Saturday, February 05, 2011

January Update Letter

OKIRING JANUARY UPDATE

Hello all from Calgary, Canada. Thought I'd update you on the last 2 months as there has been a lot going on.

First of all, I usually like to save the best news for last, but in this case it needs to be the headline!

We are very excited to announce that our family of two will soon be three! We are expecting our firstborn at the end of July!! This was the other major factor in the decision to return back to Canada. We both want the baby to be born here. I am now 14 weeks along and feeling very good. It feels great to let you in on the news at last!

Now for the rest...About Patrick's Grandmum, the woman who raised him and is very special to both of us!

In early December, Patrick's grandmother complained of severe pain so we brought her to Kampala for treatment. It was there they discovered she had kidney stones. She was quite badly off as she was unable to keep anything down and became severely dehydrated. She was admitted to hospital for a few days where they were able to give her pain medication and restore her fluids. During that time, one of us had to stay with her at the hospital each night she was there. First me, then Patrick, then Patrick's mother came to town and stayed a night. So Grandmum was very cared for. As she had passed one of the stones, she was able to be discharged until we could make a plan to remove the other stones still in the kidney and urethra.

Thankfully, she was feeling good enough to attend the wedding of Patrick's sister, Angela. So, we all celebrated in true Ugandan style! Lots of ululating and dancing! :)

Knowing that Grandmum was homesick for the village we all planned to go back for Christmas. We found out that a urologist from Nairobi, Kenya, comes once a month with equipment to blast the kidney stones so we decided she would be ok until then. She left early and we joined everyone on Christmas Eve. We brought Christmas lights and strung them up on the veranda and made it very festive. We ate lots of food, smoked beef, chicken, roasted pork, matooke (boiled or steamed green banana), rice, atape (millet bread) and of course soda! Fanta and Coke being the most popular!

They even brought out Grandmum's local brew to enjoy, millet beer!

We travelled back to Kampala on the 27th (my birthday and my sister's too!), so that I could prepare to travel and have quality time with Patrick before leaving for Canada. We had birthday dinner at one of our favorite restaurants and then I bought a HUGE slice of chocolate cake from the I (Love) New York Kitchen.

The evening I was to leave, I was surprised by a dozen or so relatives, including Patrick's Aunt Jane who flew from the UK for a surprise visit,  who escorted us all the way to Entebbe to see me off. We first stopped to eat roasted fish on the beach and then travelled together to the airport. I wish I had a picture of all of them but in all the rush I never got my camera out. :(

Saying good-bye to Patrick was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. It was a long, lonely flight. I was happy to finally see my friends, the Amos family, who picked me up from the airport. I had a hot bath, and went with them to enjoy New Year's Eve at another friend's place, the Elders. I didn't make it past 8pm. They let me crash in their guest bedroom and crash I did! The next day, my mom picked me up and I spent a few wonderful days catching up with her.

So, I have settled in quite quickly. I kind of had to as I began work less than a week after I'd arrived! Everyone has been so amazing! Friends, family, co-workers. I am so grateful for you all! Thank GOD for the Scott family who has put me up again in their guest room and made me part of their family.

Thank GOD also for Skype. I have been able to see and talk to Patrick on the computer for free which is much more than we've had before.

We are now working on a plan to either get Patrick here on a visa to work temporarily or at the very least, to come on a visitor's visa to be present for the birth.

An update on Grandmum's situation: The doctor who comes once a month to Kampala said their equipment was not sufficient for the size of her stones and she will need to be treated in Nairobi. This means airfare and hotel stay for Patrick, his grandmum and an escort as well as the cost of treatment. I am grateful I came back when I did to work but please pray we can sort out the finances between the various family members so as to get Grandmum the proper treatment she needs.

If you are so inclined, please pray for us:

-Pray for Patrick's grandmum and her health
-Pray that Patrick does not get overwhelmed but has support from friends and family around him
-Pray for the health of our unborn child and myself
-Pray for us to have favour with Canadian immigration when it comes to visas
-Pray for us to get direction on the future ministry we long to do in Uganda and the means to make it happen

Thank you all for your continued interest in the journey we are taking to make a difference in the Ugandan communities we are part of. We couldn't do it without your support.

Much love,
Nicole, Patrick and Baby