The Day I Met Namanya Daphine

In honor of {Throw Back Thursday}, this Thursday I am posting from our blog The Hutcheson Headline that we used while living in Uganda from 2012-2013. The post below was originally published by me on January 25, 2013. You can view it here if you’d like to see the original version.

For many years I have been sponsoring a little Ugandan girl named Daphine through Compassion International. Let me take you back to that wonderful day when I got to meet her for the very. first. time after years of letter writing…..

Last week we had the amazing privilege of meeting the little girl we sponsor through Compassion! I’ve been sponsoring Namanya Daphine since August of 2008, before Drew and I even got married. And since we’ve gotten married we’ve been sponsoring her together.

Daphine will be 12 years old in February and lives in a small town called Maziba, about 6-7 hours away from where we live in Kampala. Compassion gave us the option of either traveling to visit her for the day or paying for her and a companion to come to us for the day. With two small kids, 14 hours in the car didn’t sound very appealing so we decided to have Daphine come to us!

She arrived early Monday morning and my first thought was “She is SO beautiful!!” It was an incredible thing to meet her for the first time after 4 1/2 years of writing to her and only seeing/sending pictures. We were so excited! Daphine does not speak a lick of English so thankfully she had a translator with her. The translator told us that Daphine had never been out of her village and was shocked by the big city of Kampala! 

Meeting her for the first time!!
Isaiah was so excited about showing her all his toys, especially his magnetic cars.
Daphine brought us a sweet gift of fruit and a basket.

After some tea and cake at our house we took Daphine to the big mall downtown and took her to see a movie in the theater! We also had Isaiah with us and it was his first time seeing a movie in the theater too. He and Daphine were both completely glued to the screen the whole time. It was awesome to see their faces!!! =)

We had some gifts for her as well.
Opening up her gift bag!
She was so excited!
She loved her new shirt, a hand-me-down from my sister, Adelynn.
We got her a handwriting book to help her practice writing her letters.
She said her favorite gift was her English dictionary!

When we returned from the mall we enjoyed an African style meal that our house help prepared. Daphine had no idea how to use a fork so she used her hands! All too soon it was time to say goodbye. We really enjoyed our visit with Daphine and feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to meet her! She is a beautiful girl inside and out and we look forward to our continued communication with her now that we know her more personally!!

Here I was telling her translator to tell her how proud I was of her for being such a helpful, studious girl who loves Jesus!
Saying goodbye after a wonderful day!

If you are interested in sponsoring a child through Compassion click here to locate waiting children. Your tax-deductible contribution of just $38 a month connects a child living in poverty with a loving, church-based Child Sponsorship Program.
Your support provides:
  • Medical checkups, which often save lives
  • Nutritious food
  • Health and hygiene training
  • Educational assistance
  • Access to special services like surgeries and disaster relief
  • Mentoring to help children discover their incredible value as God’s children
  • Most important of all, your sponsored child will hear about Jesus Christ and be encouraged to develop a lifelong relationship with God.
When you sponsor a child, you’ll receive your child’s photo, personal story and a child sponsorship packet by mail in approximately 10 days.
When children find out they’ve been sponsored, the joy they feel is indescribable. Just knowing that someone across the globe cares means more than you can imagine. Sponsoring a child in need will profoundly change the future for your child, and will change your own life as well.

Madness at Mandela Stadium: Happy Birthday Drew!

In honor of {Throw Back Thursday}, this Thursday I am posting from our blog The Hutcheson Headline that we used while living in Uganda from 2012-2013. The post below was originally published by Drew on June 10, 2012. You can view it here if you’d like to see the original version.

Since today’s Throw Back Thursday also happens to be my sweet husband’s birthday, I thought it’d be fitting to post one of his old posts for today. Drew wrote this post after going to his first soccer game in Uganda almost exactly 3 years ago (June 10, 2012). 

I know Drew wishes he could be at a sporting event in Uganda for this birthday too. We all miss Uganda so much! But we’ll celebrate here in Florida and hopefully have just as much fun.

Happy Birthday, Drew!! I’m so thankful for the blessing you are in my life and look forward to celebrating many more birthdays with you! 

Madness At Mandela Stadium!

This past Saturday, my father-in-law (dad), and Janae (one of Amber’s little sisters) had an incredible experience: We went to a 2014 World Cup qualifier match at Mandela Stadium and watch the Uganda Cranes battle against the Senegal Lions! Some of my IJM colleagues joined us and we had an unforgettable time as it would be quite hard to forget an atmosphere as loud and electric as the below videos portray.
Jump Mzungu, jump!
*This is the penalty kick from dad’s view*

This was the video taken by dad (my father-in-law), Mark. Feel free to laugh as much as I do each time I watch this video.
*This is the same penalty kick, but from my view*

I get a kick (pun, pun) out of this video each time I watch it.

One ticket was 25,000 UGX, which is a little less than $10 USD. Wow, a professional sports event where the seating is first come, first served and tickets are $10 – can’t beat that!

IJM Colleagues
Colleagues and loyal Cranes fans reacting to a bad call.

At first I thought this was the team and I came to watch radical rugby.

Final score! A draw is always better than a loss.

A Boy And His Old Boo

Before Isaiah was born I bought him a soft and cozy blue blanket. And then, a few weeks later, I went back and bought him another of the same exact blanket, because I knew that if he ever became attached to it I’d want a back up.
And boy did he become attached to it. And boy was I thankful for that back-up!
Between 15 and 18 months old Isaiah really started to show an interest in his blanket. He started not being able to sleep without it, carrying it everywhere he went, and looping it on his finger while he sucked his thumb.
When he started being able to talk the word blanket came out as “boo”. The name stuck. When he was two years old we accidentally left one of his Boos at a grocery store in Uganda. Uganda is not really known for their stellar “lost and found” and that blanket was never to be seen again. Good thing we had a back-up! The back-up wasn’t quite as worn in but it satisfied him and he grew attached to it. When we got back to the U.S. we quickly got another identical blanket just in case anything should happen again. The new blanket got dubbed “New Boo” and the old blanket became “Old Boo.” New Boo mainly just sits in Isaiah’s bed most of the day while Old Boo gets all the love and attention!
{Just as a side note, so you don’t get wierded out, Old Boo is not an “it”. He is a “he”! Don’t really know how that happened but we always call him by “he” or “him”. He’s kinda like a person in our family.}
Old Boo and Isaiah are the best of friends. Old Boo is full of rips and tears, stained with dirt, and has a big hole right in the middle (Isaiah tried to iron him and then cried and cried because he “hurt” him!). To Isaiah, Old Boo signals hundreds of wonderful memories they have made together. His smell reminds him of the many adventures they have been on. His softness calms and relaxes Isaiah, bringing him comfort.
Old Boo goes with us EVERYWHERE! He rarely gets a bath because Isaiah can’t stand to part with him. He has been to Uganda, SeaWorld, and the dentist. Sometimes he eats food, sometimes he takes a nap in the car while he waits for Isaiah to get back, and sometimes he needs his own toys when playing.
I don’t know how long Isaiah will carry around Old Boo. We’ve been talking a lot about preschool starting in the Fall and how Old Boo is going to stay in his backpack all day. We’ll see how that goes! For now we’re letting Isaiah enjoy being a kid, and enjoy being a kid with one of his very best friends – Old Boo.
Isaiah and Old Boo go way back…. back to when Isaiah was just a few days old!
And a few months old.
Old Boo has been to Mackinac Island.
He has gotten his picture taken with Gigi.
He has snuggled with Daddy.
He has been bowling.
He has been to St. Augustine.
He has been to the airport.
And on an airplane.
He has been to London.
And to Uganda.
Where he got very very dirty almost every single day. Can you tell which Boo is the one Isaiah was using and which one was the spare?!?
On numerous occasions he has been a comfy pillow.
He has eaten chicken on a stick.
And read hundreds of books with Isaiah.
He was there when sweet Eloise Ann join our family. 
Isaiah even allowed her a little snuggle time with him!
He has been in many many many family pictures.
Old Boo has been through numerous car washes.
He has even helped us cut down a Christmas tree.
He has watched many movies with Isaiah.
Old Boo helped us celebrate the arrival of Baby Olive.
And was with us when we moved to Florida!
Even Olive is a fan of Old Boo!
He has been shopping with us many times – along with a purse and Jenny Dog.

He has helped Isaiah fall asleep in lots of random places.
Especially the car.
And he makes it into many pictures with friends.
Old Boo has been through many trials and tribulations and has remained strong. After almost 5 years in our family, it’s safe to say that Old Boo is VERY VERY well loved!!!
Here’s to many more years with Old Boo!!!

Throw Back Thursday: Pictures from Uganda

In honor of {Throw Back Thursday}, this Thursday I am posting from our blog The Hutcheson Headline that we used while living in Uganda from 2012-2013. The post below was originally published by Drew on January 19, 2013. You can view it here if you’d like to see the original version.
From 2012-2013 our family live in Kampala, Uganda where Drew served as a Church and Community Relations fellow with International Justice Mission. During this time, Drew got to experience first hand the life I grew up living as a missionary kid in Africa! The pictures below give you a little glimpse into our life while we lived in Uganda and what Drew’s day to day work with was like with IJM (pictures are narrated by Drew). We miss Uganda so much and can’t wait to go back overseas again if God should so lead us! 

Perhaps this is not the most appealing photo to begin with, but this is what a bathroom out in the village looks like. Make sure to bring your own toilet tissue!
We were at a field function on this particular day. As I was heading to wash my hands after eating, I could see this black line in the distance. As I approached it, I could see it was moving! It was a herd of ants crossing the path.
We didn’t finish our work in the field until late this particular evening. On our way back, I was driving us down all of these village dirt and bumpy roads. Along the way I was trying to  snap some pictures of the village nightlife and this boda guy made one of the photos.
You see a lot of cows out in the village, but usually only about one per a family. Cows are very expensive, but are one way people both feed their families and make money. When I saw this guy, only one thing came to mind: A spicy chicken sandwich from Chik-fil-a.
The night life, even in the village, can be pretty vibrant. This was a group of people who were cooking up some fried fish to sell. We couldn’t resist, so we stopped to buy some.

This fish was delicious!
Here’s part of the team I work with – some of our stellar IJM lawyers – reviewing some notes for the legal education program we were conducting this day.
This was at a church we were asked to speak at. On this Sunday, some of the youth did a dance a drama for the church.
This was at our last WMBR event for the year. Our office has team challenges each month called “WMBR” (We Measure By Results). We’re on the same team for the whole year and our last challenge which would determine which team came in first place for 2012 was a couple of rounds of bowling. The team I was on came in second place. Maybe next year we’ll take home the #1 ranking.
This is the team I work with everyday – great and amazing people! A couple of them were pregnant at the time and we were having an out-of-office lunch to celebrate their pregnancy.
Some more returning from the field late, more driving on Jinja Road at night. Jinja Road during the day can already make for quite the adventure while driving on. At night, it’s nearly outright dangerous.
We are big believers in measuring our performance so we know if our work is making a difference. I see these graphs each day and they motivate us all the more to work hard for our clients and those we’re serving. Our end results for 2012 are much higher than  what you see here as this graph was made half way through the year. We well exceeded our goals for 2012!
Sometimes you just never know what you’ll find around the office. I walked in to the kitchen to make some tea and found our mascot, until he became someone’s dinner.
Speaking of chicken for dinner, this is Uganda’s best chicken! In our project area, there’s a place we sometimes pass by called Namawajallo. They have several workers who cook all kinds of food and sell it for people making the long trip to Jinja. This chicken is always sauteed with salt or some seasoning and then grilled. It makes for some good and inexpensive eating.
Coffee is one of the main crops in Uganda, it’s actually their largest export. On our way to the field on this day we passed a coffee harvester who had picked the beans and was now letting them dry out.
Although this photo is not from the field, I couldn’t resist posting this amazing checkmate setup. For Christmas I asked Amber for a chess set and board and she found this amazing hand made soap-stone one in the local craft market. Although this was one of Amber’s first times playing chess, she fared well. In the end, however, my Knight and Rook conquered her King. For those who know chess notation, Am’s King is on G5 (the blue lion facing right).

House Tour – Our Home When We Lived In Uganda!

In honor of {Throw Back Thursday}, every Thursday I will be posting a post from our blog The Hutcheson Headline that we used while living in Uganda from 2012-2013. The post below was originally published by me on July 18, 2012 just after we had moved to Uganda and into our new apartment! You can view it here if you’d like to see the original version.

And, if you’d like to compare our house in Uganda to our house now you can see the house tour of our current house in Florida here.   =)

We are finally moved into our new house and boy does it feel good! After 2 months of living out of a suitcase, it feels incredibly wonderful to unpack and put things in their proper place! I don’t think we realized how ready we were to settle until we were actually able to!

The Lord really blessed us in giving us the place that He did! It’s a beautiful 4 bedroom home with lots of space for Isaiah. We are the first occupants so everything feels new and clean. It is in a great location- 5 minutes from the grocery store (with traffic), less than 10 minutes to Drew’s work, and close by to many other amenities and places we go often. Another bonus is that it is up and away from the main road a bit so we don’t get much “African dirt” in through the windows (a problem that many houses here have).

We still have a long way to go as far as “setting up” goes. We only have the bare bones in the furniture department and haven’t even begun to think about decorating yet! =) But, little by little we know we’ll be able to buy the things we need and begin to make this place feel like “home.” For now, we’re just thankful to have some place to call our own!

Here are some photos so you can get a visual picture of where we are living. 

Our bedroom.
Different angle of our bedroom.
Our bed (We had our bed frame made so that we could get an “American” size queen bed instead of a “Ugandan” size! Hoping to get it next week).
Master bathroom off of our room.
Guest bathroom
Guest bathroom.
Bedroom for our new baby!
New baby’s bedroom.
Isaiah’s room. We’re waiting for his bunk bed/trundle bed to be finished being made and then all these mattresses will be up off the floor (and ready for guests to come sleep in)!)
Isaiah’s room.
Zai’s room.
Front porch (and Isaiah playing with our house girl, Suzy). He loves Suzy!!!
Living room.
Living room.
Dining room/ living room.

Our washing machine!!! Yay!!
Another bathroom.
Our fourth bedroom which is now being used as a spot to put our deep freezer and a laundry room.
Back porch.

Well that’s it for now, folks! I’ll post more pictures once we get more furniture and things decorated a bit. =)

THE RAT: May He Rest In Peace

 In honor of {Throw Back Thursday}, every Thursday I will be posting a post from our blog The Hutcheson Headline that we used while living in Uganda from 2012-2013. The post below was originally published by me on August 18, 2012 . You can view it here if you’d like to see the original version

We have a rat in our house. We used to have two, but Drew beat one to death with one of my wooden spoons. I’ll get to that part of the story in a minute.

How do we know we have a rat in the house? Because we’ve seen it…several times. It squeezes it’s ugly body underneath our front door and roams around our house all night. Gross, I know.

Last week my family was staying with us. We told them about “the rat” (at this time we only thought we had one…little did we know) but none of us had seen it in a few days. My mom and dad were in the kitchen one evening doing the dishes. All of a sudden I hear my mom scream and start shouting something about a mouse. All of us immediately jumped up on the counter! The rat was running around in the window ledge near the drying rack where my mom was placing clean dishes!

What followed next was one of the most hilarious nights we’ve had in a long time! By the end of the night we were all sweating bullets as we first tried to trap the mouse in sticky glue, then underneath a bucket, and then finally beat him to death with a wooden spoon. All of us girls were up on the counter while the men were brave enough to be on the floor with the rat. Ten different suggestions all being offered at once, lots of screaming, and tons of laughing. Oh, and did I mention we got it all on video?

Viewer Discretion Advised 

As a side note: My favorite comment in this video is my mom frantically saying, “Just one minute. Just one minute. Can he climb up the cupboard????” =) Also, make sure you watch to the end of the video where you can clearly see how big the rat is!

At first I felt bad about killing the rat. But it really had to be done. It would have just kept coming back again and again. What we didn’t know at the time is that the rat has a brother! We just discovered this last night and this (in my opinion) is the most disgusting part of the story.

Last night I woke up at 3 am and decided to turn on our video baby monitor so I could see my sweet little angel sleeping peacefully. Instead, what I saw when I turned on the monitor was two tiny, glowing eyes staring straight at me, one long tail flapping in the air, and the ugly body of A RAT…..running around in Isaiah’s BED!!!!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes and immediately woke Drew up. But, as soon as we starting panning the camera around to try and follow the rat, he heard the subtle noise it makes and scampered off. I thought I might throw up! That disgusting creature on my baby’s bed! I had nightmares about that thing the rest of the night!

So, to end this rat’s tale I’ll just say that I no longer feel sorry for the rat who passed away last week (may he rest in peace). Rat #2 is getting a little too chummy with my son and I think he will soon join his brother in rat heaven. Honey, get the wooden spoon. We’ve got a rat to kill!! (Actually I think we’ll try a more humane way this time….maybe rat poison?)

Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite!! – A Tale of Mango Worms

In honor of {Throw Back Thursday}, every Thursday I will be posting a post from our blog The Hutcheson Headline that we used while living in Uganda from 2012-2013. The post below was originally published by me on November 25, 2012 . You can view it here if you’d like to see the original version

A few days ago I noticed several red bumps on Isaiah’s back. My first thought was chicken pox but they weren’t spreading and they weren’t in the “warm” areas of his body. They were covering mainly just his back with a few on his arms. We figured they must be some kind of spider bite and put cortisone on them.

Friday night, after Zai’s bath, I noticed that several of the “bites” had white heads forming on them and I thought they must have puss inside them. However, when I squeezed one open it wasn’t puss that came out….it was a WORM! Yup. A mango worm.

The mango worm goes by many names. It is technically a fly larva and it also goes by the names mango fly, putzi fly and tumbu fly depending on where you are. It is found throughout tropical areas of sub-Saharan Africa, but is more common in certain regions (Central Africa, for example).

The worm works like this:
1. Adult female worm lays a few hundred eggs into the soil OR onto some damp clothing that is hanging out to dry.
2. The larvae hatch and look for a host. Dogs work well. Unfortunately, so do humans (although, they are not commonly found as hosts compared to other animals).
3. The larvae penetrate the skin of the host and take up residence under the skin.
4. Then they grow and fatten up.
5. After 8-12 days, a boil will have formed.
6. It will itch and then get increasingly painful before it…
7. actually opens up so the worm can come out to play.
8. The worm then falls to the ground where it buries itself in order to go into its final stage of growth before turning into a fly.

Sounds gross, right? Just imagine popping these things out of your son’s back!!

After the first one came out (and I screamed for help and my mom, dad, and Drew all came running!) we decided to try and get the rest out. The best method of removing a mango worm is by suffocating them. You put vaseline and a band aid over the wound and the worm can’t breathe so it comes up to the surface for air. So, we covered Isaiah’s back with vaseline and band aids and waited.

A patient boy waiting while we applied the vaseline.


You can’t see them all but he had 8!

After about an hour we came back to pop all the worms out. They were definitely near the surface and most popped out pretty easily. We counted 8 worms. Most on his back, one on his arm, and one on his forehead!

The worm on it’s way out after we had squeezed it!


And…it’s finally out.


Happy boy who thought it was so cool he had bugs living inside him.

Isaiah is a brave little man. He hardly cried and didn’t complain (even though we’ve heard the itching while the worm is making it’s way to the surface for air is almost unbearable). Actually he thought it was kind of cool that there were “bugs” on his back. What a boy.

Our house girl irons all of our clothes for the specific reason of killing mango worms but somehow a piece of clothing got missed or Isaiah picked it up some other way. Either way we are hoping we are not going to find any new bumps and that his fun experience with mango worms is over for now. =)

Throw Back Thursday – A Birthing Experience Like No Other

In honor of {Throw Back Thursday}, every Thursday I will be posting a post from our blog The Hutcheson Headline that we used while living in Uganda from 2012-2013. The post below was originally published by me on September 6, 2012 . You can view it here if you’d like to see the original version.

Before I begin, I’d like to warn the reader that this post is LONG. Long and detailed. It’s about giving birth in a traditional Ugandan hospital and some details are a little graphic. If you want to take the time to read it you may want to make a cup of tea, grab a snack, and settle in for a long, but amazing read!

At 2:10 a.m. yesterday morning I heard someone softly calling, “Amber.” I realized it was Mary*, trying to wake me up. She brought me into the room where her and Amelia* were sleeping and I see that Amelia’s water has broken. It’s time to have a baby!

Let me back up a little and give you some background to this story. A week and a half ago we heard about a young woman named Amelia who was 8 and some months pregnant and needed a place to stay. Some of you may recognize her story because we just wrote about her in our most recent newsletter three days ago, asking for prayer for her delivery. Just in time! Amelia’s boyfriend had abandoned her and her family had rejected her. We offered our home to her and her best friend Mary. We told her we would take her in until she gave birth and could get on her feet again, find a place to live, and hopefully get a job.

We had a great week with Amelia and Mary. I was able to share with Amelia so much about giving birth. No one had told her anything (which is common in this culture) and she had no idea what to expect. I told her what contractions feel like, that her water may break, and what it would feel like when it was time to push. I was also able to share with her about breastfeeding which she planned to do. She has no access to the internet. Couple that with living in a culture where people do not openly talk about sex, giving birth, and other touchy topics and Amelia really had no idea how to give birth or take care of her baby afterwards. I’m so glad I had the time I did to pour into her.

Alright, back to yesterday morning. Amelia was standing beside her bed gushing fluid. (I’m glad I had warned her about the possibility of her water breaking!). We decided to get our things together and get ready to head to the hospital. Amelia’s contractions started right away and quickly became strong and close together. By the time we left for the hospital an hour later they were only 4 minutes apart. Drew and I took Amelia while Mary stayed home with Isaiah. At 3:30 a.m. the road to the hospital was empty and wide open. What would have taken us 30 minutes in Kampala traffic took less than 10. Praise the Lord!

This is the hospital we went to.

Let me stop here and give you a little background on giving birth in Uganda. There are places where you can give birth similarly to how you would in the U.S. However, we were only able to bring Amelia to a more local (although modern by the standard of many Ugandans) hospital. Also, we couldn’t get her a private room so we had to bring her to the general ward. When you go to give birth at a hospital like this you must bring all your supplies with you. The 6 things you are required to bring are: a basin (to hold all your supplies and wash the baby in), some cotton gauze (to clean up your blood afterwards), a razor blade (to cut baby’s cord with), a plastic tarp called a “cavara” (to lay on the birthing table), gloves (for the nurses on staff), and bleach (to clean up afterwards). Very different from birthing in the U.S.!

When we got to the hospital we found that it was mostly shut down with the exception of a few lights. No one was at the front desk and we couldn’t even find anyone to tell us where to park. Finally Drew found a random patient in the hospital lobby who gave him some information. He dropped Amelia and me off in the lobby while he parked. The place was completely empty except for a homeless man sleeping on the bench behind us. While we waited for Drew we saw a huge rat scurry across the floor (did I mention this is a HOSPITAL?). Only the beginning of what I was about to see! By the time Drew returned, we figured out where the labor and delivery ward was, and we walked up to the sixth floor (yes Amelia had lots of stairs to climb), Amelia was in a lot of pain.

When we finally got to the sixth floor we started seeing people sleeping everywhere on the ground. The hallways were lined with sleeping people- men, women, and children. They were the families of the women giving birth- waiting for the birth to happen so they could see their loved ones again. It was quite the sight to see.

Not the best picture but you can see families waiting on the ground outside the ward. This family was actually awake but most were sleeping.

Once we got to the labor and delivery ward we had to check in. This consisted of Amelia giving her name, town, and tribe to the attendant. We had forgotten to bring the bleach so the lady told us we needed to buy some from her. Ok, for 4,000/= (less than $2) I was willing to do that. But when she went to look for some in the hospital store room she realize they were out. Go figure! We decided that Drew would run back to the house later and get some.

After checking Amelia in, they informed me that no one would be allowed to go into the delivery room with her. Only she was allowed. After a rather long and heated argument with the attendant trying to convince her to let me stay with Amelia, I was forced to wait in the waiting room (and by waiting room I mean the hallway where Drew and I had to sit on the cement floor next to the sleeping relatives).

The hallway where we waited.

I could tell Amelia was nervous but she was trying to be so brave. Between strong contractions she told me she would be ok and that I could go out and wait. She had really wanted me to be with her for the birth but it just wasn’t possible. Amelia told me, “these people have no care”. And it was true. The nurses and other workers didn’t have any compassion at all…even to a women in heavy labor! They treated Amelia very poorly and harshly. I felt so bad leaving her by herself with them.

It was now about 5 o’clock a.m. and Drew and I were waiting in the hallway. While waiting we saw many interesting things. We saw a nurse walk by carrying a newborn baby with a lady trailing behind her – dripping blood from her placenta which was hanging out of her. Yep. And no one came to clean up the blood until much much later. We saw a pregnant lady walking around in a soaking wet dress. Her water had broken and she had nothing to change into (no hospital gowns provided here!). We saw many ladies walking out of the ward having only given birth 24 hours or less ago. They were carrying their babies wrapped in huge, thick comforters (Many Ugandans believe that newborns need to be wrapped heavily no matter how hot it is outside. I’ve seen many a newborn sweating bullets in a snowsuit in 80+ degree weather! =). About 5:45 the hospital shut off the power and we all sat in the dark for an hour while we waited for the sun to rise.

It’s hard to see but the lady on the right had just given birth and was dripping blood as she walked out. You can see the blood stain on the back of her yellow skirt.

About six a.m. a nurse came to call me. Amelia was about to give birth and I needed to bring another tarp and some baby clothes to her. I was allowed to bring these things back into the birthing room. What a sight that was! The birthing room was a medium sized room with about 20 beds lined up against the walls. The beds had no sheets on them. Instead, each woman’s tarp was lining her bed. Some sheets were hanging up to separate the beds from the general check-in area. There were more than 20 women back there- some on beds but many laying on their tarps on the floor. Some were naked, others still fully clothed. Many screaming. This is where Amelia was about to give birth.

When I got back to the “waiting room” Drew decided to run back home to get the bleach. Once he came back with that I was able to go back into the birthing room to bring it to her. This time I saw Amelia’s “bed.” Her designated spot was her yellow tarp on the floor. Unfortunately she was not given a bed, although at that time I assumed they would move her to a bed before she gave birth. She didn’t even have a mat. Just the cement floor. My heart broke. I could tell immediately that she was in the transition phase of delivery. The transition phase is the point right before the mother begins pushing. During this stage the mother often becomes restless, irritable, discouraged, and confused. It’s the point at which she feels like completely giving up and needs the most emotional, verbal, and physical support. Amelia told me, “I’m going to die.” I knew her baby would be coming out soon. Thankfully I was able to spend a few minutes with her during this phase to encourage her that she would not die, that she was near the end, that her pain would soon be over, and that she would soon be holding her sweet new baby. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t let me stay back there with her. How I wished I could have stayed to comfort and encourage her more!

We waited some more until finally a little after 7 a.m. a woman who was visiting her pregnant friend walked by and said, “Yours has delivered.” “Excuse me?” I said. “Your girl. She has delivered.” Oh, I guess Amelia had her baby! I guess that means I can go back there and see her? I had no idea what to do! I was allowed to finally go back into the birthing room and see Amelia. I almost passed out when I did.

Amelia was on a bed (although she told me she had delivered the baby on the ground and then they had transferred her to a bed) and a nurse was sewing her up. The nurse was incredibly rude. Amelia was wincing in pain, convulsing a little, and involuntarily closing her legs. The nurse slapped her legs back open and said, “You keep quite. You stop crying. You hold still.” She was awful to her. What she was using to sew Amelia up looked like a small hook off of Captain Hook and it didn’t look sterile at all. I doubt whether Amelia had had any anesthetic either. The nurse was sewing relentlessly, roughly rubbing cotton to remove her blood from down there, and even stuffing things back inside her. I seriously almost lost my breakfast. I felt awful for Amelia but there was nothing I could do. Instead I stared down at the end of the bed and suddenly realized there was a baby there- wrapped up and completely covered in blankets. I took a peak and it was a BEAUTIFUL baby boy!! Light brown skin and a head FULL of soft, loose dark curls. Absolutely gorgeous!! I cried. He was perfect.

I quickly scooped him up and held him while Amelia finished being stitched up. As soon as she was done they made her get off the bed (someone else was in line to use it), and walk over to another room where she could rest for a while. This room was filled with bare mattresses laying on the floor and was crowded with many women with new babies. Amelia had to make her own bed (with sheets she had brought from home) and then was finally able to lay down, rest for a while, and nurse her sweet baby boy. Right before I left them to take a nap I saw a cockroach run along the edge of the bed.

Amelia’s boyfriend’s mother, grandmother, and surprisingly the boyfriend himself all showed up to see her and the new baby. We were so glad they all showed such support. Amelia gave birth at around 7 a.m. to a baby boy weighing 3.4 kilograms. By 7:45 she had been forced to walk to a different room. By 3 she was released to go home. I am amazed at how well she has done. She has sure been a trooper!

Now Amelia is safe and sound at our house. She’s had a clean shower, the baby finally got some clothes and a diaper on, and they are both sleeping soundly. What an adventure yesterday was! Amelia told me today that the lady giving birth next to her lost her baby. Three minutes after the little baby girl was born she passed away. Amelia told me the nurses said the baby was “too tired from birth” and so died. Also, a mother giving birth to twins lost both of her babies in the room where Amelia delivered. This is not at all uncommon to see in a hospital like the one she was in. We are praising the Lord that both Amelia and her baby are safe and healthy.

Such a cutie!

We’ve had some encouraging news that the boyfriend may be willing to take care of Amelia as soon as she’s recovered enough to travel to his place. But, as of now, Amelia wants nothing to do with him and says she’ll never go back to him.

Please keep Amelia and her new baby in your prayers as they have an uncertain and bumpy road ahead of them. Amelia told me today “God is good.” Yes, yes he certainly is.

He is going to make such a great big brother when our newest addition finally arrives!
Isaiah and the new baby.

2015 Update: Amelia and her little boy are doing well. We keep in contact still and Drew and I look forward to seeing them when we visit Uganda again in the future! Amelia currently has a job and though her son lives with other family members, she sees him regularly. At 2 1/2 years old he’s still the cutest little thing!