• sarah@healingeyes.org

Tag Archives: africa

African Widows

Sometimes I can’t take photos of what I experience and often my words can’t even express the logic here but I’ll do my best. Widows here have it bad!

I was visiting a young widow who lost her husband unexpectedly last week in the nearby village since one of her children attends the school we are partnering with. It happened to be the day the clan family was gathering to discuss her future. What I learned was sickening and as I am here longer and longer I am seeing why the culture is the way it is and why change is so hard here.

The men were meeting to discuss who would care for the widow. At first that sounds rather nice of the clan but this is the hard truth of it. The man who will be chosen can have the option to marry her if she accepts but most likely because of the fear of AIDS neither will agree. This then leaves the widow the right to stay on the land but the man will not feed her or the children. So what does she have for options?

The clan woman can meet and persuade her to find a man who she can sleep with for food, exchange sex to survive. Now this widow is a Christian, which means she might not go for this option. If she doesn’t choose this path she could return to her native village and hope someone will care for her with a little food, however, she might not bring her 4 children with. Now another choice is find someone to marry, however again this is difficult because Christians fear AIDS and non-believers do not care about getting AIDS and would rather just not know. This means she fears marrying again. Now if she does find a man that man most likely will not take her 4 children and so those children now will be abandoned to perhaps a clan aunt or grandmother but this doesn’t mean they will be fed.

So if you’re a young widow here you have pretty bad odds of surviving…Starve, have sex, or marry and leave your children.

 

Another sickening reality here is if you’re a young girl reaching age 14 or 15 and you have grown up with no help and little food you will begin ‘playing sex’ with older men in order to get enough money to buy a simple thing like menstruation pads and/or a bit of food. These girls will not care about getting AIDS because no one here wants to get tested and fears the stigma that attaches to it. If you are a widow and your husband dies from AIDS they will try to hide it by turning to alcohol before the man dies so that people will say he died from drinking.

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One Day Miracle

Good news is in just ONE day I have $600 pledged for the land we are buying for a primary school/clinic/library ($3,000 to needed). Can YOU help make today another ONE day miracle by pledging any amount to help buy the 5 acres of land in Manafwa district of Eastern Uganda? Just imagine what we can pull off in a short amount of time to show a modern day miracle.

Why? your help with aid our efforts to purchase land for a primary education school that assists total and half orphans in Uganda. We also hope in the future to have a little clinic with quality medical care. We also aim to build a library for local pastors and students to gain access to books.

It’s easy to do…You can either email Sarah with your pledge OR use the form below to make an instant donation. All donations are tax deductible, Healing Eyes is a 501c(3) organizations.

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Tired..Hot..Stressed…Dirty..Overwhelmed…and…and….utterly…helpless.

BUT 2 days straight without being sick!! YES!!!!!

I wish I was a photo person but sadly I never remember to take photos and when I think of it the circumstance isn’t appropriate to pull out my iphone to snap a photo. So much of what I am trying to do here is not make it an impersonal relationship here where I just photograph all the sick and suffering people in Africa. We all know people in Africa have it rough and kids are starving and people are poor…we get it really. There will always be poor people and rich people. What’s ironic is being a poor american in a country where people think I am rich. Ha! If they only realized who I really was.

Sigh…today I went to tell a girl and her grandmother her medical condition is not looking good and I have little options for them. Educating the girl on being safe and staying away from boys to prevent pregnancy which most likely would cause more pressure on her already enlarged spleen. Teaching the grandmother to look after her girl and to not overwork her on the farm. Telling her uncle to be a good caregiver and counsel the children to tell HIM when they have wounds. You have to think opposite here because a grown up doesn’t really mean a good caregiver for a child that already doesn’t know basic hygiene and medical care (like bandaids and infections).

Lastly my land saga goes on and on and I follow the breadcrumbs God shows me along the way. Slowly he veers me to another land today that is of the same landowner but a better choice. Why can’t God just show you the first option and then make it happen? Instead of going to and fro while being cheated and lied to and then told half information to then end up with the same land owner and a better piece of land. Now I just need the money to appear in 2 weeks in order to buy the said land. $4,000 should cover it and then Healing Eyes has a stronger commitment in the realm of helping orphans and widows. I am not trying to rush into anything I in fact wish for a slower pace because I am out of my league here. At home I have 4 kids and a Grandmother and a Driver I am feeding, I just paid for 2 hair cuts ($2) for 2 of the kids. Back in Michigan I have just little ole me to care for….seems kinda appealing right about now.

Missionaries don’t always like there jobs! They can’t possibly enjoy the constant strain of living in another culture? and the constant begging of money from them while they themselves have to get help from others they know to survive.

My rambling ends here…if you want to know what your support does in Africa? It helps Sarah not go crazy and it helps Sarah sit in a mud hut while showing adults how to clean a basic wound and apply a bandaid to a wounded child. It also helps pay for fuel to pick up an abused girl half naked who I just found out was most likely already raped by some motorbike guys from Kampala who then just dumped her in Tororo after a witchdoctor most likely told the mother to have her daughter raped to cure the mental disease.

Your support and donations shows compassion to all sorts of people that most would walk away from because it’s just too hard to help sometimes. Thank you for helping me show God’s love to the forgotten children.

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Compassion doesn’t stop at religion

A muslim and a christian both have the heart of compassion and were good Samaritans in Uganda today. First let me tell you how but my day started off with a bit of do-it-yourself first aid in the village.

I brought my handmade first aid kit complete with nearly everything to bandage a wound just in case any child came up to me with a burn or cut. Of course one by one they showed up and I treated about 4 of my kids with burns from a fire to cuts from trees. These wounds left alone would become infected and surely cause serious complications for their future, their is no hygiene or disease education here..

After a morning of bandaging children we headed back into town and that’s when we saw her.

A young girl walking naked on the side of the road as we returned to town at 2pm. We went past and I had this sinking feeling we must turn around. We see crazy people often but she was naked! I tell my driver we have to help. He says no…i almost agree but I say what would Jesus do? We have too try to at least put her clothes on or she will be raped. We turn around and once she sees me she runs. We get in the car and Chase her. We try again and she runs. We then decide too follow on foot. I yell for people to stop her but no one cares. Finally a group of men help and we hop on two motor bikes and Chase her through the town, thru alleys and roads. I yell for a kid too stop her. We almost have her cornered when she finds large rocks and throws them at me. So we chase her again and finally a man who owns a tailoring shop restrains her.
At the police station they send us across the street and then they send us back and then they send us back again after being stern we must help her. Finally we took her to the main hospital and insisted they refer us too a mbale private hospital that can actually treat her and not throw her back on the street.

We arrived safely in mbale with the girl, about a 45 minute drive, and brought her to the psych ward of the hospital. It was dark by now and a crazy lady greeted me, she was actually very nice but at first scared me by grabbing tightly to my arm in the dark. The nurses had to sedate our missing girl and she struggled immensely and even spit at my driver. But my new muslim friend held her down tightly and we were so blessed tonight to have met him and to see such a caring heart in another African here.

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As we sat with the girl until she fell asleep I talked to the man about his religion a little and we found a commonality between us and that was, suffering. We are tested in life by suffering and its our faith in action that shows true humanity.

So now my missing girl is sleeping in mbale and I am back in Tororo and tomorrow I’ll have to go back and feed her food (hospitals here do not provide food) and hopefully the doctor will have an answer to her sickness in the head as well as figure our her identity. She talked a little bit and said she was from Kampala and took a motor bike and walked the rest of the way but not sure if this was delirious talk or truth.

Tomorrow I have to go redress the wounds in the village too… Yikes too much to do!!!

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Being tested with Patience and Endurance

What we do now will affect our eternity. That’s what I at least keep reminding myself as I am bed ridden for another day from an infection in Africa.

We helped 5 kids last week with wounds on there legs and feet and shortly after sending them home I fell ill with an abdominal infection.

I can’t lie I am feeling pretty down in the dumps and wishing to go home but if a little infection stops me NOW what does that say about anything bigger later on?

Persevere

What if trials are a way to prepare you for something more and if we don’t endure we will never know what ‘could have been’.

At least that’s my rationale for the current situation of Healing Eyes and myself.

All around there is wickedness and deceit and every step I take forward I am pushed back farther. Last Sunday I confronted the village about some lies and wickedness going around while I preached at their church. Each Sunday I am visiting churches that Pastor John takes me to and we do our dog and pony show. I sing and preach and then he follows up with a summation. Last Sunday I got too choked up while singing Amazing Grace and made a fool of myself by crying in front of everyone. Then I proceeded to talk about Ezekiel 33-35 while my body was fighting the recent infection.

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Monday I went back and did some first aid on the kids I returned home since they are not keeping there newly patched up wounds clean. Now today I am on day 2 of laying in bed, too exhausted from not being able to eat anything of substance and in too much pain from the stomach cramps.

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No words of inspiration on this blog entry today…but perhaps a bit of reality of serving in a third world country where you are most definitely a foreigner!

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Too Many wounded children

What can one person do after opening a huge can of worms in Africa? Beats me but I just did today. I brought back the 2 boys who were staying with me after their treatment was finished for the 3 days. Then I asked the pastor to take me for a walk to see the other villages past the swamp before the rainy season comes. He laughed at first and was shocked because Mazungoos don’t ‘foot’ it (walk), they only ride around in cars. So it was quite a sight today as I walked with Rev John from hut to hut and jumped a small river in the swamp to make it to the visiting village. I decided why not look for wounded children as we go and take them to the clinic as a group. You see there are many children with wounds on there feet and legs from farming (digging). They accidentally hit themselves with the hoe or sharp objects and then never seek medical treatment because of the cost. So now the villages all know Sarah is taking wounded children to be healed. Oops.

WARNING: Some of the photos are a bit graphic.

One girl I found is 8 years old and has been injured since November 2015 from a nail she stepped on. We took her and her brother to the clinic in Tororo. We also found 2 other boys along the way.

One boy (14 yrs) has a wound a month old, another boy (8 years) just sliced his foot on an iron sheet last Friday and the oldest boy of 19 has been injured for 3 years. All have wounds I know where and how to treat.

Sadly the truth here is that the treatment is a bit painful. The girl I had to restrain while they took a razor blade to cut out the bad tissue to open the puss to release the infection. It took me and one other man to hold her down while I tried to insist she be given Novocain for the pain but it turns out that was worse than the cutting because village kids FEAR needles and she fought back. We both cried as I put almost all my weight down on the girl to keep her from moving. All of this while they treated the other boy next to her and so she now sees him screaming from an IV needle, which makes it all worse.

bleedingOutThe 8 year old boy with a sliced foot I met in the morning and his foot was covered in a bandage that was entirely red from blood. When I came back an hour later to take him they had already brought him to the government clinic, which is a very BAD idea. So we rushed to find him but it was too late they had put stitches in without any medicine or cleaning of the wound. They stitched it and then set him away with Tylenol and NO antibiotics. The boy screamed and ran away from me and we tried to put him in the car to take him to the REAL clinic in town. Once at the clinic I tried to hold him tight as they cut the stitches out and cleaned the wound out and let’s just say he is a fighter.

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The 14 year old boy had I think the worst wound and so I sat next to him and held him down as he had his leg disinfected with iodine and then a razor blade used to cut the bad tissue out down to the flesh, about a 2 inch circle of flesh. We both cried and shook as I tried to keep it together for the boy.

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The 19 year old man had the worst infection but I did not see how they handled him because I had reached my limit of suffering.

I couldn’t pay the bill today because I had to use my last shillings to buy food until I get to the ATM again. I actually said to the Africans, I have NO MONEY left for any one else. I am at my end!

Now I have 4 kids again and the 8 year old boy is just screaming to go home and I am screaming to Go home too! No thank you’s and no appreciation for an agonizing afternoon and I still don’t know why me because each clinic visit opens my wound of staying by my husband’s side as he went through treatments and was in so much pain. Here in the village there is no treatment and no one to bring medicine and I fear the next days will bring a gauntlet of more children with wounds I can’t fix. Even Jesus had to run away when too many people came to be healed…There is too much need here and I just want someone to hold me tonight.

If you can help Healing Eyes out tonight with a donation of any amount to help our medical fund it would be a blessing to these children and me because more are coming and I can’t say no 🙁

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Feeling Outnumbered

Helpless in Africa or just beginning to realize the terrible fact that we are out numbered my kids and drunkards.
Now I just need to hide out from my enemies a bit longer and kick butt tomorrow in the village with fixing huts lol. Yesterday at the destroyed home of agatha there was one guy and 15 kids standing on the fallen tree. I stood there thinking ok let’s fix this house now. But realized oh we need men and oh they are all drinking alcohol down the road and my only guy is half blind and I’m a small lady. So God what miracle will you work for me this week?

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Exhausted and determined to build hope

What I am thankful for is a shower and a mosquito net. Really it’s the basics in life that make the difference here in Africa. For dinner I had 1 hard boiled egg, beef jerky, and 3 bananas. It’s more than some get.

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Not to sound like a broken record but I need prayers for my health. My nose has began running and my headaches won’t stop. After finishing my week of Amoxycillin I am now starting my stash of Cipro to try and combat this ailment. I just pray I don’t get a cold on top of all of this.

Regardless of how my body is doing my heart took a bit of a beating today as I interviewed some new ‘orphans’ admitted to the ‘school’. How the school can take more kids in is beyond my comprehension because they have NO buildings and the teachers aren’t even paid since parents aren’t paying school fees.  Pastor John has a big heart and can’t say no to anyone it seems. But alas I talked to some new kids and heard the same thing over and over, mother died and father is a drunkard. Or another is father died of HIV and mother is widowed and only digs in the garden. My favorite is the witchdoctor poisoned their mother in the garden, some truth behind this and also just some basic lack of medical help.

31 more kids! On top of the 31 I already had who were on the needy list. Healing Eyes will do its best but its a reality when we can’t help all of these kids  because first of all some have parents that can pay and also we need to do more than just pay for school fees. I am tired…my heart is tired..my immune system is fighting as hard as it can against sickness…and today I get more kids. Tomorrow morning I need to get up and make a list of which kids deserve a trip to the hospital for HIV testing and other health ailments and which will have to wait. One child has some diagnosis of a pancreas issue, I told her to bring her medical papers so I can see what the problem is. I’m not a Doctor though!

The rains are coming sadly which means the meager school under 2 trees is going to take a beating from the rain and mud. So in preparation I have begin ordering some wooden benches to get them off of the ground, buying some sheet metal to put a roof on the makeshift classroom of sticks, and lastly we will get the mudding started to construct 3 little classrooms until one day we can have land and REAL buildings. My hope is that this can help during rainy season and provide some relief for the time. Should cost about $250 to pull this miracle off this week. Pray Pray Pray we can work faster than usual here in Africa where snail pace time rules.

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Thank you Supporters

From the orphan, disabled, and HIV afffected children at Buweboya Vision Junior School we say ‘Yalama Noy’ ‘Thank you’ to our supporters!

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Day of Success and Miracles

Yesterday I was in the hospital for an infection and then today well I woke up to an email from a friend saying they have $2000 for me to buy a car. Then I get home after a long day and find out another $500 is coming from another friend for the car. So in ONE day I have enough to buy a car for Healing Eyes ministry in Uganda. Wow! Prayer does work people!!!!!

So today was a day of progress and smiles. The devil might have tried yesterday to tear my body apart with infections but today God gave me the strength to persevere and adapt to my environment.  The kids were extra happy to see me and are saying my name much more these days. There shyness is wearing off finally. I was able to teach a little english and math with some worksheets I brought along and the kids found them challenging to do. As I graded them they encircled me and nearly crushed me, but it was all in good spirits. What was cute was when I first got to school Jessica asked me right away if I would teach english yet. Ah what a sweetie.

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Later when I pulled the ukulele out finally they were so excited and again nearly mulled me by there shear numbers. There is about 257 kids there now, yikes!

The uniforms also came for my 30 needy kids and we had fun handing those out. The quality wasn’t what I expected but the boost in self esteem these kids received was well worth it.

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Then we closed off with a nice lunch for the 30 kids that was provided by Gaines Church and another private donor. Such a blessing to see some fruit to our labor.

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Tomorrow I hope to bring another 2 kids to the hospital, one is a strange head disease and another is a burned foot. Pray that goes well and we get some answers for these two strong kids

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