Darlene October 17, 2012

Oct. 17

Nina was released yesterday at about 4 pm. Her hospital bill for one nights stay, ER services, 10 bottles of IV fluids, 5 antibiotic infusion, nursing care, discharge medications and about 7 lab test and cultures came to 200,100 UGX or $80.40.

We arrived back home here at about 8 pm. We all slept well last night.

Today I am out doing home visits. So far we have received white potatoes, sweet potatoes, sugar cane, a basket and 1 nkoko, chicken. It was comical watching 3 grown men chase the chicken. The chicken was winning until I opened the door to their house to get my backpack and it flew in. Bad mistake. Now we will have nkoko this week.

One of our sponsors purchased an mbeeze, pig, for a family. They have just received the mbeeze so we are going to pay for it and to take pictures. The girls in the family are trying to think of a name for it. That is unusual here. They do not normally name their farm animals.

It is very HOT here today. I can not paint because the area to be painted is in direct sun. We have men clearing the area for the Piggery but they have just told Richard that they are done for today because it is to hot and they fear the snakes that come in the heat. NOW I KNOW I WILL NOT BE GOING BACK THERE UNTILL IT IS CLEARED.

Nina did laundry and is now resting.





Darlene October 14- 16th

Oct. 14th   Sunday

It was a beautiful morning. We went to 8 am mass that is held outside at the parish. After mass it was more painting. We got a lot of painting done before Fr. Hilary arrived for a visit. He had to show us exactly where to start building the Piggery. Nina, Richard and Fr. Hilary all took a hike through the heavily wooded area but I stayed behind. I have not over come my fear of snakes so I stay out of areas where I think they might be. Hopefully we will break ground on Tuesday the 16th.

We also had a visit from Gabriel who is the brother of John Bosco. John Bosco is a seminarian friend of ours in the US. He gave us two papayas that we will enjoy later.

Tonight we are supposed to go to Richard’s to see his place and to play farkle.


Oct. 16th NO GROUND BREAKING TODAY/Hospital Care

Well we did go to Richard’s last night and Nina started feeling poorly so we didn’t stay long. During the night she got progressively worse. She had about 8 bouts of diarrhea and stomach cramping. At about 8 am I took her temp and it was 101. At 9 am after she complained of feeling worse I took her temp again and it was 102. The staff at our clinic tested her for malaria and typhoid and both were negative. At that point Fr. Hilary said he was calling his friend who worked at an upscale clinic in Nsambya. To me it is Kampala but I guess it is not officially. Anyway he wanted us to take her there. Sister Barbara met us and took us directly to an ER.   The staff was very careful and helpful. It is surely different being in a hospital here. When we got to the ER they asked me where our sheets were. I’m sure I looked dumb as I just looked at them and said “excuse me”. Over here you bring all of your own things with you. As it turned out Richard had to go and buy 3 lengths of cloth that are used to cover you on the gurney and in bed. There are 3 or 4 wooden stores right inside the entrance to the clinic property where you can buy supplies.  They started an IV on her right away and took blood for a CBC and electrolytes. Her blood sugar turned out to be extremely high and her B/P was extremely low. She looked and felt awful. She wanted to go back to our clinic in Kapeeka and get the IV therapy there but Fr. Hilary said no she must stay the night there. The male student put her in a wheelchair and we followed to what we thought was going to be a temporary room until a private was ready. Imagine our surprise when we entered a room lined with 8 beds on each side and the patients were all men. Immediately a Dr. appeared and asked “you are leaving her here? “. Then the female students started on him. “You can not leave a women in the men’s ward. Are you crazy” I’m sure he was glad to escape them. Then it was back to admitting for another room assignment. This time they sent us to the St Ann House on campus,(our temporary room) It turned out to be a 3 bed ward but no one else was in it. The In Charge came and apologized for the mix up and then helped settle us in. We did not plan on her being admitted so we had no medication or clothes with us. I did go to the little store to get 2 toothbrushes, toothpaste and a bar of soap. It cost me 2,500 Ugandan shillings. ($1 US) Fr. Hilary arrived with a suitcase packed with sheets, soap, toothpaste and blankets. After about an hour Richard and Fr. Hilary disappeared for a while. They returned with 2 outfits so that we would not have to sleep in our clothes. They also purchased a mosquito net for me to use, a basin for Nina to wash from and water bottles. I slept in one bed and Richard spent the night in a comfy chair in the room. I did have to get up with Nina each time at night so that I could help with the IV. I got up the one time to go out and tell the nurse that her IV was finished and was surprised to see people on the floor everywhere. Family members were lying on the floor next to and under beds. Some had straw mats and others were on the floor.

This morning she feels much better. She is sitting up in bed playing farkle and cards with Richard. Now we are waiting for the doctor to see if she can go home today.



Darlene October 13, 2012

Saturday was a good day because the Strategic Planning was behind us. We started on the painting of the outside of the dormitory. The kids love to watch us and we have to keep asking them to stay off of the veranda. They are just curious. Today we left the yellow paint covered with plastic in a paint tray. When we came back we were shocked to see yellow paint all over the veranda. We didn’t know what happened because of the strange markings. Just at that time an nkoko, chicken, came walking by with yellow feet. He walked right thru the paint tray and the plastic tore. Another lesson learned. Always cover the paint with a basin.

Every once in awhile when we leave our supplies to have lunch we come back to a little mess that one of the kids have made. Children, around he world have to be reminded to pick up their rooms. As usual they were becoming sloppy and had to be reminded that their chores needed to be completed.

Later some of the kids came to us to see if they could finish their crafts. Now we have a list of kids that want make hook rugs in 2013. I think I will send a picture of the children with their finished products to the manufacturer, Caron. It would be nice if they would donate some kits for next year.

That evening, Richard, the administrator, had to transport a patient to Nakasake hospital. He had been in a boda boda, motorbike for hire, accident. They thought he might have had a broken leg plus other injuries. Thank God for the Mary Alphonse Bradley grant that allowed us to buy the vehicle to transport patients who need more emergent care.

Darlene October 9, 2012

Oct.9th  8 a.m.

What a beautiful day for their Independence Day. The kids are all busy cleaning up the basketball court and the net ball area. The games should start around 9:30. There will be 4 teams so they each have different colored shirts. I have on my yellow COVE shirt so I will be cheering on the yellow team.

Warming up before the games

10 p.m.The kids and teachers had a ball. The day started with sack races and then went to races where one child from each team had to walk the length of the dormitory field with a full soda bottle on their head. I couldn’t do it on a flat surface much less where they were walking. I think the spectators enjoyed it as much as the ones in the race. After that they had a break for porridge and tea. The next game was between two teachers, Angelia and Moses. They were each blindfolded and had to try and find the other one. I was surprised at how fast Angelia was running around with the blindfold on. I never did see who won.

Later there was a soccer game and then lunch. After lunch they played basketball. After about 30 minutes it started to rain but the game continued. In fact Fr. Hilary had arrived about an hour before the game and he went out and played basketball also. The rain didn’t stop him either. He seemed to be having a good time. He was telling us that he enjoyed playing at the seminary especially when Fr. Tom coached because they would always win. Volleyball was the next competition. Even Charles the laboratory technician from the health unit got in on that one. Finally they had a water balloon competition for the younger ones that could not play some of the earlier games. The children were paired up and they had to stand face to face with their hands over their heads. Then they had to put a balloon between them and get to the other end of the field without dropping it. Fr. Steven, the parish priest, stopped in while they were doing it and he decided that he and Richard should challenge Nina and I to a balloon race. As it turned out Nina and I did get to the end first but we put our balloon in the wrong container so we lost.

I’m sure the kids and teachers will sleep well after all of that.

Godfrey, our cook, joined Nina, Richard and I and we played Mexican Train. For those of you who don’t know what that is it’s a game played with dominos. At about 8:30 we decided to  make s’mores, since we never got around to having them last night. For the past 3 years we have brought the ingredients with us but we were surprised to find marshmallows in the  store this year. Godfrey had never had one and he  really liked them. He is great at roasting them to a perfect golden brown, just the way I like them.

I have to be up early in the morning so I will say sula bulungi, good night.


Darlene October 8, 2012

Today we have done a little of everything. Nina and I started the morning by taking a walk. We planned on going for about an hour but 5 min. into the walk Joseph came to ask where we were going. Then he said we had to be back by 9 am for the library tour at the St. Jerome Cove Center.  When we got back Michael was there. He is the facilitator for the Strategic Planning meetings that starts on Wed. He needed to talk with me but I had to cut it short so that I could get to a different  meeting. Thank God for small favors.
After the Library program we had to touch up a sloppy paint job that was done by someone else. We thought it would be a simple project but nothing is simple  over here. Our 15 min task turned into an hour. It looks so much better now so it was worth it.
Next we began to do  laundry the old fashion way. The mosauw, nurse, asked if that is how we wash clothes in the US. I told her I use to do it that way when I visited my grandparents in Canada but not since that time.
After lunch we had a tour at Kobgowe school. Because our vehicle is in the shop getting new shocks we had to go on two piki pikis, motorcycles. One was Richard’s and the other Joseph’s. I must admit it was more fun than I expected.  The ride there was uneventful but coming home was a different story. Three times we had to stop because Richard’s bike kept stalling. Nina was ready to walk home but we decided Joseph would bring me home and then return for her. It is very hot today in the sun and it would have taken over an hour to walk it. I think I may try traveling that way again.
I saw Felicita on Sunday. She is the child with the injured hand. She had a hugh pressure dressing on her hand that looked very bloody so we  took her to mosauw, nurse Cecilia to see if she knew what treatment had been rendered.   We were told that when Cecilia saw her the hand  and fingers were very hot and swollen. She decided to lance it so that it could be drained. It was full of pus. They now have her on antibiotics. The dressing was to be changed today and I wanted to observe but it didn’t work out that way. I did see her today and it looked much better.
Tomorrow is the 9th so they will be celebrating Independence Day. Nina and I hope to play Bingo with the kids and some other games. Naturally there will be football, netball and volleyball. The kids are really looking forward to the day.
Tonight, if things go as planned we will play Mexican Train with the staff and also roast marshmallows for s’mores. That sounds so good to me right now.
I’m trying to think of ways to escape from the Strategic Planning meetings.  I’ll let you know if I am successful.

Darlene October 4, 2012

Today has been pretty busy. We started the day by visiting the families of 3 sponsored children. The first family makes “home brew”. It looked like and smelled like Moonshine. They offered us some but we declined. They prepared us something we have not seen in our 5 visits to Uganda. It is a fruit that looks like black olives. In fact I thought they were but were called by a different name. They boil them,  dip them in salt and eat. I tried one bite and gave it to my sister. We were given matooke bananas to take home and also ground nuts. Godfrey fried them for us and we had them while playing games tonight.
At the home of jja jja omukazi (grandmother) of Paul we were welcomed and treated to steamed sweet potatoes, cassava, yams and bananas. We have known her now for 5 years and she is very special. I gave her a sweatshirt and she paraded around in it asking for pictures of her with it on. We had to promise to send her a copy so she can put it on her wall.
This afternoon while Nina and I were painting I heard a van drive up. When we looked out we saw 7 muzungus (white people) getting out. We went out to greet them and found out that they are from Italy and they support the Antonio Gallo school. We have sponsored children there. With them was Ronald Matouvu who was our first Sponsorship person. It was good to see him again. The Italian group gave a soccer ball to the school that we will use on the 9th when we have games to celebrate the Ugandan Independence Day. They were a lot of fun to visit with.
Tomorrow will be a painting day also. Hopefully we will finish the 3rd dorm room so that we can do the 4th one, that is being used as a classroom right now, on Saturday. After that we can start the outside.
I would also like to find time to interview the 2 new staff members so that you can meet them.. One of them is replacing Mr. Herbert who is taking more classes at University and the other is being oriented to be the 5th grade teacher next year. The children seem to like both Mr. Moses and Ms Gift.
Last week I wrote about the little girl that was shoved while playing and she injured her hand. Last night she was screaming because her hand hurt so much. We saw her this morning and it is still swollen and painful. We asked Richard to please get in touch with someone so that they can check her again. He called the Bishop Asili clinic and we have an appt. in the morning. Lets hope they find the problem this time and can take care of it. I will let you know what happens.
The rains continue to come each day and creates a  mess. It was badly needed so I am not complaining. However,  it does make traveling to some of the homes impossible.
Yesterday we visited 2 schools that received books from the Bookfriends/COVE book project. At St. Kizito’s they are still unpacking because they received so many more books than they expected.  They are creating a whole new area as the library to accommodate these precious books.. The new library will consist of 3 adjoining room with tables to work at,  as well as one room with the books. The headmaster said that having a library has always been a dream of his. He knew that some how, someway God would fill the library.
At St. Cyprian,  the Sister had metal book shelves made. I think they are the best we have seen. The library at that school is immaculate and totally organized. She also said she received more books than expected. I think her system will be the one to watch. Next term she will provide a library card for each student. She is so thrilled to have books that are beyond the syllabus.
Well once again it is time to say sula bulungi(good night).

Sept. 28, 2012

By Darlene Frantonius

The day started a little on the cool side. I actually had to wear a sweatshirt, for the first time, until Nina and I took our walk at 9am. Now the sun is out so hopefully our laundry will dry before the afternoon rain comes.

There is an HIV/AIDS clinic today at St. Jerome so we will be observing that for a couple of hours. I’m not sure how many people will come. They tell us there is no way to predict the turn out. After lunch we will continue painting in the dorms. We have 3 rooms to do yet and then the outside of the building.

Yesterday Richard  had to take a primary 1 student for x-rays. Her hand was more than twice the normal size. It seems she was pushed on Wed. and fell on her hand. It started swelling and became very painful. For me it was de-javu. In 2003 I fractured the navicular bone in my right hand and ended up in a cast for over 3 months. Felicitas’s hand looked just like mine. They did take her to the Bishop Asili clinic in Luweero for an x-ray and decided there was no fracture. Later last night they showed us the x-ray films and report. From the looks of the report they x-rayed the 2 bones in the lower arm with no emphasis on the hand. I pray they are right and she does not suffer with this.

Yesterday was market day in Nalavula so we walked there to purchase shoes for our sponsored children and to get a bar of the blue soap that they use here in Uganda. I can’t believe how well it gets out the red dirt that is everywhere. It can’t be that good and be environmentally friendly at the same time. Speaking of the environment the trees that were planted here 2 years ago are really growing fast. Lots of pine trees were planted in front of the campus and also on the back hill to reduce erosion. New ones will be planted when they harvest the old ones for firewood.

Right now there are US Marines at the Singo Army base down the road. They travel to Kampala each night for lodging and then have to be back here at 6:30am. It is about an hour and a half trip in decent traffic. We hope to be able to meet with them before they go back to the US. Nina’s son and grandson are both Marines so she is very anxious to meet with them.

The children are outside the door asking me to “please thank my dear sponsor”. So I am doing that at this time. Many of them request that I have their sponsors send them a picture of their family. Other children proudly show me the pictures they have. I think they believe that we know each sponsor personally. They are just about to have their break for porridge. Yesterday Fr. Hilary delivered some sweet potato from his garden. The children will get them on Sunday as a special treat. You should have seen them when they heard they were for them. They started rolling the bags of potatoes to the kitchen.

Until later, peace and blessings,


Oct. 1st

I think this is day 6 without power but I am not sure. I have stopped counting. It did come on last night from 10:30pm until 7:30 am but I was asleep. I purchased a coffee maker last week because I miss my morning coffee. I had it set to go and Nina was up early enough to turn it on so it was a treat for me today to get brewed coffee.

Yesterday after mass Nina and I came back to our room and found a patient in the OB department at the clinic. Our room is right next to the labor room so we know when something is going on in there. The patient came in hemorraging at 20 weeks and she ended up losing the baby. That was sad. We gave her a cross necklace and told her we were so sorry.

Some of the grade 4 students had a good time yesterday working on a project that Nina brought with her. She purchased 8×8 rug hooking kits for some of them,  so she was teaching a class. Most of them caught on fast. Even when it was dark they did not want to stop.  She promised to bring more next year.

Fr. Hilary surprised us by stopping by yesterday. First we had a meeting for about 2 hours and then we went out to celebrate my daughters 42nd birthday. That meant going to the restaurant for a soda and to play farkle. I will have to repeat it on the 3rd to celebrate my  other daughters 40th birthday. While traveling about we came upon a group of women that were working on a micro financing projects. They were Pentecostals and they warmly welcomed Father and the rest of us. The crafts were really beautiful and colorful.

In our travels yesterday we visited a “Pig Palace”. We were very interested because COVE is in the process of preparing to start a Piggery Project. Hopefully we will begin construction soon. The project is being funded by Highland Middle School in Libertyville, IL.

At the HIV clinic last week they tested 163 patients. There were 7 positives. I wish it would have been fewer. From what I read in the  papers here,  the incidents of HIV/AIDS in increasing after years of decreasing. Let’s pray it turns around again.

Lunch is here so I will close.