Her Heart Beats for Karamoja

I wanted to share some stories from my trip to Uganda. Below is about an awesome young woman, Jennifer Kragt.

After I finished the two Hydromissions projects, I took a day-long bus ride to visit my friend and check out her region for future drilling opportunities. When I arrived in Soroti, I was picked up by Jennifer, a nurse who has been serving in Uganda for over two years. Jennifer, slightly petite yet strong and athletic, drives a big land cruiser with aggression that would make any New Yorker proud. I unloaded my gear at her house and then we headed out to a prayer meeting with other missionaries. Afterwards, we were all chatting when Jennifer got a call on her cell. Betty, a young girl who Jennifer has been mentoring for a couple of years was calling because her young sister, Joyce, was ill. Jennifer had treated Joyce earlier but her symptoms returned and now, at 9:30pm, Joyce couldn’t sleep and consequently, neither could the family members who shared a room with her. Jennifer said we would stop by and check on Joyce so we left and headed across town. Jennifer planned to bring her to a clinic that had a doctor on call 24 hrs. We arrived at the house and I followed Jennifer inside the small room to watch her attend to Joyce. The room was barely lit by some candles. Joyce was laying on one of the many mats crowding the small room. I couldn’t tell exactly how many people were sleeping in the room but it was at least 5. Joyce had a fever and a bad headache, among other symptoms. She was in too much pain to sleep and her crying was keeping her family awake. Joyce’s mother, sister Betty, and Joyce herself were placed in the back seat of the land cruiser and we started off for the clinic. It didn’t take long to arrive but unfortunately the gate was locked and the “24hr Clinic” was closed. Jennifer brought every one back to her house so she could treat Joyce. Jennifer hurriedly sorted through some boxes with different medications while I stood by feeling pretty useless. Finally, a plan of action was made and Jennifer took some medication and a needle out to the vehicle to treat Joyce. Betty and her mom had to hold Joyce still while Jennifer apologized and jammed the needle into her thigh. After explaining the pills and oral rehydration fluid to Betty for treating Joyce overnight, we drove them all back to their house and then headed back to Jennifer’s house.
Jennifer turned to me en route to the house and said something like “sorry you were out so late. this is pretty much what I do” and all I could think was “wow, this night was SO COOL!” And that started my adventures of trailing a missionary nurse.

Jennifer checking on Joyce in the morning

The next morning we were up early to head back to visit Joyce and check on her symptoms. Joyce was much better and Jennifer decided to take Joyce to church along with the other children so she could keep an eye on her. I don’t know where all the kids came from but as we walked back to Jennifer’s land cruiser, there were nearly a dozen waiting to jump into the vehicle. It was really fun to catch a glimpse of Jennifer interacting with the kids during the drive. The children seemed like they were used to climbing all over her vehicle asking for biscuits, grabbing water bottles and requesting that Jennifer put on music. I can’t explain how cute it was to hear all those little accented voices singing along to Brandon Heath on the radio.

Some of the children loading into the back of Jennifer’s land cruiser

The next day I helped Jennifer at the clinic. My non-medical job was just paperwork on each of the moms that came in for immunizations. It was immunization day and a line of women with babies had formed before we even arrived.

The mothers and babies lined up outside of the clinic
Jennifer immunizing one of the children
Jennifer and clinic tech discussing a blood test procedure

In addition to the service Jennifer performs in Soroti, her heart really beats for the Karamojong people. The Karamoja is one of the harshest, least reached areas of Uganda. The Karamojong have been involved in various conflicts centered on the practice of cattle raids. Most of the people we stayed with while working on the Hydromissions projects had stories of running in fear and hiding in the bush when the Karamojong came into the villages. Jennifer would like to work part-time in one of the peace villages established by the government. Jennifer would like to make two trips per month to work with the Karamojong. It costs approx $250 per trip. I am asking that you consider supporting Jennifer. Perhaps a one-time gift or monthly. I have seen first-hand how important her service is in Uganda and wanted to highlight her in hopes that she could get help with funding. Please check out her blog. International Teams is a non-profit organization and all donations are tax-deductable. For information about International Teams, please check their website: https://wwws.iteams.org/us and to donate to Jennifer online, please follow the instructions on this webpage: https://wwws.iteams.org/us/give/.
You can mail checks to “International Teams Receipting Dept. 411 W. River Road Elgin, IL 60123 (Please note: “For Support of Jennifer Kragt in Uganda”)


5 thoughts on “Her Heart Beats for Karamoja

  1. Caitlin, with all your endeavors with the hydromissions and other things, why don’t you try to form some sort of charitable organization and get it represented on the Shaw community service solicitation that was made several months ago.

    If there was something available like this I would give generously. It would provide payback in two directions: your organization would get the money, and contributors would get the brownie points.

    I don’t need brownie points; I am 70 years old and working because the nuclear industry needs my experience. Anytime Shaw doesn’t want me I am ready to go.

    Another item: You have a very interesting resume on LinkedIn. Why don’t you install a link to it in this blog? It will show the world that you are a true ‘nuke’ as well as a do-gooder.

    1. Hey Jack, thanks for the great question! The information at the end of my post about donations for Jennifer go through a non-profit organization called “International Teams” and donations are tax-deductable. I forgot to insert the website into my post, but here it is https://wwws.iteams.org/us and here is the page for online donations https://wwws.iteams.org/us/give/

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