Blogs from Mbarara, Western Region, Uganda, Africa


Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Mbarara August 1st 2019

Hi All, I have spent the last two weeks in Mbarara volunteering in the emergency department at the government-run Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital. I was fortunate enough to experience such a breadth of cases in such a short time. I saw all kinds of emergencies and realized that, although tropical diseases can be so different from western ones, the types of cases that present in the emergency department are very similar. There was a lot of trauma (mostly from boda boda accidents or mob justice), overdose, burns, stroke, hypertensive crisis, and the like. I felt comfortable and useful in surgical emergency because it was highly procedure-based. While speaking very minimal Runyankole, I am able to perform procedures but taking a history or constructing a differential diagnosis with physicians proved difficult due to the language barrier. I ... read more

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Mbarara July 31st 2019

Hello Bloggers, Friends, and Family, I am no longer going to apologize for my tardiness when it comes to uploading blogs, as I have come to terms with who I am as a person. This past few weeks have been absolutely amazing, I have been working on the maternity unit at the Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital, mainly in the labour suite and antenatal ward. These two areas of the ward are for women prior to active labour and then active labour. So I have been doing so much baby cuddling, since beginning on the labour ward I have helped deliver roughly 25 babies. I have been able to be part of 2 successful infant resuscitations. The first was a preterm infant at 32 weeks, he was so tiny but his little heart was beating so hard, ... read more
Sister Peruth and I
The sisters and I

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Mbarara July 21st 2019

Agandi! Warning: extra long post ahead, to make up for the ever-growing gaps between posts. And Happy National Ice Cream Day! Technically it's an American thing, but I'm going to unofficially declare it as an international holiday as additional justification for my ice cream intake. ;) We've been all over the place these past couple of weeks--first to Kampala, then Gulu, then back to Kampala, and coming "home" to Mbarara last Monday. We got scooped up into some of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into our supervisors' research with adolescent nutrition and sexual/reproductive health and rights (SRHR). We sat in on some meetings with representatives from BRAC international (an organization that actively promotes and provides opportunities for the empowerment of women), and various universities and hospitals. It was very interesting to talk to the public health ... read more
Mulago Malnutrition Ward
The Kampala Team
Hospital, Here we Come!

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Mbarara July 16th 2019

Hi everyone! The last week has been jam packed with travel across the country in a giant green mystery machine-esque van. This week has been filled with emotional lability. It began when we had to leave Rugazi and I had to say goodbye to what had become my Ugandan family. Leaving the health workers, community members, and Ugandan students that we had lived with for the last month proved more difficult than I expected. Then our supervisors picked us up to travel to Kampala and Gulu to administer preliminary surveys and attend meetings for their research project on health-seeking behaviours in adolescent girls. We stayed in relatively lavish accommodations and ate at fancy restaurants; this incited waves of guilt. I left people I cared about and who grew to care about me, for what? To live ... read more

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Mbarara July 8th 2019

Good morning! I am writing from the road between Mbarara and Kampala. These past weeks have been filled with adventures, and I’ve done a poor job at keeping up with my blog. However, in the spirit of keeping a faithful recollection of my trip, I will make a blog post for every week I’ve missed. Since I will be on the road these next few days as we travel between Kampala, Gulu, and Mbarara, I will have plenty of time and no excuse to avoid blogging. The funny thing is that I enjoy writing and I am always so satisfied when I post a blog. But I always want to add so much detail to my posts, making the writing process quite time-consuming. And so I stop writing because I’d rather be doing other things. Last ... read more
Happiest moment of the day
Our tumor fruit
The best (worst) kept secret of MUST

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Mbarara May 31st 2019

Welcome back, fellow traveler! I'm sniffling a bit, partly because I am just so overjoyed that you're still following this blog, and partly because I think I have a cold (mostly the latter). Where did we leave off last time? Oh yes, our rendezvous with the Michigan crew. Our Ugandan friend, Marius, had brought over some delicious mangoes and fried grasshoppers the evening prior, and we brought the little "critter fritters" over to share. I daresay the little 'hoppers weren't exactly delicious, but they were palatable enough if you didn't stare at them too hard and gross yourself out. Anywho, we didn't exactly scare the Americans off, but they have since left (ie. fled) to a week of community placements while we continue to pass the time with no fixed itinerary. Since we had a very ... read more
Warm welcomes and wedding invites
First home-cooked community supper!
Another land of living skies

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Mbarara May 29th 2019

Greetings from Mbarara! What’s new? After six days in this new city, we managed to flood our bathroom, subsequently run out of water, and get invited to a Ugandan wedding! But first things first: Mbarara is a busy and bustling city. My first impression: wow, there are so many boda bodas! These Ugandan taxis on motorcycles are as numerous as cars and are way more reckless on the road (which is saying something since vehicle drivers are notoriously reckless). They also can carry up to three passengers behind the driver or transport large bunches of bananas, parcels, or even goats on occasion. Mbarara has held nothing but surprises so far. While some things may seem similar, in reality, almost everything is different. For example, the toilets in our house: we didn’t know that the toilet handle ... read more
Enjoying a lazy afternoon at the pool
Shrimp or Grasshopper?

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Mbarara May 28th 2019

We made it to Mbarara! This past week we finished up touring in Entebbe and set out for Mbarara. We drove from Entebbe to Mbarara (about five hours) through the countryside, stopping at the equator on the way. We took our picture at the circle denoting the equatorial line and there was supposedly a display demonstrating The Coriolis Effect on water, but since it was raining we decided to stop for it on our way back to Kampala. It rained the whole drive but the countryside was still picturesque. After leaving the cities (Entebbe and Kampala), the landscape became rolling, lush, green hills and constant communities. Unlike Saskatchewan, we were never driving on a stretch of uninhabited highway for more than a few minutes. The communities were so frequently occurring that the drive was never dull ... read more
Eating grasshopper
Our first family meal in Mbarara

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Mbarara May 23rd 2019

Hello again, Ki kati! Time seems to pass slowly as we meander through the days in Uganda. And yet, looking back on these past couple of weeks, it amazes me how the days have blurred and flown past faster than a reckless boda boda driver (motorcycle taxis that we are strongly discouraged to take rides from). So here we are now, third post of the trip, and already approaching the end of May! We spent the weekend on the Ssese Islands, where we did typical "island/resort" things like sunbathe, swim, and eat delicious food. Since it is the end of the rainy season we had to wait out quite a bit of rain, but we were still able to soak up some rays (and vitamin D!) during our time there. We even went for a run, ... read more
We've crossed the line...
Time for takeout!
Snack attack: kit kat edition

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Mbarara May 23rd 2019

Hello blog world, its been a week since my last blog and I am wanting to update at least once a week, since my last post… I have been and gone to Ssese islands, we ended up going to the biggest of all the islands Bugala Island. We stayed in Kalangala at the Brovad Sands resort. It was so beautiful, we stayed 2 days and 3 nights, unfortunately the ferry to take us across from Entebbe was supposed to leave at 2pm… but we didn’t leave Entebbe until after 6pm, so it was dark by the time we reached the islands, so we just ate and crashed hard from the day of hanging out in the sun. I wouldn’t complain though as we got to lounge in the grass right on the edge of lake victoria, ... read more

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