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Published: August 9th 2015
After we returned from our weekend in Rwanda, Brit and I only had one full day in the field left, where we taught one of our communities how to make donuts. Kahenda is one of the first communities we started to work with way back in 2007, and it is also one of our oldest communities, comprised mostly of widows. Back in June when we attended their community meeting they asked if we could provide training on how to make donuts. Since the community is almost entirely made up of elderly women, the goat project wasn’t a great fit for them anymore; the physical labour in caring for livestock was becoming too much for them and they are often the target of thieves because they cannot protect themselves well anymore. They are hoping to use making donuts and other sweets as a new source of income. Kahenda is also a very far out and isolated community with little to no amenities or health clinic, so we also invited the LCP nursing students to come along and give them a health talk.
Upon arrival in Kahenda we were all greeted with the warmest welcome we have ever received in
any of the communities! All the women came over and shook each of our hands and gave us hugs, thanking us for coming to see them that day. I had no idea they would be so excited to see us! Before we could get started they gave us each a warm millet and sorghum porridge… which smelled and kind of tasted like vinegar. Trying to be polite I managed to choke mine down, but Brit was gagging too much to even get through half of hers. All I can think of is how my politeness is probably going to get me several dates with the porcelain throne later tonight.
After prayers and quick introductions, Janaya and Anthony were going to present on cervical cancer and STI’s. Back in June they did a placement in Rugazi and along with health care students from Mbarara they chose these topics to focus on in that community. A bunch of 80 year old widows might not make for the most appropriate audience for these topics but it’s what they had already been prepared for. Janaya discussed cervical cancer, which is the most common cancer in Uganda and talked about its relationship
to HPV. The women were really interested in doing a cervical cancer screening so we’re hoping to organize an outreach camp to come to their community in the future. Following this, Anthony talked about all of the different STI’s that are prevalent in Uganda. Not realizing this is a community of widows, he also lectured on the importance of being faithful to your husband or wife… oops. Fortunately, they didn’t seem to mind though. I was quite blown away by all the questions and openness the women had when it came to discussing any health issues they may be having. I can’t say I would be quite that comfortable talking in public about the spots that itch and the fluids and discharges that may be affecting my nether regions.
Finally it was the time everyone was most excited for - donut making! We hired a friend of Shafiq’s to teach the group all that she knew about making the tasty deep fried sweets. The training went well and the ladies got a chance at making donuts and we all sampled some of the finished product. I now know how to cut the shape of donuts using a
cup and a bottle cap! The community also all came together and contributed to preparing a massive feast of traditional food for all of us as well. It was such a kind gesture and they were very excited to share it with us.
Just as we were saying our goodbyes and about to leave, Katarina, the community chairperson, started to clap her hands and sing, with the group joining in. I’m not sure if they were on a sugar high or just so thrilled that we came to visit them, but a bunch of the women started singing and dancing. One even picked up a jerrycan to create a drum beat! It was absolutely beautiful and we all were almost tearing up a little before the performance was over. I was overwhelmed by how much this day meant to these women. It was the most perfect way to finish our last day in Mbarara.
Yay! Short blog!
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