By Karina “Keeky” Smith
WEDNESDAY, FEB 14TH 2018
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! Fun little gifts and sweeties decorated this day. As always, Ruthie was the winner of ingenuity, with little gifts and cards for every member, from the dishwasher to the administrator! That little cupid did her work early and then ran to catch the daily boat off the island. She had planned to meet up with Pr. Jerry Conklin from Astoria, OR and bring him out to the island for a few days. She hadn’t planned on adventures…
Out in the middle of the lake, police boats were waiting to round up public boats whose passengers were not wearing life jackets. The boats were sent to a different port and every passenger without a life jacket was promised 12 strokes! The boat engines were confiscated as the passengers took off running! Since the public boats were grounded, our pilot, Oriage, took the SHIM boat to bring back our weary and hungry travelers: Ruthie, Robert, and Pr. Jerry.
My day began with a short jog with Andy. While on the islands, I try to fix fairly hearty breakfasts with eggs, potatoes, etc for my family. Today, the gas in the main kitchen went out, so all morning people came in for hot water or to boil milk for their babies. It was a bit chaotic as I was also boiling the goat milk and preparing to teach my kids. Our house on the island is only barely over 20×20 feet total – many of your bedrooms are almost that big! At this size, as you can maybe imagine, my kitchen is truly a “one-person-at-a-time” kitchen. But we just joyfully crowd in! I was so grateful for Mama O, who after fixing porridge for Baby Yasha, washed up all my dishes!
I love homeschooling as much as my boys! They are not the only ones who are learning fascinating facts about God’s World! We start off by practicing a little Luganda, from the lessons which Prossy gives them each afternoon. We are also learning John 3:16 together in Luganda. As the boys work on their math, 3-year old Jovian comes in and colors a little map of Africa.
We try to keep mornings fairly quiet, with the SHIM family helping to guard my door from visitors. Several slipped through this week. One pregnant lady, whom I had not seen before, did not like my suggestion that she return after 3pm, the time I allot each day for first-aid and prenatal care. When she demanded, “What are you doing right now, anyway?” I felt my blood start to boil. With a prayer for patience, I dismissed her and went back to my waiting kids inside.
I really do love the opportunity to help the island women. Culture prohibits parents from connecting with their unborn children, or even preparing for their birth. If you should do the taboo of congratulating a woman on her pregnancy, she may turn away, or deny the pregnancy, calling it a “frog” or “rock.” I get the privilege of showing them how their baby is developing and letting them hear the heartbeat. “Talk with your little one. Pray for the baby. Let your baby know you love him/her…” Mercy For Mamas organization provides us with Mama Kits which we give to the mothers to help the
m prepare for birth. Things like plastic sheeting, clean string and a sterile razor help make their birth safer; whether on a dirt floor, or a hospital bed.
After prenatals, I joined Prossy and Stella for their weekly Bible study in the church with the village women. When I walked in, Teacher Topi from Lingira Living Hope Secondary School (LLHSS) was praying with Rose, a very young mother with little, if any, education. “I have been to church many times,” Rose said, “but now I want to know Jesus.” It was beautiful to see the smile that lit her face. Each of the women in that room has a unique story, and God is weaving them all together!
THURSDAY, FEB 15TH, 2018
Mornings and evening are my favorite times of day. In the mornings, Andy and I like to sit on our porch to read our Bibles as the tropical birds sing. Our favorite is the cadence of the African Grey Parrots which is usually the first to start the cacophony of other bird songs and calls. As we read we can pray for the students walking by on their way to school. Little kids in bright green, grade schoolers in pink and beige, and high schoolers in sky blue and white brighten the path.
The middle of the day is always hectic with school, meetings, prenatals, visitors, etc. Today, I never finished with any person before another one or two was waiting. Each one was important, like the woman in labor, and a Child Development team meeting with Ruthie and Robert to examine the education and needs of our sponsored children. At one point I started to grumble inwardly. It was nearly suppertime, yet I was still with a visitor. The boys had not yet bathed and my laundry was still on the line. When I finally walked out to fill a basin with water for the boys, I found that Ruthie had neatly folded all my clothes and set them inside. Bless her heart!
Andy came back from Pastors’ Training, and finished up his work just in time to take the boys out to practice shooting their bows and arrows. At least they got one shot each before another visitor arrived! And that took us up to supper.
After supper, Andy and I read and sing with our boys. Once they are in bed, we take our nightly trek to the pit latrine. The air is cool and still except for frogs, crickets, and cicadas. A majestic canopy of stars always invites us to stop along the way and look up at the constellations and The Milky Way. It’s then that we breathe deep and quiet our harried minds with words of Scripture, “Be still and know that I am God…” “When I consider the heavens, the moon and the stars which You have made; What is man that You are mindful of him?”