Friday, February 15, 2013

Uganda part I

I can't believe that I have been in Uganda for 5 days now. My time is almost halfway done. Every few hours I have to pinch myself and say " I am in Africa". I feel blessed beyond belief that I am so lucky to have this opportunity.  I went to Peru for a medical mission back in 1999 and said then that it is something that I would have to do again. I didn't think it would take me 14 years, but I guess I've been a little busy!

This is such a beautiful country and the people are very friendly. I can definitely feel the British influence especially at their insistence for taking tea regardless of what is going on around them! We spent about 7 hours setting up on Saturday. By far the best part was playing with the kids while they waited to have their ECHOs done. Smiling for the camera and saying "cheese!" is universal language! We went to a couple of the markets.  They make such beautiful things and are so grateful for purchases.  I haven't let them down there! On Sunday we had a conference with our team and the Ugandan team to look at the patients that we intend to do procedures. More market shopping and a swim in the pool. There is such a great group of people here from the US. Most have been here before and are quite fun to hang with.

Monday was our first day in the hospital. I was going in late and spending the morning touring the countryside.  Feeling way too much like this was a vacation instead of a medical mission.  We drove to Jinja.  Actually someone drove us.  Driving style here is as crazy as in China but with a lot less people.  We rented 4-wheelers to drive out to see the Nile. We drove through the beautiful countryside but basically through a bunch of "villages". Children were running out of their mud huts, some had brick homes.  They would come out yelling, waving, wanting their picture taken.  It was interesting that the area around their huts were completely manicured.  The dirt perfectly tamped down, no trash. We saw women cutting the grass with machetes. Despite such limited means they seemed to take pride in their surroundings. So different than in the US. We stopped in front of one house that had this beautiful flowering tree.  These children came out and took flowered from the tree and gave them to us. It was such a beautiful gesture.  I just felt so... American.  Here I was, riding a  4wheeler right past their homes. What I paid for the hour I could have clothed and fed many of these Children.  It felt so ridiculously extravagant and frivolous. I just wanted to hand over all of my money to these kids.... Just to give them anything I had.  On the other hand, if I wasn't American there is a pretty good chance that I wouldn't have the means to even be here helping kids.  And that is what I needed to do.  I felt that I had to go to the hospital NOW to do what I came to do in Uganda.

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