Wednesday, July 23, 2008


We are heading towards the end of July and I wanted to give you an update on what has happened this month.
It has been a full month with a lot of things going on, many things accomplished and lives changed.

As many of you know from reading the blog we had two medical clinics this past month. We tested the students their siblings and family members for HIV as well as vaccinating them. They all received de-worming and vitamins.

All of the students received mosquito nets and instructions on how to use and care for them and 39 of them were hung in the homes.

We finished the social work with pictures on all of the students. Now the job of putting them together and getting them on the web so that you can see them and hear their stories.

We purchased a water filtration system for the school so that the children can drink clean water during the school day.

We had 2 volunteers from the states come and help out in the school as well as others who came and helped out for the medical clinics.

We were finally able to purchase a car!

Our quest for another house to rent is over. We found one and will move in August.

We celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary. We escaped to Jinga to spend the night overlooking the Nile in a private Banda. It was a much needed break for us.

Our son competed in 2 motocross races placing 8th in one and 4th in the other.

August we are looking forward to several families being able to come and pick up their kids, moving into our new house and more renovations to the school. We are still waiting to start in Nakasongola which we hope will be in August as well.

We are planning on coming back to the states for a vacation during the holidays. At that time we will have been away from home for 18months. We are looking forward to seeing friends and family again. (not to mention eating Mexican food) We will be in Texas and Minnesota for sure in November and December. Please let us know if you would like us to come and speak for any group.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

pictures of 2nd vaccine clinic

Jesse got in on the "jabbing" action this past week where he helped us out with the vaccinating. Our honeymooners helped out with paperwork and David ended up "jabbing" in the end as well. We vaccinated and gave bottles of vitamins to 87 more people. So in the end the vaccine clinic, HIV testing and net distribution over the past 2 weeks were a huge success. Our students and their families and some of the village people were all tested for HIV, vaccinated, de-wormed, vitamins given and nets distributed and 39 hung so far. A huge thank you to Mild May again, Wentz Clinic, especially Faith, Buy a Net from Canada, David and Bethany Allen, Help International, Sarah White and the McKenzie family for all of their hard work during the past 2 weeks for the clinic/net distribution. Thank you to the Penner family for donating funds to help make this all happen.

2nd vaccination clinic /unsuspecting babies

Here are some of the babies before we vaccinated them. I thought they were so cute and wanted you to see their precious little faces.
This one in the hat didn't cry at all when we"stuck" her. What a trooper.

Porridge line at school during clinic

Kids waiting for porridge and watching the show of the scared people getting tested for HIV.

pictures of round 2 of the HIV Testing

This was a boy who was so scared of getting tested that he ended up shirtless, but at least he didn't bite anyone. They had 4 people holding him down to draw the blood and he kept screaming that, "It was hurting him" even though they hadn't touched him yet. His anticks made for quite a show for the kids waiting in line for their porridge. It was another long day for everyone. We tested another 87 people and had 9 more positive for HIV. Only one child tested positive out of the 300 people that we tested.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Team from Canada here to distribute nets

The team from Canada came on Thursday to deliver and educate the students and their families how to use and care for the nets that they were donating. In all they brought 160 for our students, their family members and teachers. We had Jimmy (he works for us) and David (a volunteer from our church in the USA) go and hang nets in 4 homes. This next week David will be going to the students homes and showing them how to hang them and making sure they all get up. It will be a big job for him. We are thankful for his help to get this done. This should, if properly used, cut the rate of malaria down in the village significantly. Most months we have a minimum of 10% of our students out with malaria and most of the parents of the orphans that we have in our school have died from it.
A huge thank you to Wentz Medical Clinic, Dr. Martin, African Renewal Ministries and the Canadian team for helping to make this happen for our students and their families.

Net education

"Net team" from Canada educating the kids and their families how to properly care for and use the nets

Nets being hung

Jimmy and David hanging nets in 4 of the students homes

Net distribution- thankful recipients

These are some of the recipients of the nets that were donated on Thursday.

Interesting myths and fears

Our day in the village on Wednesday was a huge success, but almost didn't happen. It was due to myths and fears that the villagers had concerning having blood drawn and immunizations administered. These are the things that we deal with here on a daily basis which makes our work harder and things taking longer as well.
I thought you would find this interesting..............
When we arrived at the village Wed. morning to start the HIV testing and immunizations we had a surprise waiting for us. 50 of the parents from the school and refused to allow their children and themselves be tested. From there the others had decided to reject the testing as well based on the myth that "white people or Muzungus" come into the villages and "suck" peoples blood and then take it and sell it for alot of money. We had to spend quite a bit of time counseling them and explaining to them how the process worked, how much blood was actually being taken and that we weren't going to "sell" their blood. We got them settled down and ok with having the HIV test but then they all refused having the children and themselves immunized.
The fear there was that they were all going to die or be crippled. We didn't know this but apparently in 1991 one of the government heads went on a campaign to immunize all of the villagers. They said that many people died afterwards and that the children all became crippled. I have no idea if there is any truth to the story, but it was firmly ingrained in their minds that this would happen to them. So we again had to speak to them and let them know how it actually worked and the benefits to them. After much talking and reassuring they finally consented and they all agreed. Afterwards when we ran out of vaccines the ones who didn't get done begged us to please come again so that they could be taken care of. We will see them again on Wednesday.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bakka HIV Testing

We had a very successful day yesterday in the village. We had MildMay clinic come and do the HIV testing and Wentz Medical Clinic donate the vaccines, de-wormer's and vitamins for all of the students and their families. Help International volunteered 11 of their people and we had an additional 23 volunteers come and help make this possible. We were able to test 212 for HIV. Only 9 were positive which really surprised us and we are so thankful for the numbers being that low. We were able to vaccinate, de-worm and supply vitamins for 128 people. We ran out of supplies so we will be out again next week on the 9th to finish up with everyone who did not get tested or vaccinated.
Every student had some kind of fungal infection, was malnourished to some degree and all had worms. We will see what we can do about the fungal infections, but the de-worming is now being taken care of and the malnutrition will only be helped with education on how to eat properly and raising the level of incomes for these families.
A big thank you to all fo the volunteers. We started at 6:30am and arrived back home at 8:00pm. Everyone worked so hard and it was hot yesterday. We couldn't have done it without their help. We had one person bit while holding down a child to draw blood and another stuck with a needle after drawing blood. Everyone is ok. The volunteer was stuck with the needle after he had dawn blood and the child flinched. The child's blood was tested 3 times and was neg for HIV, but we took him to the clinic so that they could test for other things to make sure he was ok.
I was helping in the vaccination room. I have become an expert now on "jabbing" people. I feel so bad when I do it and have to tell them I am sorry afterwards. I was afraid that the kids wouldn't like me anymore after I did it, but they all came around and I think have forgiven me. We will continue to supply the school with vitamins and de-wormer as the Wentz Medical Clinic has agreed to keep supplying them for us. We will begin having regular vaccination clinics as well.
The clinic has also supplied us with 360 mosquito nets which we got today and are taking out to the village. They have a team from Canada that will deliver them and also educate the kids and families how to hang, care for, clean and use properly. We have a couple from our church that is staying in the village right now that will begin hanging the nets for all of our students. He will have some of the villagers come with them so that they can learn how to intall them properly.
Will have another update on how the net distribution went and then again next week after our 2nd clinic is finished.
We are also busy getting all of the students stories so that we can better raise support for these precious little guys. Look for that in the next 3 weeks. Enjoy the pictures below of the HIV testing, vaccinations and kids being played with during the process.

Bakka Medical Clinic Success

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

Happy Independence Day! We already celebrated here as the US Embassy threw a celebration on the 29th. Burgers, hot dogs and fireworks. Not quite like being at home, but it was better than nothing.
This past month has flown by. We are getting ready for the village medical clinic tomorrow. We will begin testing all of the students and their families for HIV and also immunizing all of them as well. We will do half tomorrow and then the other half on the 9th. We have 34 volunteers coming to help us out.
We saw our first family take home their precious new daughter this past month. What a privilege to be able to help facilitate that. We have several more families coming to pick up there waiting children this summer.
All of the birthing kits have been passed out. So far every woman that has delivered with the kit has had a healthy baby and no problems with the mom. What a blessing for these babies and mothers.
Our school grew when we reopened from 150 to 210. We had to send them home as we don't have room for them. They heard that Muzungu's (white people)had taken over the school and wanted their kids to be able to attend. Our students are now eating breakfast and lunch and the teachers are much happier as they are eating as well and getting morning tea.
We have had some volunteers and visitors from the states this past month. They have been so gracious as to donate some items for the school and one couple is here for two weeks to live in the village and help with the school, do some social work for us and hang "mozzie"nets. They are doing all of this while on their honeymoon!
On a personal note....
We have started our house hunting as we have to move out of our home in August. We have found one house that seems like it will meet our needs, so now we negotiate and look some more. We are also starting to look at some vehicles as we feel like we will be able to purchase one in the next month or so. So that is a positive.
Our son Jesse competed in his first East African Motocross race this past weekend. He did very well and we are really proud of him. I posted a picture of him.
Our daughter Kaci's internship in Switzerland fell through so she will be staying here for now.
We hope that you are all doing well and enjoying your summer vacations. We will miss hanging out at the lake and playing at Schlitterbahn. Those of you in Texas know what I mean.
I will update again after we get back from the village.