Sunday, June 17, 2007
A Sunday at NACMU
I awoke this morning with the idea that I should just fly home. I know I cannot do this, and I won't. But it is so tempting. When I arrived in Uganda, this woman in the customs line was saying to another woman, "I'm so glad you let me come along. I could never have done this by myself." And I thought 'how ridiculous.' Wow, am I eating those thoughts. And they are tasty, compared with minced meat stew and stale bread, let me tell you.
This morning I decided to distract myself with the children, so I went to the home and helped with the feeding and changing. I have decided that the bath assembly line is the most fun. At that time, the children are so happy to be getting out of their cribs, and it’s funny because every bath time seems to be a complete surprise to them. I plop their soapy little bodies in the water and they look at the water, look at me, look at the water, look at me and then laugh and splash and soak me.
Today I also attended the church on the compound. It was nice, though I had some trouble understanding it because the people spoke very softly. The Bible verse was Ezekiel 37:1-14; 37 is my lucky number. I decided to take it as a sign to stay. I thought attending church would be a good sign of solidarity to the Ugandan aunties. They seemed pleased that I came.
After church I went on a 3-hour walk with the Dutch volunteers. Again, I understood nothing that they said, which pushed me into speaking with our impromptu Ugandan guide. We wandered on to his property, and he offered to escort us through a jungle to the main road. I don’t know if he intended to walk us the entire way, but I talked with him for a long time about what the health needs are in his village and he seemed pleased that I was interested.
According to our guide, the biggest problem here is maternity care. He said many women do not have help delivering their babies, and that they have to ride on the back of bicycles to the nearest hospital, which is 20 kilometers from the village. Often there is no transport for women who need to be transferred from a clinic to a big hospital for surgery, and they must hire a car to get the laboring woman to the proper hospital. However, hiring a car for a person in labor (or any sort of medical emergency) is apparently twice the usual rate because the driver is risking carrying a dead person in his car, and then needing to drive the morgue.
Also, there are many accidents here, due to the number of boda bodas and the speeding and not paying attention to the road. Our guide said that it is very difficult to get anyone to stop and help with an accident, or to carry a person injured in an accident to a hospital, because often the driver / helper is accused of causing the accident and fined by the police. Also apparently there is no place close to here to set bones or deal with complicated injuries.
We are supposed to have our first meeting tomorrow to discuss the assessment project. I should know more about what I'll be doing for the next two weeks after that.
PS I cannot bring Abraham home, because in order to adopt a Ugandan child you have to stay in country for 3 years. So, since I am not interested in a 3 year stay here, no father Abraham for me. ☺
PPS I did have a very pleasant night last night talking with some of the other volunteers Amand (from Germany) and Conny (from The Netherlands – she arrived the same day as me and so far has been my salvation here).
PPPS I survived my first earthquake. Apparently I slept through it. Though I do remember wondering who would be rolling a suitcase around the containers at 11 at night. ☺