themselves "left out in the cold". This woman's heart shined through. She really did care about those who Jesus showed such love for in the gospels.
When asked what the best part of my three day trip I easily said it was this center I visited. It was such a blessing to see a mother of a child with a disability reaching out to other children in her area with disabilities, some of which are left under a tree to die.
This is where I come to the title of my post. Three days after visiting this center and seeing the lovely faces I received word that the director's son, the one I helped while eating, had died.
My thoughts went directly to that phrase "the devil is a liar." This was the encouragement that Isaac and I received when we lost Elijah. We didn't understand it at the time but as the minutes and hours after his passing moved on the devil's lies seemed to creep into our thoughts. We were so vulnerable that if not careful his lies could have walked right into our souls. People around were so well meaning but things they said weren't true. Things like, just get over it. Don't cry he wasn't even alive when he was born. Things like, you'll get another one. The devil used those thoughts to creep as far as we would allow them. It was great to have Isaac around because we worked the guard shift for each other. When one of us would say something that wasn't right we would correct the other. Feeding ourselves truth instead of lies. We were believing truth, even though it hurt sometimes.
I just received a call from my friend. She stayed for the funeral and to support this mother. She said that the things that people said were so hurtful. "Why do you morn over a lame person, you should be happy." These people's words let us know that they have completely missed the person lost, all they can see is the burden lost. I praise God that this mother didn't see her son as a burden but as a person. We are all made in the image of the Almighty God and if we dismiss that then we miss out on the full image of who God is. Perhaps it is strength in weakness, perhaps it is something else about his nature that he wants to reveal through these precious ones who for no reason of their own seem to be trapped in bodies.
The funny thing about the devil is that he is predictable. I had only met this mother for 2 minutes while she was greeting her son and yet I knew what lie the devil would throw at her, "all your work was in vain, he died anyways." What a hurtful message. I've heard that one from him before. He uses it in so many situations, I was all prepared for something and it was canceled, I wrote an application or did a job interview and was rejected, I poured my heart and soul into something and people don't show up. Again and again I hear the deceiver's words come through, "all your word was for nothing". I'm glad I know that he is a liar and the work was not in vain.
For this mother, my prayer is that she would not listen to the devil and that she would continue to serve people with disabilities and letting them know that Jesus loves them. This the devil doesn't like and this he will do his best to fight against.
Please join me in prayer for this, mother, her family, the staff members, and the other children who cannot express their sorrow for the loss of their friend.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Adult English Literacy Class

I've been asked to help out with an English class at our church. I'm very excited about the opportunity to share hope with people of the community, and teach English :) Classes begin today at 3pm.

I dug through all my children's resources and looked for things that were age appropriate and would be helpful for those who are just starting to learn.
Thank you to Elizabeth Roberts, Sue McMaster, Bette B and many others who have invested in my educational resource collection!!! It's good when I don't have to start from scratch. Blessings to you!

Family- an investment in the future

It is great to have family around. Yesterday we hosted Denis and Vanessa. 
We love having the opportunity to invest in the future. These children will one day run Uganda...and we get to be part of shaping into the people they will become.

They like coming to Uncle Isaac's and Aunt Rachel's house :)

When I grow up I want to be a Doctor

We meet many children here that have no idea what they want to be when they grow up.
This girl on the other hand knows very well. When I asked her she clearly said, "I want to be a doctor". I told her that when Isaac got home that he would let her "play" with his doctor "toys".

We talked about blood pressure, they always her Grandma talking about was time to measure theirs.

Oh the Laundry

It's bad when you have laundry from the second week in June and now it is the beginning on Sept.
My clothes pin holder :)
  When we left for the states we only did the laundry we had to do because of the time it takes to hand wash and line dry. So Saturday we did the laundry...all of it. It was probably 3 loads worth (if we had a machine) It took my experienced washer (Isaac) over 8 hours to wash all the laundry. By the time I hung that on the line he had another bucket full to hang up.
Being that it is rainy season it is now Tuesday and the clothing still isn't dry!!! I put the clothes on the line and then an hour later would have to bring them in. Then the rain would stop and back to the line those clothes went. I've been going back and forth for the last 4 days!!! Yikes, this is work.
Our new game plan...don't let the laundry pile up. :) We all know how well that plan works.

Saturday, August 30, 2014


You know those type of friends who you just want to be around? These would be them. This is Peter and Mino and three of their four children.

Sunday we were spending a long time chatting after church. I finally said, why don't you just come over. We are so glad they did. 

I think Peter really enjoyed my chair too :) He wouldn't let anyone else sit in it.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Home Again

Back in Kitemu, Isaac and I are happy to be home in Uganda. Isaac has started his residency in surgery. He is enjoying his classes but says it's like being back in first year of medical school, becoming a student all over again. I am getting the house in working order again before I spread my wings and start volunteering.

It's been great to see friends and family again. There are so many people whom we dearly missed while in the states. Some of which we haven't see yet! Isaac and I are excited for what God has for us in this next season of life as we continue to follow down the path as He calls us to "go farther" and "come closer".

Visitors and the Entebbe Zoo

Back in Uganda we hit the ground running, hosting visitors only 2 days after we arrived.
When hosting visitors you never know what may happen. It is amazing to see people so excited to step off the plane for the first time, either they are scared to death or eager for an adventure. Our most recent guest were just that, ready for an adventure. Not that they didn't have their own reservations, as one should, but they were ready to embrace Uganda.

Without a vehicle of our own our visitors were up for the challenge of balancing on the back of a motorcycle while it bumped and weaved back and forth around the rain carved roads.

Every good trip to Uganda must include a trip to the zoo. We have taken many visitors there before (I love going to the zoo) but today was a special surprise. 

The zoo is actually an wildlife education and rehabilitation site. This means that orphaned or injured animals are cared for.

Charles here is 3 years and 2 months old. His mother was killed by poachers and his umbilical cord was still attached when he was rescued.
Today was the first time Isaac and I got to see him...he was just wondering around for us to visit with him :)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

In Sad Times Like These

Dear Blog readers.
Thank you so much for all your cards, packages, emails, facebook messages and love and support these last few months.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted and when I have it has been about trivial things. Please forgive me. I often think, I should post. But posting means writing something and writing something means siting down and thinking and thinking tends to make me cry. For the first few months after Elijah passed all I wanted to do was cry. Isaac and I learned that if we kept it in and waited to cry then it would come in a mighty wave instead of a flowing faucet. So we cried whenever we felt we needed to. I remember the day when we hadn’t cried in two days. I remember thinking that coping was getting easier. Now just two days short of five months since he was born I’m still sad. Elijah was such a part of our lives, an active boy from just 12 weeks along that he was a regular part of our conversations. He would interrupt us with a kick or a wiggle. It’s not that we think of him less now but now he’s not actively involved in our lives. He has changed our lives, and continues to as we move through this phase of “getting used to what we didn’t expect”.
Life tends to happen that way, sending us something that we didn’t ask for and something we feel we are unprepared for. I guess that’s God’s way of showing us how strong, not only he is but how strong we can be with him.
The first year I lived in Africa I felt that God was teaching me that I could do big things. Now I’m realizing that I, (with the help of the Holy Spirit, Isaac and many others) can manage through big things. Not only can I start and accomplish big things but I can take those big things that come, uninvited or not.
I remember my parents having to say good bye to me at university and having to “let me go”. I feel that every parent has at some point in a child’s life to “let them go”. For Isaac and I our “letting go” was earlier than we expected. We never thought that the day before he was born we would have to let him go.
Someone told me that a large percentage (I don’t remember) of couples lose child end up losing their marriage as well. For Isaac and me, we don’t understand the statistic. We have been each other’s strong towers, a place of refuge, a shoulder to cry on, and a person to point each other in the right direction when we get too discouraged to pray. This experience is one we are taking together, no blame, no shame, just love for one another and united love for our boy, our first child Elijah Mubezi.
I guess I have a hard time blogging because it is a place that I can put down my thought and right now my thoughts are with my son.
Thank you for continuing to think of us, read our story, pray for us, and support us. We still need cheerleaders to encourage us during this season of our lives.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Surgeon in the Making

Isaac received approval letter for his Residency in Surgery!!! (the 3 year program)
For a long time I’ve been praying for a place to open up for residency. We see that this is an opportunity

My love for surgery and the need for people to have surgery in village has lead me to the need for more training in the area of surgery. The greatest challenge working in village is that when people need emergency surgery, I am either left with a choice of fixing them or referring them to hospitals far way for them to make it. Such cases need a competent surgeon to adequately care for their needs and save their life. 

I'm so happy to have the privileged of learning more in this field so I can confidently perform these risky surgeries to serve the people of Eastern Uganda.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Malaria & Diarrhea

Malaria and diarrhea are killers in many parts of the world. Isaac and I experienced them at the same time. Isaac, knowing how it feels to get malaria quickly went to a Lab and they confirm he had malaria. He purchased the medicine and began treatment right away. After only 2 days he was feeling better. I was seen by my doctor (Isaac) at the first signs of diarrhea and he put me on medicine, a changed diet, and mandatory rest. Our pastor happened to be around and prayed for me and gave me a ginger, lemon, charcoal drink to help.

It’s amazing to me how these diseases that many die from on daily bases have no power against early diagnosis and treatment. It is something that pushes us to set up a hospital in the community where people need it most. 

Medical Outreach

Isaac and I have wanted to put together a medical outreach to the village of Kiwanyi but we couldn't think about how to accomplish such a big task. We knew we needed extra hands to help in the process of seeing so many people. We were so happy when Sara said she was coming. Sara just finished her first year of medical school and was willing to jump in with both feet. Ramses is a man from Chad. He got his degree of nursing at the same school as Isaac. 

With Sara and Ramses on the team we felt we could adequately serve the people of Kiwanyi. What we didn't know is that we would serve the people from surrounding villages as well. People came from far and wide to see the doctor for free. One woman carried her child over 20km (12miles) to see the doctor.

We made up 80 red number tickets to help control the line. We passed out 217 tickets the first day! We were told that the clinic normally serves 100 patients in a month and we only did 2 days.
I took people's blood pressure and pulse with a machine I had along with weight and temperature. Ramses then took respiratory rate, and retook blood pressure and pulse if there was a concern. The patient then received a green number card to wait and see the doctor. At the end of the two days Isaac had seen 172 patients!

Many patients were finding out about their health concerns for the first time. These patients had a variety of ailments but the most dominate group were ones with hypertension, diabetes, and peptic ulcers. We also saw patients with eye cataracts, sickle cell anemia, hernias, Down Syndrome, benign prostate hypertrophy, malnourished children and women, a woman with a breast lump, and many surgical cases. Most people complained of skeletal and muscular pain. This is because of their age and the difficult work they do as subsistence farmers growing their own crops to eat.

We found that many of these issues could be elevated or be treated before they become a serious medical concerns if proper healthcare, early diagnosis and education were available within the community.

It was great to be able to find out more information about how building a hospital will help this community.