Monday, 10 August 2009

Jimmy and Jeremy

Jimmy and Jeremy are one month old twin boys - don't be fooled by the pink hats. Babies are dressed in all sorts of clothes here and they're definitely not fussy when it comes to colour. Their Mum Lucy, lives just around the corner from my house. Before she had the boys she worked as a security guard at Mbarara University so we'd often meet on our walk to work in the mornings. Lucy is 31 yrs. old and Jimmy and Jeremy are her 'first borns' - the Ugandan term for the first child - and as Ugandan mothers go, 31 is quite old to have a first child or children in Lucy's case. She herself is a twin, as is her mother and her grandmother. There seems to be lots of twins in Uganda, it can be quite common for a mother to have 2 sets. Yesterday I met a lady called Doreen, she has just moved into my compound, she too has twins, a girl called Melanie and a boy called Melvyn who are 3 mths old - Melvyn was dressed in a little green frilly dress, so I'm glad she told me he was a boy!

Lucy lives with Sam, the father of her babies in what are called 'boys quarters' - usually one or two rooms behind a main house. She has two tiny rooms - a living room and a bedroom, she does her cooking outside on either a charcoal or paraffin stove and she shares a latrine which is behind her rooms, with about 4 or 5 other people. The bedroom just about fits a small double bed and a wicker shelving unit, the living room is also a tight squeeze with a small wooden sofa, another shelving unit with all her kitchen bits and a tv on it. During the day, Jimmy and Jeremy sleep on a single foam mattress on the floor in the living room. I recently gave Lucy a spare bed net that I had, so they're covered and protected from mosquitoes. At night they sleep in bed with her - babies tend not to sleep in cots, even when they are born mothers will prefer to have them in their bed or on a mattress on the floor.
Unfortunately Lucy doesn't have a lot, so I've been trying to help her out. Sam is not working and I think Lucy probably earns very little money. She had the babies when I was in Kampala doing my motorbike training, so I saw them for the first time when I got back. I'd bought her some baby clothes and also got her two baby sacks, at that stage she had no blankets and very few clothes for them. Her family have been helping her out a bit, but money is tight for them too. It's quite normal for babies not to wear nappies here (disposables are available but expensive for most parents and when there's two even more so), they tend to be wrapped up in bits of bed sheets, just left bare, or they just wee and poop in their clothes, which means Lucy is constantly washing baby clothes, by hand. So when they're picked up you never know what surprise you're going to get. Last Friday Jeremy kindly 'shu shued' (had a wee) on me and yesterday Melanie, from the other set of twins obliged by weeing on me as well - I was told by Lucy that this is good as it means I'm going to have a baby!!

Mothers are encouraged to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months if they can, poor Lucy is dreading this, it's not easy with two, but she's doing really well, though she hasn't left her 2 rooms in the last month. I asked Angella, one of the HCU health care trainers, who knows Lucy, to come with me to check she and the boys were doing ok, Lucy was delighted and was also able to ask Angella lots of questions. Hopefully as long as Lucy continues to eat well and produces enough breast milk, Jimmy and Jeremy should be fine.

Now, I have a small favour to ask...... if anyone reading this blog has any baby clothes that they no longer need or knows of anyone who has, and you are willing to post them to me, I can find a really good home for them. Lucy and Sam would appreciate them and it would really help them out. My postal address is P.O. Box 897, Mbarara, Uganda.

I'll keep you posted on their progress......

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