Archive for January, 2006

Deb and the Toad

Saturday, January 28th, 2006

January 28, 2006

Deb is well and reported that she was busy working on a sermon to deliver at the main service in the Lui Cathedral on Sunday. She has preached at the English service there before but this is going to be the first time doing it for the main service. She has to do a 30 minute sermon. Considering that it has to be translated into Moru it is hard to be sure about the timing.

She described her typical day as starting at about 8:30 at the Samaritan’s Purse clinic in Lui, where she does rounds with the pediatrician. She helped to drain fluid from around the heart of another child this week, but there was concern the patient may have active TB in addition to other ailments. She is quickly learning about tropical pediatrics. Her day usually ends about 7:30 in the evening when she finishes teaching English.

While we were talking I heard a loud rooster crowing, which she said she barely notices any more. And there was also the sound of 10 people drumming under a mango tree not far away. The mango trees are heavy with fruit and soon it will be ripe and she will be eating more of it than ever before.

She had less company than usual this week as many of the English speakers were away at a synod meeting in Juba. The staff at the cathedral was busy starting to prepare for the arrival of the February group that is going to visit. This means they were trying to get the critters out of the huts they will be using.

Deb has a British book to recommend for anyone who wants to learn more about Southern Sudan. It is Cry for Sudan by William Mather (Paperback, Price: $9.99 at Amazon, Publisher: Terra Nova Publications, Published: Spring 2004, ISBN: 1-901-94933-8). She suggested that those planning to come next month read it before the trip.

Speaking of critters, the latest was a large toad, about the size of her fist. She took a few containers to the Samaritan’s Purse clinic one morning to fill with clean water. She has gear for filtering the water but using theirs extends the life of hers, and they have offered it to her. In any case she filled the containers and put them into her backpack. Then she set it down while making rounds. When she picked it up to leave the toad jumped out, startling her enough to drop it. Toads are harmless but its just something else to get used to in Lui.

Deb and the Rat, Part II

Saturday, January 21st, 2006

January 21, 2006

Deb reports she is well and staying quite busy. Saturday is supposed to be her day off in Lui, but today she was visited by several women with sewing projects. And a student who missed an English lesson the other day stopped by to catch up on his studies.

Last night she had dinner with the staff from the Samaritan’s Purse clinic in Lui and had some vegetables and other delicacies not usually available there. She is making rounds at the clinic with a wonderful pediatrician from Uganda who is an excellent teacher. During the last week she helped him remove fluid from around the heart of a 10 year old boy. This doctor has written an article about “nodding disease”, which seems only to be found among the children in this area and is looking to see where to get it published. The clinic is well supplied, so she doesn’t need any bandages or other common medical items for use there.

Water is becoming a problem as lack of rain has caused the complete failure of the sorghum crop in the area and people are starting to show the effects. Some deep wells have dried up also, forcing people to travel to other wells further away. This is a problem in the outlying villages for the most part so far but could become general.

As for the needed stoles for the priests and others she says that they have no consistent color or type of fabric now. It is really just what they can find to make one from. If folks want to sew some to send over they can be of any color used in the church, and in the local area they also use a sky or baby blue color for lay readers.

And the rat is back. Boiling water didn’t kill it. When I commented on the technique not working she said that a lot doesn’t work there. We will have to see what happens now in her efforts to get rid of it.

Deb and the Rat

Saturday, January 14th, 2006

January 14, 2006

Deb is well and is trying to avoid the efforts of the folks in Lui to make her gain weight. At least it seems to her that’s what they are trying to do. Hospitality is still over the top and she is getting plenty of visitors. It seems they are also concerned that she might get lonely. She has been making rounds in the Samaritan’s Purse clinic with the pediatrician and learning all the time. Rheumatic heart disease is frequently seen. The adults in the area come down with malaria five or six times a year, not to mention what it does to the kids. She is taking her anti-malaria drugs so she is fine in that regard herself.

People have been bringing their own sewing creations in now that the sewing machines are working. The parishes don’t have any variety of liturgical colors due to the scarcity of colored cloth. So priests are happy to have one stole in any kind of color, as just one example. In one town named Keddiva, about 30 miles from Lui, three churches were burned before she arrived, and lost all their linens and chalices. Deb sent them the linens she brought from Advent.

In the last week Deb discovered that among the “critters” that share her hut with her there was a rat. In addition to leaving pellets around it had nibbled on some of the power bars she had brought along, so she hung the remaining and untouched ones from the ceiling. But the rat saw that the closest point to them was on the night stand next to her bed and she awoke to find it there, reaching for the goodies. The local method of getting rid of such a rat, which had made a hole or nest in the mud walls, was to pour boiling water into the hole. Then the opening is closed up with the wet mud and the rat is trapped in its nest. She was told to let someone know if it started to stink. Deb’s mission is not for the timid.

New Years in Lui

Saturday, January 7th, 2006

Deb is well and had a good time at the New Year’s celebrations in Lui. These were described as a joyous two day party with much singing, drumming, and dancing. These went on throughout the period, and she awoke to singing and drumming at 5:00 AM! The Christmas celebration was much more subdued in contrast.

Over the past week Deb was involved in a five day pastor’s workshop that the diocese held in Lui. She was asked by Bishop Bullen Doli to speak to the group on two subjects, stewardship and church leadership as practiced in America. Both talks were well received. During the week she had an opportunity to find out more about the local clergy. Some have considerable educational credentials, while other only have what is called a “bush education,” and are not literate in Moru, the local language. However all are unfailingly polite, which in part accounts for the applause she got for her presentations. She didn’t say it but I (Ron) suspect she liked the week with no bone-shaking and bruising trips away from Lui this past week.

She will start working with the Theology Education by Extension classes soon, which will be for about 50 people. Classes take a lot longer than one might expect as everything conducted in English has to be translated into Moru, and sometimes into another language. This also accounts for the length of church services.

Bishop Bullen Doli was away in Nairobi when we spoke. He will be escorting another visiting doctor from there to Lui. This doctor will be staying for a month or more and working with the Samaritan’s Purse clinic in Lui. Deb was not aware of his specialty, but had been told he was an Egyptian who was a naturalized American. She was looking forward to meeting him.