A lot of time has passed since we have last updated you all! And a lot has happened!
LifeNet is now operating with 20 health centre partners! It’s been really exciting to see the growth! Our first 10 partners have also completed their first courses in management and medical training and we are able to measure improvement and see success! Along with the success, comes a lot of challenge as well, but it’s exciting to continue to learn and grow as an organization and work to achieve excellence in what we do! It has also been a joy to work with our growing team of staff and walk alongside them, building in relationship and knowledge.
Just last week during a health centre visit, a woman came into the health centre asking for an injectable antibiotic for her daughter who delivered a baby four days prior. The nurse at the facility was just going to give the medication and a needle and syringe to the woman without any further questions or assessment. Our nurse trainer was present and encouraged the woman to bring the patient in. To give you some history, during her labour, the new mom was put on a boda boda (a motorcycle taxi) and referred to the hospital due to anticipated complications, but didn’t quite make it! She ended up having her baby delivered by a witchdoctor. When the woman brought her in, the new mom was in extreme abdominal pain. Not knowing how to assess the woman properly, our nurse trainer walked the nursing staff through the assessment and history taking. A proper plan was then made and we were able to assist her in getting to the referral hospital. If she was left at home, she could have died in a matter of days due to severe infection. Our nurse trainer made a difference. This is what LifeNet is all about, and it’s exciting to see the difference that it makes!
Josh has been working hard, as usual, juggling many tasks! Sometimes I just don’t know how he does it but I am so proud of him! My role within LifeNet has been evolving from helping Josh with various things to working with the nurse trainers in the field, to improving the health centre assessment tool, to developing the new medical curriculum. I have really enjoyed this as I have learned a great deal and it’s exciting to be responsible for the medical training curriculum that is taught in health centres around Burundi, Uganda, and now DRC, as LifeNet is currently expanding there!
In just a few weeks, we will be expanding to 30 health centres! I’m looking forward to hitting the red dusty roads again with Josh and choosing 10 new facilities! While Josh drives, I write down directions so that we can find the health centres again. The directions are a lot like this: Continue straight through the sugar cane fields, turn right at the grass hut, second right at the giant tree down the narrow dirt path… It’s definitely an adventure!
We were recently visited by Josh’s parents, and we were able to enjoy some precious time together! Josh and I were also able to take a holiday for a few weeks in May and do some backpacking through Spain and Morocco. It was a very welcome break, especially for Josh as he has been working extremely hard! We find that leaving the country helps us to fully “break!” It was definitely a special way to celebrate my 30th birthday!
I had the opportunity to go to Burundi on my own last month to work with the Burundi LifeNet team on the assessment tool as well as a new medical trainings I recently completed. I was also able to go upcountry and see my first lesson being taught at a health centre! It was both a productive and wonderful week working closely with the team there! I also had a great time visiting with old friends and attending our church, which we still feels like we never left! It always feels like we’re walking into a living room full of family, when we go back!
As many of you know, Burundi has been going through a lot of turmoil. After riots and violence breaking out last year, the fighting has subsided somewhat. Other than a heavier military presence than usual, on the outside, everything seems the same as if it did when we lived there. But politically, economically, everything is falling apart. Every morning you wake up and hear of horrible things that happened the night before. Gunshots are heard less frequently now, but they are still happening. Without getting into any details, people are still dying and people are going missing and some of it is hitting really close to home. Burundi still needs your prayers! At times it seems so hopeless, but we know that God is present in Burundi and we need to continue to trust in that.
Josh and I were talking the other day about our faith and how with being “missionaries,” it is often assumed that we have it all together faith-wise and that our faith is “stronger” out here and our walk with God “clearer.” Since we left our small Burundi church community bubble, and moved out to the big city of Kampala, we have found that maintaining our relationship with God has actually been a lot harder. With the injustices that we are faced with and that we see so often here in our work and our everyday life, sometimes the struggle to have faith feels a lot harder. We are in a battle but believe it or not, sometimes it can be easy to forget how real it all is and let ourselves grow weary and hardened with it all. Please pray for us that we make it a priority to spend time to spend with the Lord, the we really connect with a church, and that we continue to grow in our faith and be challenged in our walk with God.
The executive director of LifeNet is coming for a visit to Uganda next week! Please pray that it is a fruitful and encouraging week for us all!
I’m glad we could catch you all up! Thanks for reading and thanks for praying!
For those of you who enjoy looking at our photos, we have posted a few galleries below!
Uganda safari photos:
Chefchaouen, Morocco – The blue city (my “soul” city):
Sahara Desert, Morocco:
The rest of Morocco: