Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Went back to Dokolo yesterday and had a beautiful time. The kids really seemed to get it, all wanted Christ in their lives and as they sang to their Lord, Berna and I went around praying for each child. After this we read the book You Are Special, by Max Lucado, and then had lunch. It was a privilege to provide some meat, rice and soda to a group of kids that normally misses out on lunch all together. Wow, and after lunch they were so excited and full of energy like we'd not seen before. After talking to Salume last time and getting her story and praying for her, we decided to talk to each of the other kids one on one and get an idea of who they live with and what their prayer requests are. It was amazing to discover that of all five of the girls we talked to that afternoon, not one of them lives with their mother, and only one lived with a father. Two girls have both their parents in another village, but are currently living with their aunties. And both these aunties mistreat the children. Florence is sent out to the garden at 5am by her auntie, and Karen's auntie accuses her of things that are not true. Both desire to go back home, but their parents aren't coming to get them and the aunties aren't bringing them back home. they say money is the problem, but i think it goes a bit deeper than that. Two girls have been left by their mothers. Catherine's mother left her with her grandma to go and make a new family. Modesta's mother left her to stay with her father. As we asked Modesta how we could be praying for her, silent tears fell down her face, the rejection by her mother is so hard on that young lady's heart. Then of course there's Salume who is a total orphan who lives with her auntie who mistreats her, denying her food, etc... I was encouraged a bit by talking with the boys, as 4 out of the 5 boys had both parents at home and their biggest complaint was being overworked, one the sole cow herder in his family, the other having to fetch water at night and carry the water on his head (usually it's only girls who do this). Only Isaac had one parent, just his mother as his father had left a while ago. After we finished talking with each child I shared with the group about what I've learned to be the two most important things that they should remember. Who God is and who He's created them to be. I kept reiterating how God is for them, not against them, and how it pains His heart to see them suffer so much, how much He loves them and how He is always with them. As I was sharing Modesta began crying again. I explained how beautiful they each are and how perfectly God created them just the way He wanted them, and how I pray that some of these things stick in their hearts and they cling to this hope that they have in Jesus. I pray that the reality of the love of Christ and the love of the Father and the presence of His Spirit with them would transform their lives. Each of these kids I place in the loving arms of the Father, knowing how intimately He knows each one and how He cares for each heart so gently.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
It was the 19th of October, a Tuesday morning, and I was about to leave my house to teach Lydia for the morning when I get a phone call from Hellen (really it’s just a flash and I have to call her back, but I’ll explain flashing another day). So I call her back. Hellen is my house helper, but she’s currently on maternity leave so a flash from Hellen, makes me pray that my call goes through right away, as usually the call is going through only 10% of the time. By the grace of God it rings and Hellen answers and says, “Rebecca, I’m going to have the baby today.” This is somewhat concerning to me as Jennifer, the nurse, is out of town for the next week, and Hellen’s last baby was delivered at home because she lives in the village and by the time she was ready to go she didn’t have time to get to the hospital. I asked her if she wanted me to come and pick her up, she said, “it’s ok” (which here means yes) so I said I would come and get her. I quickly postponed teaching for the morning and headed off the 13km in the car to go and pick her up. I couldn’t imagine her riding on the back of a bicycle those 13km while having labor pains, but I think that would have been her other option, or have another kid at home (which as we soon discover probably would have been a better option…but anyway…) I think the best way to describe the rest is a sort of time table, it’s almost a month later now, so I hope I can remember everything, but I have to document before I forget anything else.
8:45am, pick up Hellen from near her home
8:55am, discover we need to pick up a few things from my house (a basin for washing, a matt for sleeping on, some tea, and some sterile gloves, etc…)
9:00am arrive at home, pick up things we need, make tea and head for the hospital (should have delayed longer at home)
10:00am arrive at hospital, notice a man digging a small hole in the driveway, don’t think twice about it, park just outside the maternity ward. Yes, I think Hellen is the only one to have arrived by personal motorcar.
11:00am Hellen is seen by the doctor who tells her to get put on an IV, she’s dilated to 4. Dr’s supposed to check back on her again in 4hrs. The nurse gives me a list of 4 items needed from the pharmacy in order to start the IV. Gives Hellena black plastic sheet and her file.
11:15am, attempt to drive to the pharmacy, only to find out my vehicle is now stuck in the maternity ward as the man who was digging a small hole, was actually working on a ditch across the whole driveway.
11:16am, decide to walk to the pharmacy, good thing it is very, very, near.
11:45am, return with the IV stuff, syringe, more gloves, tubing, and one other thing…
12:00pm the old lady has arrived, this is the mother-in-law of Hellen’s, she is affectionately and respectfully called amongjong by Hellen, which means, old lady. This means I am no longer the sole caretaker of Hellen. At the hospital you have to bring someone who will cook for you, who will help you bathe, who will go and get everything you need from the pharmacy, who will advocate for you, who will talk with you, etc…I had told Hellen since early in the pregnancy that I would be her care taker, however, we both knew I wasn’t caretaker material, as my cooking of Ugandan foods left something to be desired, and I’m white so I’d get too main responses from people: laughter (from those who would watch me try to cook over a sigiri) or extortion (from the nurses who would charge us extra for everything since I should have more money) all that to say, I’m glad the old lady showed up and lifted some of the burden (she’s a good cook).
12:30pm Hellen appears to be in good hands with amongjong, so I decide to try to go teach Lydia for a couple hours, my car still being stuck in the maternity ward, and the ditch continues getting deeper and deeper. I pay a quarter and ride home on the back of a boda boda (which is basically just riding on the back of a bicycle) I make it home and quick eat a sandwich and go and teach.
1pm-3pm Teach Lydia
3:30pm Go back to the hospital to check on Hellen. Hellen’s IV is finished so she’s kicked off the bed she is on and there’s no room to wait inside, so she comes outside to sit and then she wants to bathe (again, glad the old lady is there for giving that assistance). Hellen wants me to go pick up some fish for supper and get my sigiri (little charcoal stove) and a knife and a few other things for supper.
4pm I walk over to the ever-increasing ditch and converse with the tired digger. He asks me if I want him to fill it back in so I can drive the car over, as much as that would be nice, I feel bad for the guy who’s been digging all day, only to have to fill it back in, though he could have mentioned when I was first driving by that he was not just fixing a pothole, but rather digging a large ditch across the only access point by vehicle to the maternity ward….anyway, I’m over it, so I think I can go up over a curb, on to the grass, around the septic tank, onto a sidewalk, over another curb and then back onto the driveway, it will be tight, but after talking to the “supervisor” of the digging, we think this is the best option. He doesn’t think this white girl could manage to maneuver the vehicle through such an obstacle course, but I’m determined and go for it anyway. Needless to say, I made it and I think my audience was pleased, although they were probably wishing in their hearts that I would struggle a bit more, at least it would have brought more entertainment to that depressing place…
4:15pm I drove home, got the things I needed from there, then drove to the market to buy some fresh fish and vegetables.
5pm Back to the hospital, I’ve found a new parking spot. This one’s not as close to the door, but at least I should be able to leave again when I want to. I deliver the fish to the amongjong and greet Hellen. We sit outside and then it begins to sprinkle some rain, we would move inside, but there’s not really much room to sit from in, so we head over to the edge of the building where the roof hangs over enough to at least offer some bit of protection. At this point let me go back just for a minute. When Hellen was on the IV she had a bed in the labor room (three beds were there), the girl next to her was only maybe a month along in her pregnancy and kept throwing up, but I digress, so anyway, whenever I wanted to see Hellen there I would walk through the birthing room (three beds were there with a curtain between each) I would see something new. One time I walked out of Hellen’s labor room to see a head breaking forth from the womb, another time I saw two new borns laying together in an incubator, they weren’t twins, they just only have one incubator. So babies are being born throughout the day with a constant rotation of mothers on the birthing beds.
Sometime between 5-8pm we move inside to the benches while the old lady cooks, enough of the women have had their babies that there’s some clearing on the benches. Finally the food is ready and we go and eat just outside the entrance to the ward, on the ground. The fish and posho is good.
Something like 10pm comes around and I decide to leave. I want to stay for this baby, but maybe it won’t come until morning and there’s literally no place to sleep. Every bed has at least one woman on it and every inch of cement floor is covered with patients and with their helpers and with their luggage and anything else. Everyone seems content, except one lady who is pacing and groaning outside, her time is very near. I tell Hellen I’ll see her in the morning and I head off. Leaving her in the “good” hands of the TWO night nurses. So many women, only two nurses.
10:30pm I go home, have a quick shower and go to bed. I just close my eyes and I think even literally that second my phone rings,
11pm it’s hellen. “Rebecca, there are no more IV bottles in the hospital.” Me, silently, “WHAT!?! You have to be kidding, a hospital with no more saline drip, how do you just run out of that???” Me, out loud: “So you want me to bring you some?” of course the answer was yes. Thankfully I live with nurse Jennifer and she just happened to have the stuff I needed and I didn’t have to try to find a 24hr clinic. Praise the Lord for that! So I get dressed again and drive over to the hospital with the goods. This time I park in the driveway to the maternity ward, stopping just before the ditch. I run in and deliver the Saline drip.
11:30pm The guard comes and requests that I move my car because if there is an emergency and an ambulance needs to get through I would be in the way. I try to explain that even if I move my car there is still a giant ditch across the road that would hinder any ambulance from reaching the front doors anyway, but I soon gave up and just moved the car. (somethings you just can’t understand)
12am Hellen moves into the Birthing room so she can be on her IV. Another woman has an IV hooked up while she sits on the floor, so I’m glad that Hellen gets a bed. As I visit Hellen in the birthing room, I realize her contractions are pretty close and I begin to time them, they’re less than 5 minutes a part from what I can tell from her grimacing and noises, etc… She’s now on I think her 4th or 5th Saline drip of the day, and I’m still not sure why, she says to help the baby come quicker, but I don’t understand. Much of the rest is a blur.
I remember the nurse came in just as I was debating whether I should go out or stay with her, and then the nurse told me to help Hellen take her clothes off because she was going to begin pushing. I figured that meant I was going to stay and assist. This was further confirmed when the old lady walks in and then walks out saying something in iteso which translates roughly to “I can’t do this, let me go get my friend to come and help.”
1:15am Hellen begins pushing. The nurse puts on Hellen’s last two pairs of gloves and says she better push because those are the last two pair of gloves and if she has to take them off before the baby is out there will be no other gloves to put on. (no pressure hellen.) Hellen begins pushing and pushing and pushing. I remember the nurse was of no help. She slapped Hellen once and kept saying super encouraging things like, “you’re not even trying to push” and things like that.
2:15am Hellen is still pushing and this nurse has now given up. She says she’s tired and Hellen’s not really pushing. So she takes the gloves off and goes to the office to get some shuteye. At least there is one other nurse. This one is also somehow not super helpful, but at least she’s awake. She says her strategy is to just not put the gloves on until the head is coming out that way she doesn’t waste the gloves. This nurse is in and out, walking around and then she goes to converse with the other nurse in the office. Hellen’s telling me that she can’t do this, it’s just too hard. I txted my mother at that point after remembering that she had helped others to push correctly. The time difference in America was good cuz it was just early evening for her and she replied quickly with some instructions. I tried to pass the word on to Hellen as best I could but she was about giving up. I told her she was a very strong woman, carrying 4 jerry cans even on her bicycle. She still said she couldn’t do it, but then all the sudden she was doing it. Of course the nurse was out of the birthing room down in the office when the head starts coming out. I certainly didn’t know what to do once the baby started coming, so I called her from down the hallway. She came and when she saw the head she put her gloves on and started pulling the baby out.
2:40am I’m pretty sure that you don’t just pull the baby out, and I wondered how the poor kid’s neck was holding up, but he survived and came out and was set on top of Hellen. He didn’t cry much just a little whimper. Once the nurse cut the cord she took the baby to clean the stuff out of its mouth and nose. She slapped the feet a few times and the baby started crying. Oh yeah, it was a boy! Praise the Lord he was out and alive. Placenta, etc…were then delivered and the nurse was super mad because the black plastic sheet that Hellen was laying on had got moved a bit in the pushing and didn’t catch all the “stuff” and it got on her floor. So then the baby is sitting in the incubator thing, and hellen’s laying on the birthing bed and the nurse has got me and the friend of the old lady and the old lady cleaning the floor and the bed and everything else.
3:15am everything is cleaned up, I want to hold the baby, but the nurse says it’s too tired. I can imagine, but it’s not like I was going to make him run or anything. So he just lays there next to another baby who was born several hours before who was also “tired” and super petite (I found out the next morning that that baby did not make it.) Hellen is about to finish up her 6th Saline drip and I’m wondering where she’s going to go from there. All the beds are full in the “post birth” room and even the floor is full.
3:30am the nurse tells another lady who had delivered earlier in the night to move to another person’s spot and had that person move to another spot. Hellen now has a space cleared for her on the floor.
3:40am Hellen moves to her newly cleared spot on the floor just one hour after giving birth. No one else is close to having a baby yet so the second nurse also heads for the office for some shut eye leaving 50 or so patients unattended. The baby that is Hellen’s keeps crying. I try holding him and so does the old lady, and Hellen is exhausted, we can quiet him for a short time, but then he begins crying again, everyone else in this crowded ward is trying to sleep and our little baby is refusing to sleep. Hellen tries to feed him, but he won’t.
5:00 Finally she sits up with him and just starts praying thanking God and praying for her new baby. By the end of the prayer the baby had stopped crying and was resting peacefully. Hellen and the baby slept side by side on a thin matt on the cement floor as I sat on a bench somewhere watching the small rats run from place to place. Wow, what a day!
5:30am I’m now exhausted also and Hellen and the baby seem to be doing well and there’s no place for me to lay my head, so I decide to go home and sleep for a few hours.
6am-9am I sleep
10:00am I go back to the hospital and find Hellen sitting outside with the old lady and her auntie who has come to visit and bring tea. There was no place inside to be.
I had brought a skirt for her to wear since her other two now had blood on them and I called our guard to bring water b/c they were out at the hospital. Hellen went inside and got the health card and birth card and the baby got one shot and a few drips of some immunizations. She told me that I would be the one to name the Christian name and the old lady would name the other name.
12pm It’s time to go home. I go and get my car and we head for home. I told her I wanted to call the baby Nathan. She said it was ok. She nor the baby ever saw a doctor from several hours before birth up until she left. (I found out later that when she had first arrived the Dr. slapped her for having a white person with her).
1pm Arrive at home and give the baby a bath.
Still a lot of crying and not yet drinking anything. Hellen begins feeding with sugar water. Hellen’s husband the father of this baby, who decided not to come to the hospital at all was not at home when we arrived. When he did arrive he didn’t even greet the baby or ask Hellen how she was or anything, this culture is so different from what I’m used to. I told him, congratulations he had a boy. He left to go get water from the borehole. When 2pm I left I was a bit concerned about this baby, but I continued to pray because there was nothing else I could do. The next day Hellen called me and said the baby was still not eating kept crying, I didn’t know what she wanted me to do about it, then she says, “You pray.” So I hung up and that’s what I did. This whole experience made me realize just how dependant on our heavenly Father many of my Ugandan friends have to be. There’s no other option. And so they are blessed somehow through this fellowship of suffering with the Father a blessing in the states that we so often miss out on. The end.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Thank you so much to everyone who prayed for the retreat with the girls last weekend! I know God was working in their lives and is still working. I wish I could share more about the conversations, but to be honest, the majority of the conversations were held in Kumam, the girls' heart language. Bena led the bible studies or translated when I spoke if it was necessary. Bena would tell with me what the girls were sharing as she saw necessary. She shared that there was a definite sense of hopelessness for two of the girls, so please keep praying for them (Agnes and Dina). Agnes is the one stuck in a difficult early marriage situation and Dina is a full orphan whose grandfather stopped paying her school fees in the middle of senior high because he thought he didn't want to waste money on her as she would just get married and start having children. It was so good to see these girls free to laugh and enjoy themselves and God's beautiful creation, and learning from the word of God. They seemed to love the time they had there and even asked if we could extend it.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
I had two girls stay the night last night, Betty and Abella. I’ve mentioned them before, both are right around 12yrs old and have parents who are rarely or never around. We watched a movie before going to bed and during the movie I suggested that we drink our sodas, as they didn’t want them at dinner but to have them with the movie. Betty said she did not want hers until morning with breakfast. I said, that drinking soda with breakfast is a bit strange and wondered why she wouldn’t want it with the movie. Then it was like a light went on in her head. She thought out loud, “Oh yeah, the toilet is inside here. Ok, I’ll have my soda now.” It’s just not something a twelve year old in the states has to think about. If you have to go to the bathroom here, for the majority of the children I hang out with, it’s a shared pit latrine somewhere outside. And the middle of the night here is dark and I mean dark. It reminded me that I am not in the states anymore.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
The town center consisted of various “bars” (several circles of men around pots of brew sipping from long straws), a few women with some tomatoes and various other staples, and a one room clinic & pharmacy. I had come with Bena and her youth drama group; they were going to do a drama on HIV/AIDS. It was supposed to start at two, but Bena told me we didn’t need to leave until at least 3 since the drama team would not arrive till late. We arrived around 3:30pm and didn’t see any of the youth yet. There was a charismatic catholic mass going on at the place where we were going to meet the youth. We decided to join in the mass until the youth arrived; at least it was something to do. The room was filled with ladies on the left and men on the right, ladies on the floor men on the benches. There were some 30 women and maybe 8 men.Of the 30 women I counted at least 5 pregnant ones and there were many who already had young children attached to them. The singing was beautiful; I love just the voices with the djmebe drum. The “priest” had them read about the story of Martha and Mary on the day that Jesus visited their house. His teaching was opposite of what I’ve always been taught. After a while we went outside to look again for the youth, finally we saw some of them approaching from the distance, they had walked a long way, some more than an hour. By the time we had the whole group assembled it was about 4:30, by the time we made it to the town center and had everything set up it was about 5pm. Only three hours late. It didn’t matter much anyway, except that those who were drinking were more drunk. Overall the drama went ok, many people watched it, from babies to old men. I found it interesting the parts they found funny; to me often it was sad because it would be something bad that was so true to their culture.
I’ve found that even though there are many cultural differences between here and America, sin is sin, and causes pain and despair no matter the culture; substance abuse, greed/jealousy, sexual immorality, just to name a few. It broke my heart to see so many young fully capable men living hopelessly, stuck in the grip of alcoholism and poverty. Please pray for our team; that more men would join this team to reach out to the young men here. There are so many different organizations around town reaching out to orphans and widows, but so few to the men. They need discipleship and mentoring from men committed to following Jesus. They need to know that there is hope even when it seems like there is no hope. They need to know that Jesus can help them overcome.
Monday, July 26, 2010
this one's for you mom!
hmm...what have we here? I don't know, but it looks yummy!
this is me with a zebra in the background...i wanted some proof i wasn't just copying and pasting animal photos from National Geographic or something =)
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Some races were run.
and books were read.
all in all it was a fun day. good to watch kids just being kids.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
The other day I was driving down the main road into Soroti with my friend Lawrence when I saw a group of very young school children on the side of the road. All of the sudden they ran across the road. Then they waited on the other side of the road and a handful of them ran back across the road. I thought this was funny (yet dangerous) game to play with small children…but Lawrence said that they’re being taught how to cross the street. I remember in Michigan when we were taught to cross the street it was make sure you walk, don’t run, remain calm. But here there are different rules to the road. You are taught to sprint to the other side because you just don’t know what could come down the road next nor how fast… after we passed the group of children with their one teacher, the rest of the students safely sprinted back across the street.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I was at home this evening reading with a girl who ran into the house to dodge the rain. When another girl, one of 16 years came walking up the driveway looking a bit distraught. Dorcus. I wondered what was wrong, but all she wanted was an envelope so she could send a letter to her mother who lives some 2 hours away in the village. I heard the two girls discussing something, ending with, “I don’t know why she’s acting like that.” I asked who they were talking about and that’s when I got most of the explanation of her distraughtness. Dorcus normally lives in a house with her Grandmother, her uncle and his wife and their two kids and then one other boy. The grandmother had to go to the village to be with her first born son’s children because his wife was admitted to the hospital. This leaves Dorcus with just the Uncle and his wife as supervisors. The problem is, the auntie has moved out and now refused to feed any one but her own two children. Apparently this auntie beats her husband and drinks and is now refusing to care for Dorcus. Hence the letter home to her mother in the village. She wants to enquire of her mother if she should come home and live in the village now, because life is so hard here. And you know it has to be hard for her because life in the village is very hard and for that to be desired above here, means it’s that much harder here. There’s no secondary school there. So if she returns to the village her education is through. She doesn’t want to inform the grandmother about the way the auntie is acting because then the grandmother will feel pressure to come back and then who will take care of those grandchildren? Wow. It’s a lot for a 16 year old girl to figure out, and she’s just trying to figure out who she is, that’s enough trouble for any teenager. We prayed together and I was completely humbled by her prayer. She asked for wisdom and peace in her heart, and even that she would be able to praise God even in the trials she was going through, she prayed against satan’s attacks on her life trying to mess her up and distract and confuse her. Even though I felt completely unable to help this girl, I was so encouraged that she knew that our Father was there for her. She has a faith that will help her in this time of need. She knows she has a God who hears and answers even when she can’t tell how it will all work out. I’m thankful that when I’m feeling completely helpless that I serve a God who is able. And He reminds me I’m not helpless because I can call on Him.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Today I went to Aboket Primary School with Bena to form a club called Vision Club. We taught them about their identity in Christ, and how to be assertive so they don’t end up in early marriages or become pregnant before marriage, or involve themselves in other activities that would prevent them from reaching their goals. It was good to observe and participate some. This school is only one kilometer away from a very large lake that is in the middle of Uganda. We wanted to see the lake since we were so close, so we were told to just drive until the road ends and we would reach the lake. Well the road ended and we hadn’t yet reached the lake…but we continued forward in the vehicle a ways further, through some tall grass and bushes. Then we saw some people, we asked if we should continue to pass by car or to walk. They said we could continue by car, and a man ran ahead of us and waved us on. So we continued a couple hundred feet further, then decided to stop as the “path” was becoming even more overcrowded and we were getting quite near the lake. I remember as we were stepping out Bena saying something about snakes, but I quickly dismissed the thought so as not to become paralyzed in the tall grass. She said she feared them more than me, as if that helped comfort me somehow. Anyway, we started walking down the “path” until it turned into a small water “path”, where we were instructed to take off our sandals. I thought we were just coming to see the lake, but apparently we were entering into the lake…I saw ahead the man who had ran ahead of us was preparing a boat for us to go out in (he would be our transporter). I didn’t find it to reassuring that bailing all the water out of the boat was part of this preparation process. The boat was like a canoe made out of thin wood, nails and scraps of metal. The boat could not come to us, we had to go to it. Bena first, then me, then Brittney (a current unsuspecting short-termer with iteams). I could tell that the water was not that deep, but I could not see my feet. This concerned me a bit, considering that Bena’s comment about the snake was still quite fresh in my mind. But alas, we safely made it into the boat with only muddy feet and wet ankles. We took off and when we got out of the reeds and papyrus the lake opened up before us and it was beautiful. It was so quiet (no speed boats zooming around) and peaceful and calm. After a while I begin to help paddle and we begin our way out further. When Bena wants to know if we want to continue across the whole way to the other side or turn around and head back. She says this a little nervously, hinting that she would be more content safely back on shore, but also as a good Ugandan wanting to please. I then remembered a key fact; most Ugandans don’t know how to swim. I asked Bena, do you know how to swim? She says no and we all share some good hearty nervous laughter. I’d give her my life jacket, but wait, there aren’t any. Well, she was a trooper and we decided to cross the lake just to get to the other side. Every other little hand carved boat we passed laughed at us and greeted us. Bena began bailing water half way across, I’m sure that must have been disconcerting to her, but she was willing to do what she could to prevent herself from learning how to swim this very day. When we reached the other side we turned around and we actually collected a passenger who wanted a ride across the lake. Not only were we carrying him but his bicycle as well. But don’t worry our transporter says hes carried at least three bikes at a time on his boat and he’s even transported a motorbike as well. This is reassuring…somehow…so we begin our trek back across the beautiful lake. As we approach the reeds which signifies the trip is nearly over the transporter casually mentions in the local language something which includes the word “crocodile” which apparently sounds pretty similar in English. I quickly ask Bena for a translation. She laughs, not sure whether she should pass on this newly gained knowledge or not. I told her I understood one word, which seemed pretty important…right…crocodile. She then proceeds to inform me that they often see crocodiles here, and when she was just about finished informing me of that, the transporter adds, and Hippos. WHAT?!? Get me outta here. I’ve seen the wrath of those animals on TV shows. As we enter into the reeds, my ears and eyes are way more attentive than they were on our initial embarking. Every rustle, every moving shadow needs to be closely examined. The transporter tries to reassure us that they are not out usually at this time of the day. I felt reassured only mostly. Anyway, I started paddling faster and we made it to the other side. The transporter and the man with bicycle got out and pushed us as close as they could to dry land and we quickly climbed out and through the black water full of everything scary and finally reached dry land once again. No snakes, no crocs, no hippos, nothing but beautiful lake, calm waters and good laughs with friends. God knows what I need and provides. I have felt a bit sad or oppressed some the last couple days. I just wanted to be able to play. And today, I was given this beautiful adventure across the lake with my new good friend Bena. It was just what I needed and I am so grateful to God for blessing me with this day.