Osoegnesay oebalaba bas sebo nebas njabo (Welcome, ladies and gentlemen),
It is not so long ago that I wrote my last report, but again so much has happened that I need to catch up with you.
My mattress has been moved again to the volunteer house…..(Yes yes Dad and this move went very well, on foot with my mattress and blanket so no moving van and strong men needed). The reason why I moved again is the baby Babirie. A fortnight ago we sent her mother away. She took absolutely no care of the baby and gave her no love at all. That doesn’t make any sense for the child either so HOP, mother in the van and we have a child with us….
Is going very well, we sleep together in a room and the rest of the day I drag her everywhere with me. My alarm clock still rings at 5 o’clock. Then I walk in my pajamas, in the dark to the boys…. I now have 58 boys and the building almost expands from the boys. In the morning a wonderful smell of sweat, wind and urine meets me as soon as I open the door. Shaking the boys awake and supervising the washing and brushing of their teeth. Half past seven, waking up Frank, getting dressed, washing and HOP to class. Frank is doing very well… sometimes too well, he has played a bit too violently and comes to me with a bleeding toe, knee, lip or other wound….Frequently it is already dark so I open my hospital with a candle and put on a new bandage…. it’s easy!
At 7 o’clock I kicked all the boys out of the building. Then I take a bath and pamper the body with a cup of tea and what is called breakfast (can vary from popcorn to baked, cooked, raw banana and sometimes bread). Babirie is not the most sociable in the morning, so wake up and take it easy. As soon as she sees food, a smile appears and after dinner she takes a nice bath in the tub. She laughs a lot but for a child of two she is very behind in her development. She had an X-ray made of the week because she can’t walk or talk. Luckily there was nothing wrong with her back, she just needs to get stronger and we have to practice with her every day. She babbles all day long and is finally a happy baby.
If we hadn’t found this baby she would be dead by now, so it gives a lot of satisfaction to see this baby grow.
The Vogel family in Africa has expanded once again. I can tell you the good news that I have another son with me (it goes so fast and that without a guy!!!) His name is Pinto and it is the boy with the holes in his body (see pictures previous report?) A very sweet boy who has to get used to it. His grandmother took care of him and 20 other grandchildren. Often the parents die and the grandmother (yes, often the only one left from the family) takes care of them (very heavy, no money, nothing). We were able to find a sponsor for Pinto and this week I took him to school. So another worried child (delicious), but I’m sure everything will be alright.
And yes (grandma’s and grandpa) the good news is not yet over…… Also this week a new descendant will join the family. I have no idea how to pronounce the name (Sechetolleko or something like that) but the little boy was hung by his father on his penis because he had urinated in bed (on the day of his mother’s funeral). Dramatic story but true, horrible picture of boy with legs wide and penis(s) bandaged in the newspaper. The boy is 6, doesn’t speak a word of English, but is a dropie to see. So… Hop along to school and hope he has a good time. He has been in hospital for about a month and nobody has ever come to see him. I usually visit him 2 or 3 times a week. And on Saturdays I take him to the market and spoil him with good food and lots of candy. I think my family here is complete because if you know how much I already have, it’s not normal! It gets a bit depressing when I see that laundry basket every day. Washing with OMO and by hand, 6 tubs and just hope there is clean water. Never heard of a washing machine here!
Luckily I also have my “me” time as I call it. I went out with the doctor. The doctor, colleagues and some medical students (from a Christian organisation) had decided to provide free medical help in a small village. So of course I joined them as sister Klivia. We HOP, 7 hours in a (this time not so crowded) van to Mbale. Great, bumpy trip. I slept a lot because I have chronic sleep deprivation here. Had a lovely room (with toilet and hot shower) without screaming and energyguzzling boys. In the evening we went to the hospital to have a look. Dramatically too many children (especially babies) with malaria and diarrhoea. Malaria is the biggest “killer” in Africa, a lot of people but especially children are dying because of this terrible disease. Beds filled with children, mothers who have no place to sleep and a lot of crying. I gave all the children a balloon (was the sister very happy with it, NOT!) and also took a look at the adult ward. Heartbreaking but all these sick people don’t mind talking to you or giving you a smile. Please don’t break your leg here because then you will be lying for at least 3 months with a tilted bed and a rope + lead on your leg, hip, arm, neck I know a lot more in the hospital. There is a nurse for the whole ward (one of them wearing such a cute old-fashioned hat) and the poor little person walks out of her body to give everyone their medicines, injections and other rubbish. Food is provided by the family, who are prepairing outside in the dark with some firewood or paraffin rice or banana.
Very impressive, you feel so incredibly powerless when you see this. I can’t save Africa on my own.
The next day (of course 3 hours later than planned) we all went to the village. There were already some people waiting. We improvised a hospital in the mini church and around 12 o’clock we were ready for the start. This was the first time the organisation did this so there were some starting problems but in the course of the day everything went reasonably well. The people from the village kept coming. I just felt Caroline Tensen for the “Postcode lottery on the road”. It’s really like you see on the TV. People are waiting in queues and have so much patience. In the beginning I didn’t know what to do so I moved to the children…. Sung nicely, danced and then handed out clothes. It was a lot of fun to do and those lovely mouthfuls of those children make the heart cheerful. After a quick lunch (delicious matoke (banana) with gravy) I went to have a look at the pricks. Hup everyone with their buttocks exposed and a big needle with medicine. Many people here have syphilis. Men have a strange way of life and pass it on to their wives and children. The needles could not be towed and the staff was kept busy. There was a shortage of staff at the medicine table, there was a queue from here to Albert Heijn so I was with one of the girls at the table. Paracetamol, diarrhoea pills, malaria medication, vitamin B complex and I know a lot of stuff I put it all neatly in sachets and gave it to the patients. was very nice to do and finally felt useful.
Had a lovely day. These things are very important. The people from these villages can’t afford a doctor and the city is too far away. This is very useful work and I have a lot of respect and appreciation for these people who do this disinterestedly. I have given them a donation to continue their work and I can make even more of these trips. And even though I haven’t left Jesus in my heart yet (which I was asked to do all day), they were still happy with my help and next time I can go with them again (yippee!).
Water balance of the body was upset for a while (do you also know about Tes?), but now it is back to normal. Have chronically dirty feet and need a hairdresser. From the week with grandmother (she seems like 150 years old) sat on the boda. Mensje was sandwiched by the driver and me, but apparently she found no problem. Yesterday we had a party. The parents came to visit the children and the director celebrated his graduation ceremony. About 400 Africans in colourful dresses, food, drinks and of course dancing. Woke up this morning at 7 o’clock (yes, you could finally sleep in) and the music was still playing and people were still dancing. Was a successful party.
Sorry, sorry, sorry for everyone I forgot the birthday of (Miranda, Marielle….) the days fly by and I never really look in my diary. The sun is shining, so I am happy. Despite all the hustle and bustle I feel fine and enjoy every day. I send you all a big kiss and lots of love from Africa.