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June 28th 2019
Published: June 28th 2019
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Teaching moments on menstrual mattersTeaching moments on menstrual mattersTeaching moments on menstrual matters

Raising our hands in solidarity with all those who have begun menstruation! By the end of the week, we've even got the boys cheering: "menstruation is normal and healthy". Success? I think yes. :)
Agandi, and welcome back to the pearl of Uganda!

Another couple of weeks down in Rugazi, and we've successfully hashed out our team community projects! The supervisor finally paid us a visit, and gave us the OK for our "plan A" topic on menstrual health. We bought and brought over 300 packages of Afripads (Ugandan-made reusable cloth pads) with us and are looking forward to distributing the pads in the coming weeks as we educate girls in primary 4 - 7 (approximately ages 10-16) about menstrual hygiene and how to make their own cloth pads from the resources available to them. By giving the girls the skills to make these pads for themselves, we hope that this project will be sustainable and have an impact that goes beyond just handing out donations.

Thanks to Halimah, the thrifty and fearless leader of our pack, we've been able to figure out a workable pattern for the pads (Praise the Lord for people who are actually good at that kind of thing, because I am the opposite of talented at sewing and doing crafty things). We have already had the opportunity to go to a local school twice--once with a general survey
Interviews and interventionsInterviews and interventionsInterviews and interventions

I'm guessing it would be more than a little intimidating to have a bunch of mzungus surround you and ask you questions, but we were able to glean something valuable from each household that was willing to share with us.
of menstrual knowledge/perceptions and to provide some education, and once to teach the girls to make the cloth pads. Since I'm not a seamstress, I had the opportunity to interview individual girls about their menstrual habits instead (phew!). Next week we are hoping to go back to the school to drop off the step-by-step instructions for the pad-making, and to see how the girls did on their "homework" of making the cloth pads on their own. I have been so encouraged to meet the young ladies who I pray will become the future leaders and influencers in all spheres of society in Uganda (and beyond!), just like the awesome Ugandan students we currently have the privilege of working with.

This leads to a quick shout-out to my team: I really can't stress enough how blessed I am by the multiplicity of skills, personalities, and professions present in our Africa family. I am also loving the lack of drama and dysfunction that can often be part and parcel of travelling and living together for over a month (knock on wood). In addition to exchanging knowledge as we work together in the clinic and the community, the Canadian and Ugandan students
Playing pretend Playing pretend Playing pretend

We got to visit a traditional birth attendant in the village, who demonstrated on Halimah as the "pregnant mother". (disclaimer: she ain't actually pregnant)
have also been exchanging card games. The Ugandan students have taught us how to play "matatu" (cards) which is pretty much the equivalent of Uno, and we've shown them Dutch Blitz and Kaiser.

My morning clinic routine primarily consisted of rounds and the outpatient department these past couple of weeks, and I am hoping to participate in an HIV community outreach sometime before we head back to Mbarara. Although I thoroughly enjoy my experiences in the health centre (like seeing my first vaginal birth), the lack of resources available can be frustrating. For instance, it would be nice to be able to test for anemia, but the CBC machine is not functional. Babies often can't get their vitamin K injection to prevent hemorrhagic disease of the newborn (HDN) simply because there aren't small enough syringes kicking around. These are just a couple of examples, but I could fill a couple blogs with many more. There's also an apparent lack of human resources, at least in the qualified health professional department--although there's a bajillion of us students, the doctors are often MIA. This gives us quite the ethical dilemma when we get left in a room with a bunch of
Ninkukunda munonga!Ninkukunda munonga!Ninkukunda munonga!

Sending you all of the love from Rugazi, Team B(est), and some of our new village friends.
patients waiting outside, unable to prescribe and provide the care that people need and wishing we could do more. All of us have become quite familiar with the Ugandan clinical guidelines, but I am certainly limited in my scope of practice as a Canadian nutrition student.

Although there are limitations and things we can't do, one thing that we can do is throw a party! Earlier this week we celebrated Anne-Sophie's birthday, so we had the honour of ushering her into the second decade of life with a surprise cake and confetti that Kabazzi (Ugandan student) snagged from Mbarara for the big occasion. Stay tuned for July, where we will be celebrating Casey's and Haley's birthdays--their names constantly get mixed up, so it seems apt that they'd be birthday buddies. 😉

Power's been pretty good over here so I don't have an excuse for posting a week late, but I'll blame it on the fact that we now only have one wi-fi router between all of us...fingers crossed we find the other one before we head out of the community.

Until next time, Ogumeho (Stay well, bye bye!)

Lots of love,

~Angela

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Tot: 2.157s; Tpl: 0.057s; cc: 12; qc: 45; dbt: 0.0372s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 2; ; mem: 1.4mb