Edit Blog Post
Published: June 19th 2016
Going to work in the rain
We actually needed to dress like this even though we were only walking 20 steps. Note the poncho since I figured my water-resistant jacket probably wasn't up to the challenge.
This week was busy! There was not a lot for us to do in maternity so we tried to make ourselves useful in other places. Wednesday it was very cold and pouring rain. None of the Ugandan students woke up to go to work. The clinic is primarily staffed by students, so when we arrived at work, the outpatient clinic was open but no one was present to run lab tests. One quick training session later and my super nurses, Dayna and Britany, were drawing blood and running tests for HIV, malaria and TB. My job was to record the results in the laboratory test register and return the charts to the clinic officer. It was nice to do something different for a change.
Thursday we all took an hour off in the morning to do laundry. We decided we deserved it since we were the few who had reported to work in the rain the previous day. The maternity ward we are stationed in this week has about 15 beds. You walk through the main area to a small windowed room where the women deliver. Chickens sometimes also walk through labour and delivery (another culture shock moment). People often
walk through the delivery area on their way to an appointment in an attached side room, so even that area is not exactly private. Thursday we had two women go into labour and I got to see my first birth, a beautiful baby girl. The second woman who went into labour was eventually sent to a higher health centre in an ambulance (which in Uganda is a pickup truck). The baby wasn’t descending like it should and she may have needed a C-section.
On Friday, Jillian, Joline and Ambrose presented information on the link between HIV and nutrition. Jillian did research for and formatted the presentation and posters. She had the information translated and wrote it all out in the local language. There were a few laughs in our common room while creating the first draft when she was told that a spelling mistake made a sentence read: “water is important for life and is necessary to shit every day.” Joline did all of the colouring (water colour pencil crayons) and Ambrose translated and presented the information in the local language. Micheal, the clinical officer joined in for the presentation. I can’t believe how involved the audience
was. There were even many questions. I’m so proud of Jill for the initiative she took in creating this fantastic presentation.
My week sounds busy just from our clinical work and commitments, but it was actually the community portion of our days that kept us going non-stop. This week we prepared for and visited three different schools. On Thursday we were at the Secondary school. Working in the schools is easier than directly in the community because all of the students speak English. Here we first presented some brief information about the careers that we are pursuing (nursing, nutrition, medicine, laboratory sciences and pharmacy). After that, we performed a play about HIV transmission. Maria came up with the story line and her and I wrote the play together. Most of us performed in it, and I think the kids really enjoyed it.
Friday morning after the HIV presentation the Group A (my group) members visited a kindergarten with the Group B members. The focus of Group B’s community work is increasing male involvement in childcare – specifically antenatal care. As part of their interventions, we all helped the children make cards for Father’s Day and sent home invitations
for a Father’s Day event. Friday afternoon my group visited the Primary school for a presentation. Sarah and I presented information on the Ugandan food groups (proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins). After that, other group members presented information on hygiene. Then we took all of the girls for a short explanation of menstruation, which is not often taught in Ugandan schools.
Saturday it was rainy again. Market days in Rugazi are only Wednesday and Saturday so I was disappointed that it was too muddy to walk around the market. The muzungus watched a movie in the morning – The Last King of Scotland. After lunch Carrie, Brooklyn, Sarah, Ambrose and I walked about an hour down the highway to a neaby orphanage – The House of Love. Here we had tea with the workers and then played games with the kids. There were no toys out but the workers managed to offer creative and fun games using simple items – toilet paper, a cup, and a rock. The workers there were so great with the kids and we all really got into the games. The big group games reminded me of coaching and working summer camps at the gym –
I loved teaching the children to write on their cards.
such fun! It was so nice to see all of the kids laughing and smiling. The orphanage also had a small gift shop that sold small souvenir items made by the children in their months off from school. The entire experience was very peaceful and refreshing and I cannot wait to return. We rode boda bodas home for the return trip. On the boda boda I realized how quickly I have adjusted to certain everyday things such as walking on the side of the highway, riding a motorcycle without a helmet and not wearing seatbelts (sorry mom – times 3).
Sunday was also busy. I woke up late but still managed to make it to the Catholic mass. The service was all in the local language but the singing, dancing and drumming were really nice. I would like to try to go to the Protestant church next weekend. By halfway through the service we had an alter boy approach us with a note asking us to please come to the front of the church at the end of mass and introduce ourselves to the congregation. After lunch, everyone made their way to the Kindergarten for the Father’s Day event
hosted by Group A. Here we presented fathers with the card their child made and gave everyone a small blue badge to put on their shirt. The badges came with cards that explained that the badge represented support and appreciation for Rugazi fathers.
The rest of the day I just rested; did some yoga, had a drink and sorted some pictures out. Tonight was one of my favourite meals – chicken, matoke and rice. We buy the chickens live and someone “prepares” them on Sundays for us. This is fairly different from the way I usually have my chicken; deep fried, covered in buffalo sauce and brought directly to my table at the Fox. Here our meals are very large and people don’t really snack. In the rural area, access to treats is also quite limited. I’m really regretting not buying more chocolate in Mbarara!
This upcoming week we will be doing more work on our group’s community project. We have chosen the topic of Family Planning. Tomorrow we will be continuing the process of interviewing members of our village on their knowledge of and experience with Family Planning. I feel like we have fallen a little bit
behind on this particular project, so I’m expecting this week to be really busy again! This week in the morning we are working in the outpatient department again. Since we have purchased automatic blood pressure cuffs for the clinic, Dayna and Britany have promised me that they will let me do something tomorrow. Taking temperatures, blood pressures with an automatic machine and watching for respiratory rate aren’t exactly in the dietetic scope but my nurses think I can manage.
Thanks for reading.
Happy Father's Day!
Tot: 1.437s; Tpl: 0.069s; cc: 7; qc: 51; dbt: 0.0522s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb