Tagged: lostandfound

THE END

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*ENGLISH VERSION BELOW*

De sidste tre dage har været nogle af de mest surrealistiske i mit liv længe. Det handler om Martha og Rose. Hvor starter jeg..

Lørdag var drama på drama. Martha forsøgte atter at stikke af – denne gang med Rose. Hun var mildest talt ikke glad for at blive hevet tilbage til vores ejendom. Resten af dagen var Marthas opførsel helt og aldeles ude af proportioner; hun råbte op, var meget aggressiv, udviste ligegyldighed overfor Rose, nægtede at spise osv. Vi så ingen anden udvej end at få hende flyttet. NU. Men ingen (og jeg mener; ingen) ville huse hende og Rose medmindre de fik urimelige summer penge for det. Politiet var således sidste mulighed, hvilket vi accepterede. Men gæt hvad der så skete; politiet er gudhjælpemig ”out of office” på grund af helligdag! (I dét øjeblik begyndte jeg simpelthen at grine.. Jeg mener; hvad giver du?!). På grund af Rose ville vi ikke lade Martha gå hvorhen hun ville, så vi talte til 10 og forberedte os på at beholde Martha og Rose til mandag morgen.

Søndag var nærmest idyllisk. Der var ingen problemer overhovedet. Vi snakkede og grinte og jeg måtte flere gange knibe mig i armen; drømmer jeg? Samtidig kom den dårlige samvittighed snigende; åh, jeg burde lade hende blive. Hun ER jo sød! Og det er hun bestemt. Men ak, mandag morgen gik det atter løs. Martha var mere vred end nogensinde, og bedst som vi blot ventede på at køre til politiet og jeg var ved at få et regulært sammenbrud tikkede en sms ind; ”we have found her familiy”. Halleluja! Men prøv lige at forklare det til en meget hidsig kvinde uden sprog. Umuligt. Så Martha fortsatte hendes aggressive adfærd hvilket kun gjorde mig endnu mere frustreret. Jeg mener; vi har fundet din familie! Du skal smile og være glad nu!

Vi kørte til politiet for at planlægge hvad der nu skulle ske. Martha kommer fra Tororo i det østlige Uganda. Hendes forældre er døde, men der er en tante. Det ville være for sent at tage af sted samme dag. Men på grund af Marthas adfærd (og vores egen ve og vel) satte vi foden i, og måtte lade Martha og Rose sove hos politiet. Det var virkelig ikke nemt at efterlade dem, men der var ingen anden udvej. Mandag morgen ville Joel og en politibetjent følge Martha og Rose hjem.

Tirsdag morgen skriver Joel til mig og fortæller at der er store problemer med Martha hos politiet. Jeg tog derop og på mystisk vis lykkedes det mig at snakke med Martha. Ja, jeg fik ligefrem et smil ud af hende. Politiet bad mig om at tage med på hendes hjemrejse, og i næste øjeblik var vi alle på vej til Kampala på boda boda. Mig med baby Rose på skødet (ja, det er utroligt hvad man pludselig ser sig selv gøre i sådanne situationer. En ting er at køre på motorcykel uden styrthjelm. En anden ting er at køre med en 4 måneder gammel baby på skødet..), Martha og politiofficeren på en anden boda, Joel på en tredje og en fjerde boda med alle Marthas ting. Og så begyndte det at regne. Selvfølgelig. Vildt og voldsomt. Vi kom drivvåde til Kampala og hoppede på en taxa (i virkeligheden en slags minibus) og så var vi på vej. Phew.

Fire og en halv time senere kom vi til Tororo. Martha smilte og kunne tydeligvis kende det. Vi måtte leje en bil for at komme til hendes landsby og det var ret fint at se, hvordan Martha smilte stort og gestikulerede hvilken vej vi skulle køre; den vej som hun har forklaret os så mange gange før, men som vi ikke har vidst hvor var. Vi mødte hendes (hørende) bror på vejen og han guidede også til deres lerhytter.

Det viser sig at Martha stak af helt tilbage i Marts på grund af uenigheder med hendes tante. Martha ville have kylling, men tanten sagde nej. Martha tog en høne og slagtede den. Tanten blev vred og straffede Martha. Herefter pakkede Martha sine ting og stak af. Siden har de ikke hørt noget fra hende. De har forsøgt at finde hende, men uden held. De var bange for at hun var død. Men her var hun. Og nu med lille baby Rose. Hun har også en søn – præcis som vi havde på fornemmelsen fra hendes fortællinger. Martha hedder i virkeligheden Abbo Samanya – og baby Rose bliver i øvrigt ved med at være Rose.

Det var ret surrealistisk at sige farvel. Jeg mener, de to har boet i mit hus i tre uger. Trods alt det drama der har været med Martha, så er jeg jo kommet til at holde af dem. Ikke mindste af smukke Rose. Så det var med et vist vemod, at jeg gav hende et sidste kys på hendes buttede bløde kinder og fik et stort smil retur. Vi satte os i bilen og Martha stikker hovedet ind af vinduet; giver Joel hånden til farvel og kigger så på mig og spørger om jeg kommer og besøger hende. Om jeg hvad?! Dét gør jeg. Jeg glæder mig allerede.

Hele Martha-Rose affæren har lært mig mange ting. Om livet. Om kærligheden. Om at hjælpe. Om Uganda. Om offentlige instanser. Om andre organisationer og hvordan de arbejder. Om mig selv. Alt sammen på både godt og ondt. Selvom de seneste tre uger har kostet mange tårer og frustrationer, så ville jeg ikke have været foruden. Og jeg ville slet ikke have været foruden at have lært Martha og Rose at kende. Eller rettere; Abbo Samanya og Rose.

(På billedet er det Martha/Abbo Samanya med tørklædet i midden..)

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The last three days have been some of the most surreal days in my life for a long time. It’s about Martha and Rose. Where do I begin..

Saturday was just one big drama. Martha tried to run away again – this time with Rose. She was definitely not happy when we caught her outside our gate. The rest of the day Martha’s behavior was completely out of proportions; she was being very loud and aggressive, she showed ignorance towards Rose, refused to eat etc. We saw no way out than to have Martha and Rose move. NOW. But no one (and I mean; no one) would house them unless we paid them ridiculously amounts of money. The police was our only choice left, which we accepted. But guess what happens.. The police are ‘out of office’ due to public holiday! Can you believe this?! (At that moment I actually started laughing.. I mean; what are the odds?!) Because of Rose we wouldn’t let Martha go wherever she wanted to go, so we tried our best to stay strong and keep our patience and I accepted to continuing housing Martha and Rose till Monday morning.

Sunday was rather idyllic. There were no problems at all. We talked and laughed and several times I had to pinch my arm; am I dreaming? At the same time I felt guilty; maybe I should let them stay. Martha really IS a sweet young woman. Yes, she is for sure. But well, Monday morning hell was lose again. Martha was angrier than ever. Just as we were waiting to take off to the police and I was about to have a regular breakdown I received a message on my phone; “We have found Martha’s family”. Hallelujah! But you try explaining that to an aggressive woman without a language. Impossible. So Martha continued her aggressive behavior, which just made me even more frustrated. I mean; we have found your family! You should smile and be happy now!

We drove to the police to plan what should happen next. Martha comes from Tororo in Eastern Uganda. Her parents are dead, but there is an aunt. It would be too late to leave the same day. Because of Martha’s behaviour (and for our own well-beings) we said stop and had to let Martha and Rose sleep at the police. It was very hard to leave them there, but there were no other options. Monday morning Joel and a police officer would transfer Martha and Rose to their home.

Tuesday morning I got a message from Joel telling me there were huge problems with Martha at the police. I went to the police and in mysterious ways I managed to talk to Martha. I even got a smile from her. The police asked me to follow Martha and Rose home, and next moment we were all on our way on boda boda to Kampala. Me with baby Rose on my lap (yeah, it’s incredible what you find yourself doing in such situations.. I mean, going on a motorbike without a helmet is one thing. Carrying a 4 month old baby on your lap is another thing..), Martha and the police officer on another boda, Joel on a third and a fourth boda with all Martha’s stuff. And then (of course) the rain came. Heavy rain. We arrived soaked and got on a taxi (a minibus) and then we were on our way. Phew.

Four and a half hours later we arrived in Tororo. Martha was smiling, and it was obvious that she knew the place. We had to rent a car to go to her village, and it was both fun and precious to see how Martha was one big smile while gesticulating the way to her home; the way she has explained millions of times before, but that we never knew where was. We ran into her (hearing) brother on our way and he guided us to their huts.

It turns out that Martha ran away from her home back in March because of disagreements with her aunt. Martha wanted chicken, but the aunt said no. Martha got mad and took a chicken and killed it. The aunt got very mad and punished Martha. After this Martha packed her things and ran away. They haven’t heard anything from her since. They have been searching for her, but well – didn’t find her. They thought she might have died. But here she was. And now with baby Rose. She has a son too, as we assumed. Martha’s real name is Abbo Samanya – and baby Rose will, by the way, continue to be Rose.

It was quite surreal to say goodbye. I mean, Martha and Rose have stayed at my home for three weeks. Despite all the drama, I have come to love them. Especially beautiful baby Rose. So it was with some sadness that I kissed her chubby soft cheeks one last time and got a big smile in return. We got back in the car and Martha stuck her head through the window. She gave Joel her hand to say goodbye and she then looked at me and asked if I am coming to visit her. If I what?! You bet I am. I am already looking forward to it.

The whole Martha-Rose affair has taught me many things. About life. About God.  About love. About helping. About Uganda. About governance. About other organizations and how they work. About myself. Despite all the tears I have cried the last three weeks I wouldn’t have been without this experience. And I would definitely not have been without this chance of getting to know Martha and Rose – or; Abbo Samanya and Rose.

(In the picture it’s Martha/Abbo Samanya in the middle with the black and white scarf..)

MARTHA & ROSE

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*ENGLISH VERSION BELOW*

For et par uger siden skrev jeg om en fortabt ukendt døv kvinde og hendes baby, som jeg pt. giver husly. De har nu boet hos mig i snart tre uger, og situationen har mildest talt udviklet sig til at være lidt af et mareridt.

Den første uge gik tingene fint nok. Vi tog hende til lægen et par gange fordi hun klagede over smerter. Det viser sig at hun har mavesår, som hun nu får medicin for. Vi lavede mad til hende, gav hende tøj, hjalp hende med babyen og lignende ting man nu gør, for at hjælpe en kvinde i hendes situation. Vi forsøgte desuden at lære hende nogle basale tegn, i et forsøg på at lette kommunikationen med hende. Vi besluttede os i øvrigt ret hurtigt for at give hende og hendes baby navne – det blev hurtigt lidt akavet og umenneskeligt at blive ved med at referere til ”ukendt døv kvinde og baby”. Så nu er det Martha og baby Rose.

Efter en uges tid begyndte tingene langsomt at ændre sig. Marthas opførsel blev mere og mere mærkelig. Hun er ekstremt humørsvingende (ikke at jeg bebrejder hende..) og hun er til tider temmelig respektløs i hendes opførsel; nægter at tage hendes medicin; vil kun gøre tingene på hendes egen måde; tager min telefon og råber højlydt imens hun mimer at snakke med nogen; pludselig bryder hun ud i latter og begynder at danse for derefter at gestikulere aggressivt og råber ad en. Og sådan fortsætter det. Hun siger en helt masse ting, men fordi hun ikke har noget sprog er det kun lyde. Og det er højt. Situationen er sikkert langt mere frustrerende for hende end den er for os. Tænk ikke at kunne fortælle hvor du kommer fra og hvem du er. Men jeg ville lyve hvis jeg sagde, at jeg ikke også føler en vis frustration. Det er ikke nemt at tage sig af nogen, som hverken forstår eller sætter pris på, at man faktisk forsøger at hjælpe efter bedste evne. Det er heller ikke nemt at være ligeglad. Slet ikke med sådan en lille nuttet (og i øvrigt meget glad og tilfreds) baby. Martha har bestemt også sine øjeblikke. Og der er ingen tvivl om at hun elsker Rose. Det er også helt tydeligt, at hun har et hjem et sted – og at hun har flere børn.

At huse en ukendt og tydeligvis ustabil og/eller traumatiseret kvinde gør, at man må være lidt ekstra varsom. Vi kender ikke hendes fortid og vi kan ikke kommunikere med hende. Kan vi stole på hende? Svaret er nej. Hun har forsøgt at stikke af flere gange (uden Rose). Mandag formiddag lykkedes det hende. Hun var væk i over to timer. Da vi fandt hende og hun kom hjem var hun glad. Ikke fordi hun var blevet fundet, men fordi hun havde været ude at shoppe. Jeps, hun havde brugt alle sine penge (som vi havde bedt hende gemme i kufferten til den dag, hun ikke længere kan bo her) på højhælede sko og bodylotion. Skulle jeg grine eller græde?

Vi tog til politiet selvsamme dag, som Martha stak af. Jeg kan ikke længere garantere for Marthas sikkerhed – ej heller for Roses. Politiet havde lovet at hjælpe med at finde ud af hvem Martha er, men de har selvfølgelig ikke gjort noget som helst. Kan Martha og Rose være hos politiet? Ja, det kan de. Men.. En ting er, at de skal bo under kummerlige forhold, men hvad sker der hvis Martha stikker af igen? Politiet kan ikke gøre noget; de er nødt til at lade hende løbe. Hvis hun stikker af med Rose, så overlever Rose næppe længe. Stikker hun af uden Rose, ja – så er der også problemer. Martha græd og forsøgte at løbe væk fra politiet, så vi endte med at tage hende hjem igen.

Tirsdag, onsdag og torsdag har vi været på farten fra morgen til aften med alle Marthas ting pakket i bilen i forsøget på at finde et sted til dem. Det har desværre vist sig umuligt. Bevares, folk vil gerne hjælpe. Men huse dem? Nej tak. Ikke engang kirkerne vil huse dem. Der er også blevet lavet tv-indslag om Martha, men det har heller ikke givet noget. Nu er det fredag, og vi havde håbet at kunne møde et par nye potentielle steder i dag. Men de er alle sammen ”out of office”. Hvad skal vi stille op? Vi har prøvet alt. Martha vil hjem. Og hvor ville jeg ønske, at jeg vidste hvor ”hjem” er. Jeg er til tider er ved at gå ud af mit gode skind og bare tuder i ren og skær frustration. Jeg får ikke arbejdet imens det her står på. Jeg er nødsaget til at have mine øjne på Martha og Rose 24/7. Og tro mig; der er masser af arbejde der venter på mig hos BDI. Jeg er heldig at have Rannah (den amerikanske frivillige) som nabo. Uden hende havde jeg ikke overlevet.

I skrivende stund sidder Martha ved siden af mig og tegner fisk, høns, geder, træer og huse imens hun forsøger at fortælle mig om hendes hjem. Hendes tegnsprog har forbedret sig betydeligt, men der er stadig mange udfordringer i vores kommunikation. Rose ligger på et tæppe ved siden af os. Hun smiler og griner som sædvanligt. Hun har heldigvis ingen anelse om hvad der foregår.

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about a lost unknown deaf women and her baby, that I am currently housing. They have stayed at my house for almost three weeks now, and the situation has developed into a bit of a nightmare.

The first week, things were fine. We took the woman to the doctor a few times because she complained about pains. It turns out she has ulcers, and she is now getting medication. We have cooked for her, given her clothes, helped her with her baby and all other things you would do to help a woman in her situation. We have also tried to teach her some basic sign language, in an attempt to make communication with her a little easier. We quickly decided to give her and her baby names – it became a bit awkward and inhuman to keep referring to “unknown deaf woman and baby.” So now it’s Martha and baby Rose.

After a week or so, things slowly began to change. Martha’s behavior became increasingly strange. She is extremely moody (not that I blame her..) and she is at times rather disrespectful in her behavior; she refuses to take her medication; she only wants to do things in her own way; she takes my phone being very loud as she mimes to talk to someone; she suddenly starts laughing hysterically and starts dancing and next moment she is gesticulating aggressively and quarrels. And so it continues. She is trying to say so many things, but because she has no language, no words are coming out of her mouth – it’s just noise. And it’s loud. I am sure the situation is far more frustrating for her than it is for us. I mean, imagine not being able to tell where you come from and who you are. But I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel a bit of frustration too. It’s not easy to take care of someone who does not understand or appreciate that you are actually trying to help the best you can. It is not easy to be ignorant either – and it becomes impossible with such a small cute baby, who is btw very happy and content. Martha has her moments too, for sure. And there is no doubt that she loves Rose. We also know for sure now that she has a home somewhere – and that she has other children.

When housing an unknown and obviously unstable and/or traumatized woman you obviously need to be careful. We do not know her past and we cannot communicate with her. Can we trust her? The answer is no. She has tried to run away several times (without Rose), and Monday morning she succeeded. She was missing for more than two hours. When we found her again and she came home she was happy. Not because she was found, but because she had been shopping. Yeah, she had spent all her money (which we had asked her to keep in her suitcase till the day she can no longer stay here) on high-heeled shoes and moisturizer. Should I laugh or should I cry?

We went to the police the same day that Martha ran away. I can no longer guarantee for the safety of Martha – neither of Rose. The police had promised to help find out who Martha is, but they have done nothing to help us. Can they stay at the police? Yes, they can. But .. One thing is that they have to stay in a miserable storage container, but what happens if Martha runs away again? The police cannot do anything; they have to let her go. If she runs off with Rose, then Rose will hardly survive. If Martha runs away without Rose – well, then we have problems as well. Martha was crying and trying to run off at the police. So we ended up taking them home again.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we have been on the go all day long with all Martha’s stuff packed in the car trying to find a place for them. Unfortunately, we haven’t succeeded. Sure, people want to help. But house them? No thanks. Not even the churches will house them. We have made ​​TV spots about Martha as well, but it has not given anything. Now it’s Friday, and we had hoped to meet a few new potential places today. But they are all “out of office”. What to do? We have tried everything. Martha wants to go home. And how I wish that I knew where “home” is. From time to time I am about to lose my mind, and I just cry in sheer frustration. I can’t work while all this is going on, as I must have my eyes on Martha and Rose 24/7. And trust me; there is plenty of work waiting for me at BDI. I am lucky to have Rannah (the American volunteer) next door. I wouldn’t have survived this without her.

At this very moment Martha is sitting next to me drawing fish, chickens, goats, trees and houses, while trying to tell me about her home. Her signing has improved a lot over the weeks, though there are still many challenges in our communication. Rose is lying next to us on a blanket. She is smiling and laughing as usual. She does luckily not know what’s going on.

LOST AND FOUND

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*ENGLISH VERSION BELOW*

Alting er ret kaotisk her pt. En masse organisatoriske og praktiske problemstillinger, som kræver, at vi holder tungen lige i munden. Imens fortsætter livet sin vante gang med de forskellige problemer, der nu knytter sig hertil. I går blev Joel kontaktet af det lokale politi. De sad med en døv kvinde og hendes cirka tre måneder gamle baby. Politiet aner ikke hvem kvinden er, og kontaktede Joel for at få hjælp til at kommunikere med kvinden og hjælpe hende. Jeg tog med Joel og vi mødte kvinden. Hun græd og det var meget svært at kommunikere med hende. Hun kan ikke tegnsprog og hun kan ikke skrive. What to do? Joel ville hjælpe politiet med at lave efterlysning til både avis og TV. Og i mellemtiden, hvad så? Joel spurgte mig, hvad jeg synes om at tage hende med på skolen. Jeg synes det var en god idé. Jeg mener; nærmest alting ville være bedre end den ussle container hun pt. befandt sig i. Jeg tænkte et øjeblik over det hele. Situation på skolen er lige nu ret presset af forskellige årsager, og det fik mig til at ændre mening. Så jeg foreslog i stedet, at hun kunne tage med mig hjem. Her er stille og roligt, og når man tænker på hendes situation – hmm; jeg tror hun har brug for at være et roligt sted mere end nogensinde. Joel og politikvinden talte lidt om det, og var enige om at det var en bedre idé. Så nu huser jeg altså en ukendt døv kvinde og hendes fine lille baby (en pige) imens politiet forsøger at finde ud af hvem hun og hvor hun kommer fra. Mor og baby har det godt under omstændighederne. Hun tøffer rundt med babyen på ryggen, bader, vasker sit tøj og spiser alt imens vi forsøger at kommunikere gennem en meget primitiv form for tegnsprog. Jeg ved ikke hvad der sker videre herfra. For både kvindens og hendes babys skyld håber jeg, at politiet finder ud af hvem hun er. Og mest af alt håber jeg, at hun har en familie et sted – og at de savner hende..

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Everything is pretty chaotic here these days. We have many organizational and practical issues that require us to watch our steps carefully. Meanwhile everyday life goes on with its problems of its own. Yesterday the local police contacted Joel. They had a lost deaf woman with a three month old baby. The police have no idea who she is and contacted Joel for help communicating and helping the woman. I went with Joel and we met the woman. She was crying and it was very hard to communicate with her. She doesn’t know sign language and she doesn’t know how to write either. What to do? Joel wanted to assist the police in making a missing person report for both newspaper and TV. And while trying to find out who she is, then what? Joel asked me what I thought about taking her to school. I said it would be a good idea. I mean, compared to the poor storage container she was in right now anything would be better. I continued thinking about it for a moment. The situation at school is currently under pressure for different reasons, which made me change my mind. Instead I suggested that the woman went home with me and stayed at my house. It’s more quiet and peaceful here, and thinking about her situation – well; I think she needs to be in a safe and quiet place more than ever. Joel and the policewoman talked about it and agreed that it was a better idea. So now I am housing an unknown deaf woman and her cute little baby girl while the police is trying to find out who she is and where she comes from. Considering the circumstances both mother and baby seem to be doing fine. She walks around with the baby on her back, washes her clothes, bathes and eats while we try to communicate through a very primitive form of sign language. I don’t know what will happen next. For the sake of the woman and her baby I just hope that the police succeed and find out who she is. And most of all I hope, that she has a family somewhere – and that they miss her..