Saturday, August 24, 2013

Nelson's Death

I HATE when my phone rings in the middle of the night. Like, hate it in the gives me mini-panic attacks way. With babies as medically fragile as ours can be, things can just change so fast. And when my phone starts ringing, it usually means something's changed.

When I went home last night, Nelson was doing so much better. He had just gotten his antibiotic injection, was grinning again, and was seemingly out of the woods. 

But when my phone rang, it was an auntie telling me he couldn't breathe. I rushed up there, totally tingling from being awakened from sleep. I found him struggling, gasping for breath. We rushed to the clinic and he still looked like death. But he was given some high doses of IV antibiotics and started on oxygen, and at about 4 he was looking bright and alert again.

Sweet Nelsie boy
Then, out of nowhere he spiked a high fever and from that point on we knew he wouldn't make it. He looked horrible and nothing they tried was working. We were all set and ready to refer him to Zimba hospital, but as we were about to start off he died. And our hearts are broken.

On the car ride rushing him to the clinic, I just kept saying out loud to God, "You are good. I know you can heal. You are good. I know you can heal. You are good. I know you can heal." I know God didn't need to hear those affirmations from me, but I guess I needed to remind myself that He can heal, and even when he doesn't heal on earth, He's still good. Over and over again I have to remind myself that. I hate that I forget that, that I'm so quick to start questioning what He's doing and why.

The craziest thing is that Nelson, our premature little baby boy died today. And not an hour after I had dropped him off at the mortuary, a new premature baby boy, born at around 7 months gestation, arrived named Malachi. He's in the incubator now.

God surely does give and take away. And He's always good. 
Malachi, one week old

Friday, August 23, 2013

Pray for Nelson

Hello guys. Nelson is struggling right now. He's four months old now but was born quite prematurely and has never had the most developed lungs. He's been on antibiotic injections for five days to treat a horrible cough and continues to get worse. His breathing is very labored and he is in distress. He's on oxygen now. I'm waiting until it turns light outside to take him to Zimba, a nearby hospital about 30 minutes away.  He's being referred there from our clinic where we are tonight. Please pray hard for healing- we need a miracle for this little guy. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Milestone Monday, at last

Well I think it goes without saying that since I haven't posted a Milestone Monday in roughly three months, everyone's done a little changing around here. Hopefully I'll get caught up on all their accomplishments, big and small, over the next few weeks. For now, here's a little of what's been going on with our gang.

We have quite a few new sitters in the last three months. Here are some I happen to have pictures of right now:



It's hard to believe these five babies are sitting out with the big kids now. Raymond, Petra, Jeremy, Candace, and Chilala.
And in case you needed a close up of Raymond, here he is in all his glory. If you're having a hard time believing that's him, you're in good company. He shocks us daily.

These darlings have moved over to Haven 2 now and are walking or at least taking steps:
Emmaneul big eyes
Joy, never without a smile on her face these days
And her twin, Emmanuel, who also is happy as a clam.
These babies are not just walking but RUNNING now!
Christopher, the shortest walker we've ever had.
Irene, a total wild woman now
Rita is all over the place now, walking like a champ.
These new standers will be walking any day now. A few steps here and there for now...
Sweet Deacon, the gentlest giant
I wish I could show you how hard Memo claps for herself after she does this. You would melt.
Owen always looks like he's dancing when he stands up by himself
Aaron, so proud of himself and talking a million miles a minute
Anna baby is still at a 4-step record, but she thinks she's the cat's meow.
Steve's finally figured out life is so much more fun when you get off your bootie and go somewhere!
And what would a Milestone Monday be with an update on Joel. Someday soon I hope to be able to post a video of him doing all he can do , but for now, just trust me when I tell you he's working like a champ to walk. He smiles and giggles all the time, except when screaming at other kids for trying to take his toys. He can do everything in language class, and has added nose and tummy to his repertoire when asked about his body parts. He grunts something that sounds an awfully lot like "God" when asked who made him, although I'm not quite ready to admit that yet. He's just a different child. 
Look how handsome he is in those new kicks and braces.
He loves to hate them. His brothers, that is. Here they are "helping" him do his laps for therapy. He's actually singing in this picture. I look at this and sometimes start sobbing when I remember how far he's come by the grace of God.
Here he is climbing onto that wagon BY HIMSELF. It's beautiful to me that he even had that idea. And sometimes when he pushes the walker into the wall because he gets distracted and I won't help him steer, he looks at it and gets frustrated because he knows it's supposed to move but he can't make it. He's a smart little thing.
And lastly, here are some totally unrelated updates:
Helen had her first (and hopefully last) taste of cornrows. 
It's just that we can't figure out what to do with that hair of hers.
Well that's a bit better.

Nelson and Rodwell can usually be found just like this, two old men just shooting the breeze.
 They are typically just grinning at each other, but here they look possessed. 
Cathy's developed this nasty little habit of sticking out that little finger and making some nasty threats. It's kind of hilarious and kind of horrible at the same time.
Georgie keeps losing teeth and keeps being proud of it :).
Chabonwa will pull up and cruise now! Progress!
I've waited for months and months to get strawberries from my garden. I even bought an entire mosquito net to protect these babies. So far I've had four and savored every bite. Honestly, they're the only reason I wanted a garden.
I hope you all have a great Monday! 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A New Home for Kurt and Jessie

A few months back, I wrote about Kurt and Jessie going back to their village. As is routine, I went out to visit them when they’d been home about a month to see how they were adjusting and make sure all was well.

We found the kids to be happy, healthy, and thriving. You could tell they were eating plenty and genuinely loved being together and with their parents. It was also immediately evident how hard their lives are. Wind and Charity, their parents, are unable to work because of their blindness, and so they have very little. Their four kids living with them, Lushomo, Choolwe, Kurt, and Jessie, are 8, 6, 4, and 2. These kids do everything for their parents and have grown up fast.

When you live in a third world country, you get very accustomed to seeing need all around you. As much as possible, I've learned to no longer compare how people live here with what we have in the States. It’s not the same and won’t ever be, nor do I think it should be. There is beauty in the simplicity of life here, in functioning in a world with little excess or waste. When I first visited different places in Africa, I would look at one-room mud huts and no plumbing and no latrine even and be shocked at how little people had. Now I don’t see the lack of material things as much as I see the family, what kind of animals they have around, what kind of community surrounds them, how close they are to a water source, etc.

But even after years of village visits and seeing former kids of ours living in pretty dire straits, I was shocked by seeing Kurt and Jessie’s home. Most people don’t believe me, but it gets COLD here in Zambia in our winter. There are even mornings where there is frost on the ground. So my heart just hurt as I saw their house with unfinished walls leaving too much space for wind to whip through and make them cold at night. There was no door on the house. Because of the cold, they were sleeping with a fire inside the hut with a grass roof, a recipe for disaster for so many reasons. The clothes we had sent them home with not a month before were already nibbled through by rats. There was plenty of love in their home, but it isn’t how people should have to live. They needed a door and finished walls and a place where they were safe from fire.
They worship at the Tara Church of Christ, and the preacher happened to be the man who had ultimately helped me find their house that day. We talked a lot about their need and how the church is already helping them in many ways. I told him I really wanted us to help do something about their housing situation, and he said he’d pray that I would. I talked with my interns about it on the way home, and I got home and talked to Kathi, Jason, and Cintia (Kathi’s son and daughter-in-law who are the house parents at Eric’s House. More on them later J) about it, too. I just couldn’t get that image out of my mind, and I didn’t want them to spend any more nights cold.
The interns, Coco, Kamri, Kelly, and Hanna. I have trouble looking directly in the sun :)
I’m kind of a dreamer. I can see something I want to have happen, I can even start making some plans towards that end, but when it comes down to it I’m not the best at executing. I knew I wanted to build them a house, but didn't even know where to begin. Jason said he’d go out there with me to survey it a bit, and from that point on it was his baby. He gathered his troops, he got all the boys working on it when they could, and he made happen that which had been on my heart and mind. I’m forever grateful to him for that
Jason and George on a working day
Kathi hanging curtains Cintia made.
Cintia's job was a little harder than mine!
We met with the headman in their village, and he did so much to help us. Many members from their church family and community came and joined us in our work those two weeks. The first day we cleared the land and dug and laid the foundation. After that, the walls slowly came up, the roof was put on, and then the floors were laid. The guys worked tirelessly, while us girls went out every few days or so! We had a little meal for all those who had joined in our efforts, and we planted two trees, a mango and an avocado, that we hope will bear fruit for their family forever.
Clearing the land

Laying the first brick
Helping Kurt lay bricks

Working with Agnes, a fellow church member
Florence helping me plant the mango tree
Praying over the avocado tree
Kurt helping carrying some wood
Don't mind me. I'm just stair-steppin' some water from a stream to make cement.
See those drums in the back of my truck? I filled one!
I can’t tell you how great it was to see how many people came together to love and help this family. Wind has called me so many times since they moved in thanking us for the gift, and their gratitude is completely humbling to us. We who have so much must find ways to keep helping those who don’t have enough.
Michele Broadway got to come help one day!
A prayer of blessing for this family and their new home
You, my faithful supporters, allow me to help families like these. You make it financially possible for us to reach those in need, and not only are we grateful, but this family is, too.
A beautiful family with a beautiful home