I realize some of you have already read Alei's Uganda updates, but I'm going to post them here so everyone can catch up with what she is doing in Uganda and be introduced to baby Daniella - I will have more to say about Daniella in a later post.
Uganda Update #1-(which is the only long one)
I'm in Uganda! It's Sunday night, we got here late Saturday night. I'm currently sitting in the guest house lobby with my friend Taylor typing with a really old keyboard and really slow Internet.
This morning some of the team members got up extra early to go to the Sanyu baby home before we had to head out for church. It was really cool. There are currently 48 babies staying there, ranging from like 2 months to 3. A little boy named Watson instantly came up to me and I spent a lot of time holding him (standing up, because if I tried to sit down he yelled, "Sand up!").
We were there for about an hour before we had to run back to the guest house to get changed for church. As I was running out the door to get away from a screaming Watson who wasn't far behind me, (I wasn't being mean, they tell us to do that) I saw a baby off in a crib in the corner. She's the only one who they hadn't gotten out all morning, and I hadn't noticed her until then. She looked really quiet and malnourished. I made a mental note to hunt her down when we came back that night. After church, touring a school, exchanging money, and eating at the mall we headed back. We went the bathroom, grabbed water and started the short walk to the baby home.
Someone shoved a baby girl in my arms right when I got there, and I sat down with her for awhile. I didn't notice through the sweat that she was totally peed through. Sorry mom, your green skirt got peed on and barfed on tonight.
One of the caretakers took her from me and I started looking for the little girl in the crib. I headed back to where she was and sure enough, she was the only baby not sleeping that was in a crib. Her name is Daniella.
When I looked at her, I instantly started crying. Her head was rolled back and her eyes were aimlessly searching the ceiling. Her cheeks were so sunken in and her neck was so skinny it was heartbreaking. I pulled the blanket back and saw her body. She looked like a skeleton. I have never in all my life seen someone so skinny. A doctor from Holland that was there pulled her out. She's ten months old and she can't hold her head up, her head literally just flopped back. A few minutes later the doctor left and I pulled her out. She couldn't focus on me and I couldn't stop crying. One of my team members Savannah came in with another baby and she saw her and instantly started crying. We both stood there for a while, I had no idea what to do. When the mothers came out to feed the babies,
I asked if I could feed Daniella. They handed me a bottle and I settled back to feed her, she started chugging the bottle and I pulled it out to try to get her to take it slow. A minute later she started gagging and started vomiting it all up. Not spit up, actual vomit. I didn't know what to do, I kind of just sat there and then started to clean her up. One of the mothers apologized and took her from me and told me I could go rinse my skirt off. I came back out and they had just stuck her back in the crib. Taylor pulled her out and a while later they brought a bottle of water to give her, so she wouldn't get dehydrated. Taylor gave it to her, and a few minutes later she was full on vomiting again. At this point I was in tears and had to head outside to calm myself down. I don't think one of us girls looked at her without crying. I left after holding her for a while longer, because we had dinner with the director of the baby home.
The director, Barbara, told me that she's been there 3 weeks. She's ten months old, weighs 6 pds, and has water in her brain. That's why it's so big and she can't hold it up. There's no doubt that a baby like that in the states would be in the ICU, and yet she's laying in a crib by herself. I can't even describe to you how heartbreaking it is, I've never in my life seen something like that. Tomorrow morning I'll be heading to the baby home to feed and dress her. I just wonder how many times she's just thrown up her food and they've just stuck her in the crib. When I first saw her, I thought she was dead. Please pray for Daniella. I know who I'll be spending my next two weeks with.
Lord, break my heart with what breaks yours.