Just had a fantastic two weeks gaining work experience at a hospital in the west of Uganda, near the Congo border! Two people I knew from the UK, now work in Kagando Hospital and Kagando Primary School and let me come visit in my holidays. Not sure where to start really but the whole experience was amazing and very exciting right down to the fact I got my own house with RUNNING WATER and regular electricity. It was a bit of a case of how many showers is it possible to have two weeks! Furthermore the food was also amazing I got CHEESE!!!! in various forms as it is a very rare treat in Uganda normally. We had cheese toasties, cheese on pizza, cheese and pickle sandwiches and macaroni cheese!
Looks like all I did there was eat cheese for two weeks but that wasn't the case. Every morning I followed a doctor on their ward rounds, I was fortunate in that I got to go round a range of wards from surgical to paediatrics and neonatal to medical as well as spending some time in the Out Patient Department. As you would expect in many cases the patients were in with complewtely different medical complaints from what you would find in the UK. There was a lot of malaria, typhoid and other water borne diseases as well as sickle cell, T.B and HIV/AIDS in the medical wards. The surgical wards saw many cases of gut perforation caused by typhoid, various injuries caused by boda boda's the motorbike transport here, also one man who had hit a landmine while digging a pit latrine and had various wounds with shrapnel in them. I'm pleased to say that I managed not to faint or feel squeamish at my time in the hospital. I was also allowed to go on two outreaches while I was away one was a pallative care outreach which I found quite hard to follow at times as they all except me spoke Lukonzo, the language spoken into that area which to go off on a tangent is really difficult to understand however I managed to learn to say 'Obercheerie'- Hello and 'Wasinja'- Thank you! The other outreach I went on was Ocuupational Therapy outreach which was one of my favourite things I did. We went to a village so close to Congo that my mobile company sent me a text saying 'safe travels out of Uganda'. We were suppose to there be meeting 15 disabled people however when we turned up in the car, sitting on grass outside the man's house who had arranged the visit, sat 49 patients. It was a long afternoon! The patients again were quite varied with disabilities from down syndrome and cerebal palsy to one boy who had had his legs eaten off by rats. It was definietely an eye opener as to how little support and care there is out here for people with disabilities, particualry as patients who were clearly intelligent who had been denied education due to having problems such as epilepsy as people believe it can be caused by spirits and so therefore are too scared to integrate them into society.
In the afternoons while at Kagando I got to help run holiday clubs for local children in nearby churches. The children sang songs and learnt games which could be played with limited items so could be carried on by community leaders, that is however with the exception of parachute games! One game invloved hitting a water bottle over from a distance with a flip flop while standing on a chair (not as easy as it sounds!) and another involved racing balloons round a circle!
It wasn't all work however, on my weekend off in the middle a UK GP and his wife who were at the hospital for a month took me on safari. We didn't actually enter Queen Elizabeth National Park as the majority of what you can see in the park you are almost as likely to see outside of it as there are no fences and the crossing for water lies just outside one of the park gates. We saw elephants, hippos, water buck, buffalo, monkeys, baboons, and my favourite wart hog as well as a heap of birds.
Comming back home to Kabembe signalled the end of my two months off for the holidays and the beginning of my next twelve weeks teaching.