Stories from Pat.
Monday and Tuesday in Nakivale were days of contrast. My assignment on Monday was to paint a mural on the waiting room wall in the new maternity ward. At any point in time there were 8 to 10 pregnant women or those receiving antenatal care waiting to be seen by the midwife, another 12 to 15 waiting in an adjacent area. They had been displaced because I needed access to the wall. How orderly and quiet they were as each waited for her name to be called.
The rest of the team helped in the pharmacy, taking a walk through the community. In the afternoon they began painting the interior of the clinic. Tomorrow would be a day of celebration and it was exciting to be able to provide a facelift to the clinic.
While preparing my work space I heard the cry of a newborn. What joy! In very short order, the mother was escorted to the ward and the midwife carried the baby to the joyful cries of the mother-in-law and father. The old ward had two beds with no room for the family or a third mother. What a wonderful contrast.
Back to work, totally lost in the process. The only cry I heard was the cry of a tiny baby as Mom received antenatal care. By 5:30, the call to leave was given. For safety purposes we don' t travel after dark. Almost done...God was certainly present as I worked on the 8'x10' space. My energy seemed boundless.
Tuesday was a day of celebration. Tents had been erected, white chairs neatly lined up, speakers wired to a car battery and a sense of excitement prevailed. Dignitaries from UNHRC, The Office of the Prime Minister and the Dept of Health arrived. As the festivities began the surrounding fence was bordered by a sea of faces, both young and old. The singing and dancing were electrifying. Young babies strapped to mothers' backs, heads bobbing to the rhythm of the dance. What a joyous sight! A group of refugee women dancers, all from the Congo but different tribes-people, performed for us. But the message was more than their dance...it was the potential of unity they expressed. What a contrast to what is going on in the Congo now.
Africans are people of story and it was through song, dance and theater they expressed their story of thanksgiving--thanksgiving for God's many blessings, health care provided by MTI, the new maternity ward and our teams' presence--all this in contrast to their humble surroundings.
So many lessons and impressions. We came with expectations--expectations to serve, but we were the ones who were served. Expectations to make a difference and we did! But more importantly, the community made a difference in us. God is present and working all over the world. I am so blessed to be part of this team in Uganda.