Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sauda


"Hello. My name is Nakku Sauda and I am 16 years old. I came from Kyambogo Kayunga district. My mother separated with my father when I was 4 yrs old. My father was a peasant and not able to support me, my siblings or my mother. My mother ran away  in the middle of the night one night and left my siblings with my father. But she took me with her. My mother could not stand the bad behavior from my father. He would beat her and mistreat her. My father was drunkard. And he would come back home in the middle of the night and beat her and leave her bruised. My mom could hardly breathe and walk the next morning. So she couldn’t take the bad treatment any longer. She ran away with me.

So when we left, we decided to settle with my mother’s elder brother at his house. But he had no job so he could not support us. His house was also really bad. It was leaking and falling in on us. We could hardly get sleep because when it would rain, it would end up soaking us on the bed. He told us we were responsible for buying our own food, and at this point, my mom had no land for us to grow any food and she had no job or money to buy any from other people. So we went sleepless nights without food. It was very hard for us to have something to eat. And my mom’s brother could sometimes end up not coming back for days so we were alone there by ourselves.

One day, my aunt came to pick me up and told my mother that she was taking me back to school and that she would offer support to pay for my schooling. So my mother told me to go and live with her because my mother thought she was going to help me. But my auntie had hidden agendas and plans as to taking me with her that we did not know about before. I went to live with her at her house. After some time, I asked her about when I was going to go to school. I just lived as a servant girl and helper around the house. At her house I used to work very hard day and night doing all the work - in the garden, fetching water, and everything. I was young but could carry heavy jerricans of water, go to lake and wash, do all the housework, cooking, etc. I almost became a slave. But I kept asking my aunt when I was going to school like she promised. I really wanted to go to school and get some education so that I could have a future for myself. So she told me to wait for the first harvest season when the crops would come in and she could sell some of the crops and get some money to send me to school. When the first season came, we got high yields. But when she sold it, she got a lot of money but she did not take me to school. She kept saying be patient.

I cried day and night. Whenever I went to bed, I would lie in bed and cry myself to sleep. I was so tired from working all the time, and not being loved or appreciated. I could not stand it seeing other kids going to school when I was doing work at home for my aunt. I always wished that one morning I could wake up and go to school. That one day would come in my life when I cold go to school with all the other kids. I always wanted to hold a pencil and a pen and a book, but that did not happen in my life.
I felt so alone and without any hope. I didn’t see any way forward in my life. I saw no future for myself. I felt so unwanted and uncared for. I was now motherless, fatherless, and unloved. No one wanted me in this entire world. I was completely useless. I was only good for servant work. That was the only reason anyone wanted me.

One day, I was sitting behind the house washing clothes when my auntie walked in with an elder man. She introduced this man to me as my husband. I was so shocked terrified and scared because I really didn’t know what to do. I was very young and didn’t know I could marry. I didn’t want to. He scared me. So that night I stole some money from my auntie to go back to my mother to see if she can help save me from my auntie and this man who she had gotten for me to marry. Reaching my mother’s house, I met her when she had another man. She had already remarried and was doing very bad with her health. She talked to me and said that she now had HIV and she didn’t know where she had gotten it from, but she suspected it was from the new husband. So because my mom could not support herself, and was not doing well at all physically, she could not take me in to live with her. She told me  leave right away and go to my father’s house.

When I reached my father’s house, he took me in and was willing to help me. He paid for my school for one term. I finally got to go to school. I was so happy and thought I was going to be ok. But he started drinking and became an alcoholic and could hardly think right anymore towards the end of the school term. So he didn’t want me to live in his house anymore. He began mistreating me and calling me names. One night he kicked me out of the house. He said that he did not want to even see my face ever again. I had nowhere to go at this point. I didn’t know where to turn.

So because of all that I was going through, one morning I walked to some man and I asked him if he could help me with some money so I can go and look for help somewhere else. So this man turned me down for the first time and said he didn’t have any money. He was an 18-year-old boy.

So, I walked and went to live with another auntie of mine. She was a neighbor that we knew about. I stayed with her that night because I had no other choice. So a week later I went back to the same boy if he had any money yet. He said that he had money and that I should go with him to his house to get it. So I went with him to his house. When I got to the house, there were a lot of other guys there at the house. They grabbed me, caught me by force, locked me in the room, and raped me.

So when they let me out of house, I felt so guilty and so very ashamed. I was bleeding and my skirt was torn. So I ran back to my auntie’s house. I was crying so hard and the tears were just running down my face. I did not know what to say and I did not know how to explain it. I just bathed and then I went to bed to sleep. I kept quiet about what had happened because I felt ashamed to speak about this to my auntie. So after one month I realized that I missed my period. It was not shocking to me, because I did not know that if you miss your period there could be something wrong. But after missing my periods the second month, I decided to share with my auntie. My auntie suggested taking me for a checkup at a nearby clinic. And the results said that I was pregnant.

When I heard the news about the pregnancy, I didn’t know what to do. I almost fainted in shock that I had gotten pregnant from those guys. I started getting very scared because I now knew I was going to have to give birth. I know of many women that have died during childbirth, so I was terrified. I did not want to die. I could not believe that I was pregnant when so young, only 15 years old. I knew that I could also die trying to abort, so therefore, I wanted keep the pregnancy. But then I had questions and doubts – Who is going to help me when am pregnant? Where am I going to stay?  Where will I give birth? Where will support come from? Who is the father of my baby? etc. I went back home with my auntie from the clinic. My auntie told me she could not keep me any more now because I was pregnant. So she kicked me out of the house, so I left. And I went back to my mother to see if she could help me in this condition. Of course, my mom was very disappointed in me and angry with me. And could hardly speak. She chased me and told me to leave. She denounced me and said, “You are no longer my daughter. Go to your father; I do not want you anymore.”

When I went to my father for help, the same thing happened. So I ran to the pastor in the village for help. So pastor and the woman counselor for our village had to speak to my mom and see if they can reconnect us and if they could get her to take me back in. My mother still wanted nothing to do with me, so the pastor said that he had some other people who might be able to help me. Pastor works hand in hand with Kupendwa Ministries in our village. They do a maternity clinic there and he talked to them to see if they could take me in and help me.

So, praise the Lord, I came in to Kupendwa. I was so terrified for my life, but Mommy Amy talked to me and told me that she was going to help me and make sure that I was ok and that I had the best medical care and support during childbirth. They have counseled me and supported me through everything. They give me everything that I could possibly need and I have never been more blessed in my entire life. I am now doing very well. I gave birth to a baby girl, Liberty, on the 4th of July, 2012. Mommy Amy was actually the one to deliver baby Liberty in her van on the way to the clinic. I am so thankful for Kupendwa Ministries and for Mommy Amy.

Kupendwa has also helped in counseling me and my mother and we are now back on better terms with each other. I even can go and visit and she has seen and held my baby. My father also loves my baby and is trying his best to be a father to me.

Thank you for all of the prayers and support. I do not know where I would be today without the help of Kupendwa Ministries and Mommy Amy. I am so, so very grateful for the help and support. I just knew I was going to die somewhere in the village giving birth, but I am alive and my baby is alive and we are both doing very well. I am so thankful. May God bless you." 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

PJs and Tickle Time!


Left to Right: Christine (8), Donna (1), Amina (3 ½), Josiah (2), Joy (2), Patrick (2), Safina (3).














Tuesday, March 20, 2012

...more Donna's birthday pix

Just a few more pictures of Donna's birthday party :) 
I wanted Donna to at least be the star for one post since it was her birthday...
but her brothers and sisters were so amusing during this celebration 
that I just had to put up a few pix of them too :)

she was just a little scared of the sparkler candles! 
guess I should have thought about that beforehand!

helping with the scary candles :)
(of course they still couldn't blow them out, so I tried...and continued struggling! in the end, the candles finally stopped sparkling!)

trying to eat the melted ice cream with wooden sticks!
Amina kept having to lick it off of her feet :)

by the time he finished, there was definitely more 
on his stomach and diaper than in his tummy

Amina really just enjoyed stirring her ice cream "soup"! 
as much as they struggled, the boys at least attempted with the sticks...

"does that work?? you getting that last drop??"

"Ok, you talked me into it..."
(Amina just gave up on the stick and stirring 
and went straight to her fingers :) )

oh, happy birthdays :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

My little Donna turned 1 :)

I can hardly believe it. Almost one year ago, she was placed in my arms so malnourished and sick that I wasn't sure she would make it. I am so thrilled that today she is happy, healthy, walking and talking (and of course, her favorite word is no!) Thank you, Jesus, for this little life...and for blessing mine with hers. All glory and praise to You alone!


And yes, I am the same person who used to take cake classes and bake all the time and decorate beautiful cakes - well, attempt anyway! NOW...I grab the closest fork, dip the end in the icing and try my best to make legible letters and numbers on the top of cupcakes :) Then I buy individual ice creams in town that melt before we make it home - but all of the children didn't seem to mind licking and drinking their ice cream. And is it terrible that the birthday party had to happen 4 days after the actual birthday date??!? Oh, life! Thankfully, Donna didn't seem to mind too much :)  Oh, and bless you, Mom, for sending sparkler candles - they were a hit! It's the little things :)
Don't ask me what Amina is doing in the background - 
Aunt Dede suggested she be an opera singer???

the cuteness





I love you, my little Caterpillar. 
Happy 1st Birthday.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Kupendwa Ministries is on Facebook!
As this is my personal blog, I write alot about my personal life, thoughts, experiences, and of course my children and family, but I also write about ministry updates and activities going on. Sometimes though, I am extremely slow at getting all the new stuff up on here - life can get busy :) But I have help updating our facebook page, so if anyone is not following Kupendwa Ministries on facebook, please become a "fan" and keep up with all that the Lord is doing for His kingdom through His ministry here at Kupendwa.
Thanks so much - may God bless you!

Sunday, March 4, 2012


The smell hits me in the face as soon as I walk in the door. Her bed is the first one inside the door of the maternity ward. It is placed strategically on the opposite side of the room from the nurses station. The stench is so strong and horrible that it causes nausea when standing even 10 feet away from the bed.

It’s the beginning of November. Jesus walked me into the lives of a few special women in the hospital maternity ward. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Or rather, what Jesus was getting me into. Yes, while I was in the hospital with Sandra, God opened my eyes to many needs, many situations, and many heartaches, and He specifically opened my eyes to the “c-section women”. These women who have undergone the “operation”, as they call it.

And as I am helping these women, I see in their faces the precious face of Miss Mary, my adopted grandmother. As I pray and serve these women, I see the face of Meme, my biological grandmother. Just this summer, I was hit with two precious grandmothers fighting cancer. Meme’s reappeared this past summer after decades of dormancy; Miss Mary has been fighting her cancer since she was 19 years old. Cancers getting worse; bodies becoming so weak. Both hit me so hard. Both have rocked my world. These women of faith play such major roles in my life.

I could not be there. God had me here. And so, as I placed my hand upon Fatina’s feverish forehead, I almost felt Miss Mary’s face under my palm. As I supported Justine while we walked to the latrines, I could see me supporting my own grandmother as she hobbled to the bathroom. I could only pray that as I was here for these…that someone was there for them. That someone held their frail arms and served them food and cried with them as the fears and pain threatened to overwhelm. That someone listened and cared and felt their feverish foreheads. It is hard. So hard being thousands of miles away when the ones I love so deeply are suffering.

Fatina. Was lying on that bed just inside the door to the maternity ward. Thirty years old. Severely mentally handicapped. Starving. Dying. Fatina was suffering from a horribly infected abdominal wound from a poorly performed c-section. Her baby was lost during the c-section. This had been her sixth pregnancy, but only one baby had survived in all. Too many rapes. Too weak, sick, and malnourished. No one seemed to have any hope for her. Nurses were frustrated. They felt sorry for her, but couldn’t seem to do much. As I walked over to her bedside, the smell from the wound in her abdomen became almost unbearable for me. But her face. The look of complete hopelessness, lost-ness, helplessness, starvation drew me to her side. As I leaned in and began to take account of the situation, the young girl staying with her began talking. The food, juice, visits, prayers and medical supplies began coming that day. The love had already begun in my heart the moment I saw her shriveled face.

A few weeks later, I walked into the ward carrying Fatina’s lunch for that day, only to be greeted by many dressed up women standing around Fatina’s bed. I leaned around the women, determined to see Fatina. Under the thin sheet, her little body was lying down facing the wall – away from the noise, chaos and what seemed to be utter confusion.

“They thought she had died”, the nurse whispered in my ear. I turned around with astonishment written all over my face. “What?”, I ask. “Fatina fell off the bed this morning. The girl had left her alone and she just fell right off the side. We thought she might have been dead – she seemed to have stopped breathing, she was so still and got so cold, but now she’s ok. She eventually started breathing ok again, and so we just put her up in the bed and hooked an IV line up.”

“But the relatives thought she was dead?”, I asked, still confused.

“Yes, someone called and they came to collect the dead body. They’re disappointed. Now they don’t know what to do. Now they have to leave her here. Now she’s still a problem for them.”, the nurse stated matter of factly.

Emotions flooded my heart. Words flooded my mind. “How in the world?! How did she fall off? How was no one there? How did they think she was dead? How did the relatives find out – how could they now be disappointed that she is alive?”
I was practically furious. Hot, angry tears burned my eyes. I turned my back to the messed up scene surrounding the hospital bed. “Lord, I’m so tired of these relatives not caring. These people despising this precious woman…Lord, help me. Help me. Give me love. Love for them, Lord.”  

I walked back over to Fatina’s bedside. I touched her shoulder and gently rolled her over to face me. I checked her vital signs then just leaned over to hold her. her face was so hot, her forehead flaming. Her breathing still seems very labored. Her eyes locked with mine. Her poor confused brain couldn’t understand everything that was swarming around her…but she recognized me. She knew my face. I watched that wrinkled brow relax. I felt the stiffness in her frail body loosen under my touch.

All I could do was whisper yet again, “I’m here.”
“It’s ok, I’m here. Jesus loves you. You’re going to be ok.”
I help her sit up. She eats the food and drinks the juice. We get the medical supplies for her wound to be dressed today.

All the while, I pray that somewhere, somehow, someone whispered those words in my grandmothers’ ears. As they lay in a bed, fell during the night, faced fears and worries so great, I know that He was there. He has called me here…and I rest in the knowledge that He is also there with them, as I am not. Maybe it is not the women surrounding Fatina’s bed around me in the chaos, but perhaps a grandmother, maybe a friend, is back there in the village somewhere praying that somehow, someway, someone might also love this beautiful 30 year old mentally handicapped woman whom Jesus died for while she can not be there.

He reminds me. He loves her…even more than I love my grandmothers. Fatina is special to Him…just as Meme and Miss Mary are so special to me. He gave me His eyes. He let me see into His heart of love for the starving woman lying on the hospital bed. As I was struggling with not being able to touch them, serve them, pray with them, Meme and Miss Mary were cared for by others. Fatina had no one. She was all alone. And He knew it. Jesus knew exactly where she was. And He knew exactly where I was as I was struggling with only being able to pray against the cancer and sickness in the bodies of grandmothers I love so dearly. But as I was suffering with not being able to be there for loved ones thousands of miles away, Fatina allowed me to love her. Jesus walked her into my world to love. He walked her into my world to care for, to pray with, to serve.

So, I lean over. I kiss the feverish forehead. And I hold up another spoonful of food.