Kathryn
Jinja, Uganda
February 15, 2007

Hey everyone~
 
I don’t know if you all made it onto my update list, so I was glad to see that my dad sent it to the list.  Thanks for all of your prayer support and letters.  I’m sorry that I can’t write to everyone personally, but I want you to know that I appreciate the letters more than I could ever express.
 
I am feeling a lot more upbeat about it all.  I have to admit that at first, I was terrified at the thought of three months of this.  I had a very romanticized idea of what this was going to be like.  I think I subconsciously expected little Gerber babies.  Don’t laugh; I know that’s really naive!  When I walked in the door for the first time, the smell of sweat and urine was overpowering.  They wash everything down with a bleach water solution often, but it never takes away the smell.  I was so homesick the first couple of days and couldn’t bring myself to face that this was it.  I have learned that I am very selfish and spoiled!  Seriously!  I didn’t realize it until a couple of days after I got here.  I had to really stop and take a second to change my heart.  Jesus came to me in all of my sin and shame and picked me out of the mire.  I was utterly lost and broken; yet he transformed me.  Where do I get off feeling like the living conditions aren’t good enough for me?!  Seriously! J  I am embarrassed to admit that, but it’s the truth.
 
The poverty is hard to handle.  I think the most difficult thing is the way they look at me.  It’s like I’m dropping by to help for a bit, but I’ll never REALLY know what their life is like, and they know that.  Some have the saddest expression on their faces as I walk by them.  They squat down by their washing bucket and just stare at the “Muzungu.”
On the other hand, I love the way the street children grin and wave, yelling “Muzungu, how are yoooou!” J
 
I had the privilege of eating lunch at the orphanage today.  As I walked through the line I was given cassava root and noodles.  I’ll just say that it was far from my going-away steak dinner!  I laughed to myself as I thought of home and the millions of condiments we have in the fridge.  Meals here are pretty plain.
 
I am so struck with how we, as Americans, are so incredibly pampered and well cared for.  Life here is really at a survival level.  It’s not “what should I eat for dinner…I can’t decide,” but rather, “I hope I make enough money today in the market to buy some dinner.”
 
I know that this is normal for anyone who experiences this kind of condition.  I know that every single person comes to this and wants to solve this great problem.  I keep reminding myself that I, in and of myself, cannot change the condition.  What they really need is eternal salvation.  What good would it do if they were fed and lacked the knowledge of Jesus?  Now, understand that I know that doesn’t solve the immediate problem of hunger, but I am just praying that they see the big picture.  They are dead men walking because they have no hope for anything. 
 
I can’t articulate my thoughts completely, but you understand.
 
I went to the doctor today with one of the mamas from the orphanage.  Two of the kids needed X-rays for Tuberculosis.  One of the babies is about a year old, but is as small as a newborn.  Her newborn onesie is very loose on her.  Anyway, she isn’t growing and they have been taking X-rays every so often to try to figure out why.
The other little one is a boy named Bobby, who has AIDS.  He was getting a chest X-ray to check on his TB as well.  I drew many stares as I walked into that African clinic with the tiny African baby in my arms.  Let me tell you, I may look tan back home, but here, I am glowing white!  I was only white person in the clinic…and on the whole street, I guess! J  We took the kids into the waiting room, which was a small concrete room with benches around the edge.  No light, and no glass windows, just holes cut into the concrete.  The benches were packed with people just staring.  We were sent down the hall and out the door to the back of the clinic, where there was a little concrete house/room with an X-ray machine.  I know that doctors here would cringe at the conditions!
Bobby was X-rayed while I took off Sandra’s little onesie.  She was crying so pitifully as I laid her on the old rickety table.  I had to hold her arms away from her body as the doctor took the X-ray.  Unfortunately, the film was too dark, so I had to undress her again and repeat the awful experience.

We made it back to the orphanage and Joy, Michal, and I walked to town to check mail.  It’s about a mile and a half from the orphanage to town.
 
Okay, this has turned into a book. 
Miss you all!
 
Love, Kathryn

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