Blogs from 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 » Queen Elizabeth NP July 17th 2019

It’s me again! I am not on the road to Kampala, but I still need to catch up on my blogging. My last post finished when I returned to Rugazi to begin our community placement (the real deal this time). Divided into the groups Rugazi A and B, twenty of us packed into a MUST bus and sped down the speed-bump-riddled roads to the Rubirizi district (we call our roadtrips African massages since you get shaken up pretty well). Upon arrival, we realised had no running water again. No big deal, because it will come back on right away right? Not so this time, and our custodian/babysitter (because we’re clueless as babies) Martin recruited the guys haul 20L jerry cans for our water needs. This is when I learnt the interesting way that Ugandans close their ... read more
Our banana caps
Latrine squad

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 » Queen Elizabeth NP July 1st 2019

Hello bloggers and family, So again I must apologize for the 2 weeks it has been since I last updated, life in Rugazi is busy. We are working mornings in the clinic and then in the afternoon we head out to the community to work on our project. This last Tuesday I woke up pretty sick, along with a few of the other Canadian students, so we ran some blood tests and we all tested positive for a bacterial infection. So it has been an interesting few days hooked up to intravenous (IV) fluids, but 24 hours after starting antibiotics and I am back to my crazy self. I never imagined myself running IV fluids from the bars in my window in a village in Africa, but a new experience nonetheless. I hate that I haven’t ... read more
the children making their own pads
teaching the children
teaching the children to make pads

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Queen Elizabeth NP June 28th 2019

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 ... read more
Interviews and interventions
Playing pretend
Ninkukunda munonga!

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Queen Elizabeth NP June 26th 2019

The last two weeks have been jam packed. We completed our community health training at MUST with the Ugandan students. The days were full of classroom learning and our evenings were spent with Kenneth and Resty (our Ugandan friends) exploring Mbarara, enjoying local restaurants, street food (lots of rolex), and night life. That weekend we embarked for Rugazi again, this time accompanied by our Ugandan counterparts. We have spent the last two weeks at the same health centre I described in my last entry. I have found myself establishing a niche on the maternity ward. I find I can be most useful there and I am learning so much from the midwives, who are all so good to me. The mothers and babies are also incredible. I'm in awe every day of the resiliency of the ... read more
Our Rugazi community team with a local Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA) and our Village Health Team (VHT) member
View from one of our runs
Part of the Health Centre IV where we live and work

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Queen Elizabeth NP June 16th 2019

Agandi! It seems that I'm beginning to run on Ugandan time, so my apologies if you were beginning to feel impatient waiting for another delayed post. This blog post will be brief--which may end up becoming the Ugandan sense of "brief" which probably means that it will take longer than you would have anticipated even before I mentioned the word "brief". Sorry, but not sorry. ;) If you want to get a better sense of this Ugandan time I have been mentioning, here's a quick and dirty summary on our experiences with the lingo regarding time: Be there in five minutes means "I haven't left yet". It takes about ten minutes translates to a range of anywhere between 30 minutes and 3 hours. Soooo the pace of life is definitely slower here, which I have come ... read more
Mango Madness
"B" is for Best
Roadtrip to Rugazi

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