Sunday, July 16, 2017

July 16

Our last day in Uganda is very bittersweet. Nothing really prepares you for coming and nothing prepares you for leaving. As I said yesterday no matter how much is done there is always so much that gets left undone. Some I have personally stepped back from as I felt my involvement was not appropriate and better in the hands of others. Other projects have been thwarted at every turn; e.g. The visa for Kyemba. Some is because organization is so hard to come by. Non the less it is hard to leave things unsettled. Actually last night Hannah graciously packed one of my suitcases with such tender care to make sure it all arrives safely. As she was doing that I got in bed, falling asleep in my glasses with my phone in my hands. I am looking forward to my first real downtime on the plane tomorrow.

 

Yesterday Musana finished negotiations on the piece of land next to the secondary school (facing the school it's to the left; the piece with all the brick making). They are hoping to build living quarters for those who work at the secondary and the clinic. Andrea said the other people wanting the property wanted to build a mosque on the land. I am so glad the land went to Musana as they can now continue to grow without anyone in their path. I love that that different properties are connected. So again, Musana is growing in a thoughtful way! 

 

Our room, at the moment, is a natural disaster. Suitcases are partially packed, waiting for us to shower to finish the job. We brought so much stuff with us that the suitcases are fairly empty. The good news is I have been able to put my carry on inside another suitcase so I will have nothing to drag through the various airports other than my backpack. That is a plus as far as I am concerned!! Tomorrow morning early we will load up the car and head to Entebbe. After our team had such a problem getting out of Uganda, I'd rather get there way early and wait, then not be allowed to board.

 

So tonight we had our final dinner at Musana; pizza, guacamole and pineapple! It doesn't get any better than that! Then Andrea, Kristy, Erin and Kaitlin came out with a half gallon of ice with heavy duty sparklers on top. What a great surprise and we downed it in no time at all. Once Dezi came she did think it was for her and the rest of us were cut off!! We exchanged letters we had written to one another. I am really going to miss them all and hope to see them again next year in Colorado. Colleen we will have to go to Flat Irons church one Sunday.

 

I am signing off for the final time from Uganda. Thank you all for your support during this trip. I love you all.

 

Sue

Saturday, July 15, 2017

July 15

I sept soundly last night for the first time in ages. I actually didn't even stir before 8:15. Then I went down and asked both Attiwya and Rashida to draw me pictures. I am so happy I can take a piece of them home! Today is parents day which started at 9 am but as of 12:30 very few had arrived. I spent some quality time with both girls and will miss them both terribly but am eager to come home to Owen and Nora hugs and smiles!! I did go down and talk to those preparing the food. Today is a true celebration... chicken (which actually had been killed on the spot due to my seeing all the feet lying on the ground), pumpkin, matoke, potatoes, and other delectable items. The pots were probably 2 feet in diameter and I'm so happy the kids are getting a feast!! After seeing the feet I am glad we are going to Jinja for the day. I'm hoping for something a little Mzungu!! It is very hot outside and I've already gone through two bottles of water without relief. Ugh!!!

 

So the interns, two new people, Mary and Shelby, Hannah and I are heading out to Jinja. Andrea has requested a pizza be returned to her tonight so we will pick that up. I am also going to buy some earrings to sell at The Loft. Musana doesn't make anything like this but I figure the profits can go back to them! It will be really nice to spend some quality relational time with people who also love this country and Musana. We are going to try a new restaurant called "All Friends".

 

As we arrived at "All Friends" it started pouring so our timing was perfect. The food wasn't all that good although the ambiance was great. And since the service was so slow we had a good opportunity to share stories and get to know one another better. I think the only thing  I have really eaten since arriving besides my snacks has been tilapia. I can honestly say I am tired of fish!!! I am definitely ready for ice cream! We then cruised the shops in Jinja and I managed to find a few more things to help support the local economy. I did find a child's Bible for Rashida although the font is tiny, tiny. I'm really glad she is a young child and her eyesight is good!!! When she gets to be my age I hope she is able to buy one with large print!!! 

 

I am having a hard time believing we leave in one more day. There is so much we have done but there is always the feeling that there is more to do. I will miss the people so much. 

 

I love you all.

 

Sue

 

Friday, July 14, 2017

July 14

After a good nights sleep we are off and running again. Actually we are off and waiting! We headed off to the medical center to pick up Edward and then went back to Musana to pick up another social worker, Rogers! Then Betty jumped in the car as well. So we are now a full van heading into the unknown! We are headed to the police station to find out the exact location of the two kids who were left there last week. I'm so glad we are following up with them and I pray they are being well taken care of.

 

While sitting in the car with Kyemba he was telling us that he got married at 25. His wife was 14 at the time. He would go away to work and earn money and bring it back to her. She used it to purchase the land their house is now on. Next time he came home he gave the money to his mother to keep and she gave it to his wife at which point she started building the house. He since learned that she had a lot of wisdom and truly trusts her decisions. I can't imagine being married at 14! But in this culture that is very common. Even being married younger is ok. He was telling us of the hardship of women in this country. They are the ones that farm, that cook the meals, do the washing (all by hand), take care of the children, carry the water, while the men are often found doing nothing. I have said this before but it is so true... if Uganda's wealth was based on the strength of the women (physically and emotionally) Uganda would be the richest nation on earth. They do the work and they have absolutely no voice. I think this is starting to change with those individuals educated but it is going to be a long, long process! I do love that Musana empowers so many women. The women working there are strong, yet compassionate. Skilled, yet willing to train. Hard workers, yet willing to fully love along the way. 

 

Last night Dorcas (our cook) came into our room about ‪10 pm to bring us a Jerry can filled with water. Musana had been notified there would be no water today so she was being proactive. We had distributed the sanitary napkins kits yesterday at the prison so I decided to ask her how she controlled her period. I started by saying the conversation may embarrass her and I was right. She turned bright red but then we had a good conversation. She told Hannah and me that she has always used gauze. So we explained how the kit worked and she was thrilled to receive one. It's amazing how the small things can make such a difference!!!

 

Having given thought to yesterday at the prison I wish there was a way to distribute to the women prisoners without being approached by the guards. The word "approached" I use very loosely. More like mobbed. I know there are many guards that need them as well but it was the feeling of entitlement I didn't appreciate. On the other hand, I am sure if they didn't get theirs they would have taken them from the ladies. So I am sure it worked as it was supposed to although I'm sure the leaders are more corrupt then the women that have been charged with crimes. I am pretty sure that anything that gets left to be distributed never gets to the people it was intended for.

 

So we made it to the children's home called Kidron Children's Home. Most the kids we saw were infants, many not yet crawling. One little boy climbed right into Kaitlin's arm and just rested his head on her shoulder. My impression was that he was starved for human touch. Don't get me wrong I think the kids are well taken care of but the personal touch is hard with so many. Kaitlin put the baby down and he immediately started crying. They even came and took him back to his room and he crawled back to her arms. The sad thing is that it is a girls children home and so they try very hard to foster the boys out quickly. In our case it would mean separating the sister and brother and they are all they have. One little baby was laying in a crib with the baby bottle propped up so she could eat. Great concept but once the bottle fell she couldn't get any more. I know it sounds terrible but it was one of the best I've seen in this country. The director, Caroline, seemed to care a lot and was willing to answer all our questions but the staff is so outnumbered!! The ratio of children to staff is overwhelming. Right now I feel the two kids are doing OK. The little Beatrice still had her million dollar smile. My prayer is they stay together and find a family that will love them abundantly! Edward has told me he will stay in communication and follow their progress.

 

We then stopped in Jinja for lunch (much needed nourishment) and are now driving through the outskirts of Jinja to pick up Edward's wife and child to spend the weekend with him in Iganga. His son Austin has so much personality. His wife teaches in Jinja so they only see each other on weekends and holidays. Her home backs up to Lake Victoria and the view is beautiful. She loves teaching and I imagine she is one of the very good ones. Her passion for children is great.

 

To give you an idea of my day I started at Musana went to the medical clinic and back to Musana. Dropped Betty in Iganga and somehow picked her back up before heading to the children's home about 30 minutes outside of Jinja. Between he two we stopped at thee main social services office to find out the exact location of the kids Then we went to Jinja than back to the outskirts of Jinja to pick up Edward's family back to Musana to drop off Kaitlin and Rogers, pick up Hannah and head to Edward's house in Iganga. Left his family there dropped Hannah at Sol View to paint, dropped Edward at the medical clinic and went to the pharmacy. Bought Malaria and Typhoid strips and went back to the clinic to meet with Carol and drop off the medicine and now we are heading back to Sol. No wonder I am exhausted every night!  I still have to go back to paint one more verse on the wall!!! 

 

Came back to Musana and finished the Bible verse on the wall. Then Hannah came and added some artistic touches and it is done!! Woohoo!

 

Hannah here :)

 

Today I painted the guard house which is at the entrance to Musana. After lunch, Sue came back from her many ventures, picked me up and dropped me off at Sol View- Musana's beautiful (and delicious) restaurant. Leah and Andrea had chosen a wall for me to paint. Sol has a beautiful outdoor patio full of trees, flowers, and vines. At night, they turn on strings of white lights that are hung on the trees and the fence. I was really excited to paint at Sol for two reasons. One: Sol View is a very happening place and so I felt honored that I was asked to add to the already beautiful atmosphere. And Two: THIS WAS MY LAST MURAL!!!!! Not counting the dining hall that Emma, Samantha, and I painted, I have completed 14 murals for Musana (And Sue helped with one of those and then completed 2 all on her own with verses). I have officially passed off the rest of my paint to 2 young women named Mary and Shelby who are visiting Musana for a few days then doing some murals at another ministry. They were going to have to find and buy the paint on their own and since I don't want to take buckets of back with me in a suitcase, I have willed it to them. This will also keep me from talking myself into painting more murals. Every blank wall I see mocks me ;)

 

While painting at Sol, I met the new manager Peter. We got to talking and he ended up sharing his testimony with me. He used to live in Sudan and owned a small textile shop. A band of men came through and took everything from his shop. He had taken out a loan to start this business and after his merchandise was stolen, the bank threw him in jail because they knew he would be unable to pay off the loan. One evening he was praying and Peter told God that he had not stolen or done anything wrong. He asked God if someone could come free him by giving him a loan with lots of time to pay back. The next morning ‪at 10am, a woman showed up asking for Peter. She asked him why he was in jail and then paid his loan telling him to just pay her back when he could. He told me he KNEW what kind of God he served- a God of miracles. Once again, God answered my prayer of having meaningful, God-filled conversations with people as I painted. It was a great end to my time of painting in Uganda. I am really looking forward to coming home but also happy to have 2 more days to spend (not covered in paint)

at Musana. Love you all and see you soon!

 

Peace out dudes

- Hannah 

 

P.S. I was called a "hip-hop painter" today. Not sure what that means exactly but I'll take it. 

 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

July 13th

Today's blog starts the same as yesterday; waiting for Kyemba. Now I am at Andrews for a 9am meeting and he is no where to be found. "But he is coming," the most used expression in Uganda other than "I'm at the gate"...

 

Andrew and I met and talked about the situation taking place at the clinic where the nurse was recording one price in the book and another on the receipt. He was really appreciative that we brought it to his attention. He said that a lot of people had complained about the prices being so high but they he no receipts to show him. And of course when he looked at the books the prices seemed reasonable. He showed me the receipts in their book and she not only was changing the price but also recording false names. I assured Andrew how much I appreciated his integrity and his willingness to rectify the wrongdoing. So I received a refund from NLM. I also had a chance to see the new oven they are building. It is mimicking Musana's although on a smaller scale. The man building it was amazing to watch. He was so intent on it being perfect... must be a type A personality. Andrew said by changing their cooking system it will cut their feeding budget (because of the cost of wood for burning) by almost 50%. That is money that can go somewhere else!!

 

I did get to see Liz again and she has the most beautiful smile. She is a perfect version of Ruth just in the mini form. She is the sweet child we are sponsoring through NLM and her smile just melts my heart. Now I am heading to the secondary school to pick up Hannah as she's been painting their dining hall all day and it is blistering hot. I am sad to see our days coming to a close but am anxious to see my family.

 

We just came by the secondary to pick up Hannah (saving her walking home with all the paint cans) and I bought a beautiful picture from Isaac, the art instructor. It is a beautiful drawing of a zebra done in charcoal. Hannah has finished another mural. The problem is once she's done one in an area they all want more, more, more!! She has now crashed and is napping until we head out to the prison!!! She might want to spend the night there to get some rest!!

 

On the way to the prison we picked up Stephen Baidu (he coordinated with the prison director) and Bridget (who use to teach at Bulubandi). It was good to see Baidu again and he was very helpful in getting us through the prison system. The prison director, Nicholas, was very nice but the people under him hadn't learned his kindness. First, no cameras were allowed so I used my James Bond moves and used my phone. Then we were not permitted to take the sanitary napkin kits in being told they would distribute them later. When we mentioned this to the women they assured us they would never receive them. So we went back in and retrieved them from the main office, deciding it was better to ask forgiveness then permission. No one even gave us a second look until we started distributing them. Then the guards came out of the woodwork with arms outstretched. Everyone received a kit and the women were so grateful!! Kathy what you are doing is an amazing blessing and I thank you for your heart. Andrew approved going to the prison and the remainder of the kits will go to NLM where Bridget will give them to those in need.

 

 

Hello- Hannah here again :)

 

Going to the prison today was really hard. Some of these women are in for really minor offenses. Others were not even sure of their crimes. They seemed to be stuck in limbo - caught in a crack of Uganda's justice system. When we came to visit them, a woman from Kenya was also there because she preaches to them once a week. She was a very forceful speaker and shouted at these women that they were loved and God had a plan for their life. It was overwhelming- but many woman were touched and encouraged. I am so glad we got to hand each one a sanitary napkin kit. Each kit came in a beautiful handmade bag and contained a couple pairs of underwear, 2 or 3 hand sewn pads and 7 or 8 inserts that are held in the pads. These inserts are made of a special liquid-resistant material I believe. These were beautifully made, practical gifts. I was struck by how much care and love was put into making them. The women in the prison will not leave my thoughts soon. My verse for them tonight is Psalm 73:25&26

"Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

 

I love you all,

 

Sue

 

 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

July 12th

So we are off to Kampala in the pouring rain. Hannah is staying behind (not sure what she will do if the rain doesn't stop... maybe rest). She literally painted yesterday for about 8 hours and once she sat down she realized just how tired she was. Kyemba, Denis and I are off to the US Embassy to see about Kyemba's visa and then are going to enroll Denis in University. He has done all the leg work so it appears he really wants to further his education. He wants to be a social worker and good social workers are desperately needed in this country.

We sprang Alisat from the hospital last night with some serious concerns. Her roommates in the ward have actually expressed their frustration at the lack of care by the mother. I'm seriously afraid that once back in the village her mother will not invest in her and she will get sick again. This is the part of the system that really hurts my heart and why I believe Musana is so well run. Medical care can't be provided on a one time only basis. There needs to be follow up both with the patient and the parent. I know in my heart I have done what I could but it just doesn't seem enough. And that is so sad! Yesterday at the feeding program children's vitamins were being distributed to everyone who passed through. They were even being given to very young children with no adult present; and I mean children as young as 3. They were explained to take one a day but does a three year old understand that especially when the vitamins look just like candy??? There was one very sick (very malnourished) baby and even though the mother AND grandmother said it was Ok to take him to the hospital we did not because the father (who was not there) did not give his permission. Later I learned that because no permission was granted if the baby passed away we would be held liable! It is hard for me to see especially in light of how well taken care of and loved my own two grandchildren are.

This has been a very difficult trip for me because my eyes have been opened in ways I never anticipated. The culture has been established here for centuries that the white man is rich and expected to give, give, give. I think we have done a reasonably good job with this but I do see that better boundaries need to be set. I love to give but I want to give to people and things that are going to thrive. Not just a handout! And I want to know that people are happy to see me as a person and not as a wallet. This is where Musana excels. It is relational always!

Between the trucks on the road and the bathroom stops for the boys we are not moving very quickly. Slow and steady is the motto for the day. The traffic makes Highway 281 looks like a race track. Between cars, big trucks, motorcycles, bicycles and people walking the streets are packed. No one stops at cross streets they just merge into traffic. You had always be prepared to slam on your breaks. Needless to say, the biggest car always wins! Although Kyemba gives them a run for their money!

Well the Embassy was a bust. We made it through security and to the main window but no further. I wasn't surprised but I was disappointed for Kyemba. He really is a good man.

So we continued in to Kyambogo University to enroll Denis. Again we made it through security, although no one even blinked an eye as we passed through. We made it to the main window and actually walked down the hall to admissions where we were not greeted favorably. The admission list will NOT be out until Friday she said and turned away to talk on her phone. But you all know me! I can be a little persistent when need be so I continued to ask questions. Jack, she estimated the cost of schooling to be about 1,500,000 shillings per semester not including boarding. There is no boarding on campus so he will have to find a place to stay. So all in all except for the conversation between the three of us today was totally non-productive. When we go to the airport on MondayKyemba will bring Denis back to the school to figure it all out. Meanwhile I can update Pastor Andrew so he can take charge when I leave.

Tomorrow I am planning on going to Pastor Andrews in the morning to finish up some discussions and then we are going to
visit the women in the prison. I just heard from Edward and we are going to do a follow up with the two little kids that were dropped in the prison last week. I am so glad I can see them and where they are before I go.

So everything in Uganda is a surprise. On the way back Kyemba stopped on the side of the road. I had no idea why!! And then he pointed out a camel walking up the street. So in natural Uganda form we  each got on and took it for a spin along the main highway. I'm sure that was a sight for sore eyes. The Mzungu on camel. Only in Uganda. What a treat!! Hannah is going to be sorry she missed the adventure but she will get to experience Trivia tonight at Sol! I can't wait to see what masterpiece she has created today!!!

We stopped at the Source for lunch (no food since last night is not good for the soul) and ran into Peter and Kenneth Isabyre. Both were very nice and friendly however Sandy Merrick was with them and she was not quite so welcoming. She made it perfectly clear that I was not welcome at the children's house!! I find it so incredibly sad that they aren't really concerned about the kids welfare but I feel I can now close the door on that ministry. I am so thankful for the kids we have moved and the love and support they are receiving! Thanks to those of you who are making this happen!! By the way, there is one more child, Augustine Lemukol, who is wanting to enter Senior 1. We have talked to Andrew about letting him join their program (he was a child at Phil's) but are looking for a sponsor. The cost is $50 a month, although the first payment could be a little higher as they will need to purchase him a uniform and bedding. If you are interested, or know someone who might be, please let me know. He has pursued me for a year in interest to continue his education so I know he is serious. I would sponsor him but Steve and I already sponsor three others.

Hello (Hannah here)
I am tagging along on Sue's blog. She always has much more varied days than me so I graciously let her blog most nights ;) Today I... drumroll please... PAINTED!!! I know it doesn't sound very exciting but I am having a lovely time painting and chatting with Musana's staff as they come up to watch me work. I asked God at the beginning of the week to give me the strength and creativity to complete 3 more murals- as of today I have completed 10! It has been so rewarding to see the campus slowly come to life with murals as the week has progressed. I know God has really blessed me this week with an extra portion of strength and creativity.

Finally, tonight I ordered the whole fish at Sol View tonight-head and all! It was delicious :) I also really enjoyed hanging out with Dezi (Andrea and Haril's daughter) this morning while I waited for the rain to stop. We listened to music and danced and ate goldfish. It was a great day at Musana.

That's all for me tonight!

Signing out - Hannah

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

As I write this it is 12:25 pm. We got up early thi

As I write this it is 12:25 pm. We got up early this morning to say goodbye to the Colorado team and then waited for Kyemba to come. Part of me loves the fact that Uganda has NO sense of time and part of me starts each day frustrated and behind schedule. Our first stop was the clinic to check on Alisat. When we arrived I was told the doctor was still on rounds and could I wait 40 minutes. Instead we went into town and bought her some onesies as the mother wasn't covering her at night which was not helping her pneumonia. When we returned about 15 minutes later the doctor had been called into an emergency with no knowledge of when he'd be out. So we headed to Kokombo for our 11 am meeting with Pastor Wilson although by now it was 11:45 (which by Uganda standards is early). Now it is 12:30 and we are no closer to the village then when we started. But we've picked up 4 extra people I've never seen before and I'm told there are no more stops along the way. Well that was wrong we just stopped again and Kyemba hopped out... my stomach is in knots as we have a commitment at 6 pm tonight and we are moving at a snails pace. Then after that we have to pick up the baby and take her back to Kokomo!!! I see a very long day in my future! This stop was for chapati so it isn't all bad!!!

The two women we picked up are nutritionists and will spend the time educating the mothers on properly feeding their kids. We also have a midwife with us.

So it became a little more than Wilson's feeding program. We gave children's vitamins to everyone who passed through and prenatal vitamins to many pregnant women. To start the clinic we had to wait for the community leader to come and speak. Then there were introductions followed by a short sermon from Wilson. This was followed by education from a midwife, a talk about AIDS and farming and the best foods to feed children. It was at least an hour before the medical part of the day even began. We had only three children that qualified for the plumpy nut and that was a blessing. But this was a village where medical care is rare and so many showed up. The clinic was held in a classroom that resembled a barn and there was a poor teacher actually trying to teach over the crying and screaming. I am now trying to round them all up and head them out. Easier said then done!!!

While I was gone Hannah painted two murals today. They are both amazing and she is now exhausted. Tomorrow while I am in Kampal she is going to paint more! God bless her in this hot sun!

Hannah, Kristen, Kaitlin and I walked to Sol View for dinner where we met Kyemba, his wife, Hadija and Said. Dinner was wonderful and Julie Page you should know Hadija is now calling her baby Julie in honor of you. Pretty cool. We had a good time and h e returned to no electricity so I am off to bed.

Love you all.
Sue


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Sunday, July 9, 2017

This has been a really fun weekend. I'd like to say

This has been a really fun weekend. I'd like to say we worked hard but the truth is we hardly worked. Yesterday morning the secondary had a sports day with all the track and field events. They used the field behind the elementary school where we watched the soccer game last year. Musana actually marked the field with lanes for all the running event. And they also had long jump, shot put, javelin (a long stick) and high jump. The first event of the day was the 10,000 meter (in excess of 24 laps). They started with 8 participants and by the end there were only 3 left. The others gave it their best shot but dropped out before finishing. One young boy ran slow but steady but with everyone dropping like flies he came in third! I would have quit after the first lap and I was so proud of them. I The secondary was divided into teams and the winning team at the end of the day got a goat to eat with a party this coming Saturday! It was hot but so much fun to watch the competition and how the students rallied around each person. As usual Musana did a great job and it was fun to be a small part of it (even if we were just the cheer squad).

After lunch the team from Colorado, Hannah and I went to the sail club in Jinja and took a boat tour around Lake Victoria. The boat was standard Ugandan style and it was so quiet on the lake. After the tour we ate dinner outside with the lake as our view. I had talapia and it was wonderful. In front of the restaurant was a huge statue of a tyrannosaur Rex. A little odd but I know Owen will love the pictures!!

Today we got up early and headed back to Wild Waters Resort with Leah, Umar, Kristy, Kaitlin, Erin, Hannah, Kyemba and myself. It rained on the way but once we got there the sun came out and it was beautiful. The Nile was so much lower today then last week and I was blessed by Hannah taking me on the last site Haril took our team too. Oh my goodness, it was phenomenal. The view was amazing and there was literally a gap where if you stepped into it you would fall into the Nile. The current of the water was so fast that the water was splashing up in the air quite high. We did have a relaxing day. We actually sat and read for most the day but also had a chance to have some meaningful conversation. On the way back we have stopped at a Mexican, yes Mexican restaurant for dinner. The food is in an out of the way location but the food was good. Even Kyemba ate Mexican; a chimichanga...

Please be in prayer for Kyemba. He has been diagnosed with typhoid and has not been himself the last few days, though when we ask he says, "I'm fine mum". He has been receiving treatment at Musana's clinic but is still not feeling great. Hopefully tomorrow will be better! We are hoping to go to Kampala tomorrow to get Dennis enrolled in University and to stop by the US Embassy to see if we can help with Kyemba's visa. I'm not very encouraged that it will happen but we are going to give it the old college try. From what I have heard getting a visa out of Uganda is extremely difficult if not impossible! Hannah will stay behind and paint the next building! Yeah Hannah!!

It looks like Kampala is being pushed back to Wednesday. I am waiting on a letter from Haril regarding Kyemba and want to go with the best ammunition I have.

I love you all!
Sue




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