Painful Moments Into Beautiful Relationships

We are so thankful and appreciative of our year long interns.  Their value can not be expressed in a simple blog…..Take a look at our year-long intern, Lindsey Sletner.  She is a wonderful addition to the James Place.  Her nursing skills have really helped us in the medical department, including reduced medical bills!

Lindsey stated: 

“So what will my average day look like at the James Place?”

This is the question I continually asked before and after arriving here in Jinja. However, everyone I talked to just kind of chuckled and said I would be very busy but no one could really give me a solid answer.  After being here for almost 3 months, I completely understand how hard it is to summarize my day, but I’m going to try for you. 

My days are constantly changing, the core structure of it remains the same but being the nurse means things come up that need my attention.  My days all start the same.  I say good morning to all the preschoolers and then make my way down to childcare to do a quick overall assessment of how the kids and childcare workers are feeling.  I then make my way around the property to other staff to see how they are feeling physically but also just to build relationships and talk to them.  After making my daily rounds I usually end up back down playing with the kids. Some days if someone is sick I end up in my office doing a malaria test or taking them to the doctors office to find out what's going on. That's what usually changes in my days, unexpected trips to the doctor or kids falling and getting hurt and needing basic first aid. 

One of my favorite parts of the day is bath time. After we feed all the kids lunch we line up 7 basins and bath all 60 kids, every day!! We then take them to nap time and get to eat lunch ourselves. Each day after lunch we do chores which is a great time to build relationships with the staff. My afternoons are spent playing with the kids, if I'm not running to the clinic. 

I was asked "What does HEAL mean to me?" and I had to think about the best way to describe it. But the only way I could come up with is being a part of a large, loving family. Every time I'm gone for a day or come back from the doctors kids coming running for hugs and the staff always welcome me back with open arms. I don't know if I have ever felt so loved. 

Honestly being the nurse means most kids end up scared of me for a short period of time after they have gotten hurt or sick. I'm the one that has to make sure their wounds are clean or help hold them down when they need an IV. Two weeks ago, one of the little boys, Reyon, was really sick. Reyon is 3 and is more interested in playing with his friends than all the white people on property so I didn't necessarily have a relationship with him. He's pretty stubborn so I just let him do his thing. However, all of that changed when he was sick. For 5 days we went to the doctors, which in Africa isn't a quick trip. He ended up needing multiple blood draws and a couple of IVs-and let me tell you, he really doesn't like needles. At first I thought he definitely was going to hate me, I mean I was the one holding him down anytime a needle was involved. But we spent a lot of time in the waiting room just sitting and we bonded a lot! Now, everyday when he sees me he comes running for a hug, if I'm off he ask his mom where I am. My heart has never been so full - I still think I'm the only intern he will come to; he will stop playing to run and hug me. A boy I thought was so stubborn has the sweetest heart. It's amazing how God can turn truly painful moments into beautiful relationships. I'm thankful to be a part of the HEAL family.