Sunday, September 11, 2011
Sipi Falls: A Day of Reflection and Refreshment
15 July, 2011
Most of the team will be leaving tomorrow. Only John, Denise, and I will remain. This day was planned for winding down, enjoying some of Africa's God-created beauty, and debriefing. Denise was not feeling well this morning. She skipped breakfast, but boarded the bus with the rest of us when we left for Sipi Falls.
I knew that we would travel back toward the school to get to the falls, but I didn’t realize how far up the mountain we would be going, or how grueling the trip would be, even in a relatively comfortable bus!
When we stopped at the lodge near Sipi Falls and I stood to leave the bus I felt achy, especially in my hips and legs. I shrugged it off (attributing it to the long bus ride); took a couple of Advil; told myself that exercise would do me good; and volunteered to join the group climbing up to the Falls.
I never regretted making the hike, but I was immediately grateful for the young man who came from nowhere to hold my hand, help me up and over the rough spots, and stop my feet from slipping at the end when rain began to fall. Simon was his name. He told me that he loves Jesus, and his favorite Bible story is Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt -quite appropriate, I thought, since he made a fine leader, himself!
We crossed a rickety bridge and climbed up to the falls for some photos underneath.
Next, we climbed up above the falls for some breathtaking views.
We crossed a stream and passed through a village. As we started descending toward the road a light rain began to fall and the paths became slippery. The guides began dispersing as soon as we got to the road. We thanked Simon and gave him a nice tip for his assistance.
Some villagers were washing clothing in the stream.
We ordered lunch when we got back to the lodge, but it seems they ran out of food before ours was made. Many commented on how good the soup was, but I wasn’t too disappointed, as I was more tired than hungry.
We sat around a large table and Denise drew random questions to ask each team member. It was a good time of reflection on the past two weeks and all the ministries we had been a part of. Both laughter and tears erupted throughout the afternoon as we remembered and shared our special memories.
After the debriefing session and once the rain had stopped, I walked around and took pictures. It was a perfect setting for appreciating God’s handiwork.
On the way back down the mountain Denise became so ill she asked the bus driver to stop, and she went to the nearest house along the way, asking to use their “facilities.” These, of course, were very crude. It was a difficult thing for her to do, but not much choice. She was quite sick!
I fell asleep along with most of the rest of the team on the way home. Someone snapped this photo, which pretty much says it all!
When we arrived at the hotel, I awoke and immediately realized that I had a high fever and now ached all over.
Sarah, the board chairwoman for King’s Primary School, called an American doctor to come to the hotel and see us. He made calls to see who was working at the hospital and made arrangements for us to have lab tests. Denise and Wendy tested positive for Malaria. The assumption is that I have it too, since I have all the symptoms. Most likely it didn’t show up in me yet, since my symptoms just started this evening. Yes, we were all taking our anti-malarial medicine, but apparently it isn’t 100% effective.
My teeth chattered as I began chilling on the way home from the hospital. Then I shook uncontrollably. My legs felt like rubber bands as I tried to climb the five flights of stairs to our room. John had stayed behind at the hospital to pay my bill. He was a little concerned about whether or not he would have enough money, but the total bill for three blood tests, an emergency room visit, lab results, and medicine was around $15!
It all seems unreal, but I feel so good about the care we received. Sarah and Dr. Derek were amazing, and the hospital staff was kind and efficient, too. Sanitary procedures were followed, as well. God has already shown his love, care, and provision. I think I can trust Him to get me through this!
I feel so bad for Wendy having to travel to Entebbe and then begin the grueling flight back to the US throughout tomorrow and the next day. At least she will now be on medicine. She will definitely be in our prayers!