I haven’t been bit by one mosquito in over two weeks of living in Kampala Uganda. I have a secret… and I’ve been experimenting so I’ll share my crude results. Whitney and I have been taking two garlic pills a day and I’m also taking extra B1. That’s what the google results said, so I thought what do I have to lose? Everyone in my family is getting bit from joint to joint. I feel sort of bad I didn’t put them into my test run for this experiment, but getting them to take pills is a chore left to me, and frankly, with this trip, I’ve been mama to so many people I was looking for ways to reduce my responsibilities. Now, however, I believe this method works. The tse tse flies even thought I had a putrid smell and left me alone. Next time we come to Africa everyone gets a bottle of garlic pills and I believe since they have suffered the horrible itch that an African mosquito leaves behind they will be motivated to remember their pills.
It only takes one mosquito and malaria is passed on. We have had four of our kids at the orphanage hospitalized with Malaria since we arrived here, and they are sleeping with mosquito netting. I have learned there is a specific type of mosquito that passes along malaria and this little demon comes out after ten p.m. Since I just cleaned up puke from Jack just minutes ago, and stroked his back while he puked out the bus window ten minutes before arriving back at the guest house from our safari trip it is good to know the signs of malaria. It always comes with both upper and lower explosions accompanied with a high fever. He isn’t even warm. Malaria is deadly but if recognized right away it can be treated quickly with good medicine and the victim can be back into the swing of life right away.
Herschel told me that we can’t give blood if we’ve been in Africa within a year. He also said if you have had malaria you can’t give blood for a long time, if ever. I am not sure what that means except that taking garlic and B1 seems to be good preventative. My friend who grew up in the Amazon jungle said that there is a neem tea they take to prevent the mosquito from biting. We don’t have anything here like that. But garlic seems to be good for more than just the heart and bad breath. So, if you are planning to come to Africa, stop by whole foods and get a stinky bottle of garlic pills and take one every twelve hours. I’m bite free. It might work for you too.
There has been a sickness passing around everyone I know here. It either comes out the top or the bottom. I am on cipro antibiotics because it was six days and six lost pounds of ick before I gave up the imodium and went for the cure. I know when I signed up to come to Africa that I also signed up to expose myself to all sorts of sicknesses. Last time I got ridiculously huge tropical ulcers on my hands until I took an antibiotic. It’s part of the gig. I know if I surrender to God all that can and will happen to me and not panic when it goes south he will teach me through the hardship. I am safe in his care especially when I am sick. I’ve lost two full days to being bedridden since arriving but I’ve bounced back and I refuse to be held down. I don’t regret it and I don’t fear it. It’s part of the adventure. For anyone who ever considers taking a mission trip to Africa, it is a serious consideration you must grapple with, will you surrender to all that can happen to you? Having diarrhea out in the rural areas where there’s only a pit latrine to use is not pleasant. Not at all. But somehow I survived it and I am alive to hide the horrible details, but also warn anyone romanticizing about a trip to Uganda that it’s a reality that must be seen eye to eye before committing to the adventure.
With that said, I feel compelled more than ever to lead future teams to Uganda to experience the culture, serve the children, and see God from a new point of view. Every member of our team was profoundly touched by this experience, and it was my great honor to help them reach this place of learning. I hope sincerely that I am able to lead many trips here with new people eager to know how life in Uganda is lived, and to fall ridiculously in love with the children at our home. Sometimes I think there are more learning benefits for the members of the team than there are for the children who receive the visitors. Some day I hope I can park myself here for a month or more and receive several teams consecutively, but next time during the school break for the children at the orphanage. For this trip we were able to withdraw our children from their school week for this special mission trip, but we should plan better in the future.
I hope that soon the land we chose is ours and we are growing food for the children. Reducing our feeding costs is a high priority. I’ve been stocking our “online store” while here. I hope to sell many interesting items to help pay for the high costs of food for the children so they can even improve their diets. It costs $25 a month to feed a child here.They are eating so well, and they look so healthy compared to six months ago that it thrills me. I just know we need to somehow get the feeding program self sustaining rather than drain the account. So we’ll see how well we can do from here on out.
Today at breakfast our boys along with Whitney and Andres have decided, after talking to the children at the orphanage that we need to arrange to give them a trip to the zoo! They’ve never been and many of them have said how much they want to go. So we will try and arrange to fund two buses, entrance fees and lunch for all of them so they can enjoy the learning involved with seeing wild animals for the first time. I think it should begin with sending some books about animals ahead of time so they might study them before seeing them. So when they see the animals in person it will feel like an “aha” moment. I love it that our kids are eager to fundraise for this gift to give.
I’m going to write all about our safari adventures in the morning when my mind is fresh. I was so happy to cuddle my sweet Kira this evening when we returned from our adventure in the National Park. She is a permanent part of my heart and I’ve only know her for six months. Her blood is as red as mine and it beats with the same pulse. We are separable, but not happily, only tolerably, and preferably rarely if not at all. Sometimes I think I could stay in Uganda indefinitely an it’s odd to remember there’s another whole life waiting for me at home. I feel like I really do exist in two worlds at once. (in a few short hours when I wake up i hope the internet has recovered from it’s sluggish pace, tonight it’s impossible to upload photos.)