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Settling In

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It has been a few weeks since I have blogged. I finally have internet at home. It cost a small fortune and is slower than dial-up but at least I can send emails and feel a little more in touch with the outside world. Things are going great. Ryna, Stephanie and I went to Kampala on my birthday weekend. We went for TASO's annual meeting on Saturday and then stayed the night so that we could go out to dinner to celebrate my birthday. We went in search of a restaurant that has cheese. I have never missed cheese so bad in my life! We did find a place and the food was okay. My pizza actually looked like a pizza and didn't come topped with random vegetables like peas and carrots (which we have seen before). That night we stayed at Backpackers. It was my first experience at a hostel and it might be my last. I didn’t mind sharing the room with 12 people and I didn’t mind the bunk beds or the communal bathroom. However, it was loud and cold and our bed nets had holes that were sealed with Band-Aids. I can only hope they were not used Band-Aids! The next day we called our favorite driver to take us to get supplies from a REAL supermarket to bring back with us and then he took us to the bus park so that we could go back to Mbale. We walked into the bus park and men started coming at us from all directions. We said we wanted to take the Elgon Flyer Bus to Mbale. Everyone started yelling for us to come this way and that way. Men started grabbing our arms and pulling all of us in opposite directions and two guys started pushing and fighting over us. I got a "little" angry and started yelling. I might have threatened a few people not to touch my friends again and I think I might have actually scared one because he quickly stepped back. They are not used to women being aggressive. We finally got to the correct office and found out we had to wait 4 hours until the next bus left. So we sat in the office breathing exhaust and dozing off until it was time to leave. Now, we waited for the Elgon Flyer because they are the cleanest and safest buses to Mbale. The others pack people in like sardines and fly down the road. It was finally time to leave and we got on the bus. The three of us were relieved, put our bags under us and started reading our books. That is when we noticed the FIRST of many cockroaches. For the next 4 hours back to Mbale we were flicking cockroaches off of our legs, seats, windows, bags etc. It was a LONG ride home.

Since then Stephanie and I have completed forming our surveys for the clients and our surveys for the staff of the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission Program. We need to have them finalized with our preceptor and the head of the program but both are so busy they never have time to meet with us. We have also met a few more children from the clinic. There is one 4-year-old girl in particular that I absolutely adore. She comes to visit almost every day. She sits in the chair beside me and colors in our coloring book or draws pictures of the sun. She is adorable and knows it. The only problem is she doesn’t know much English and I don't know much Lugisu so she answers every one of my questions with "yes", except when I asked her how old she was and she quickly told me "seven" with an adorable smile. It makes me sad to know that she is positive, but as of right now she is healthy and may stay that way for a long time if she stays on her meds.

We went on our first outreach on Wednesday. TASO Mbale is the center not just for the town of Mbale but for the whole district which is quite large. Many people cannot travel all the way to the center so the doctors, nurses, pharmacists and counselors pack up and drive to different areas twice a week to reach those that cannot travel to the center. We traveled to Iki Iki and set up camp at a small health center. It was very basic; They had no running water and the toilet was a hole in the ground. We started the day off by helping the pharmacists count and pack the different medications for the patients. There were ARVs, stomach medicines, pain reliever, antibiotics etc. Then we went with the community nurse and the TASO nurse to do home visits. Home visits occur when the patient is too sick to reach even the outreach center. The community nurse is notified before the outreach and she informs the TASO nurse of who needs to be seen during home visits. We went with them into the village. This was the first time we had been into the villages. The roads were absolutely horrible. Some were merely dirt trails wide enough for a bike. That didn't stop Anos, our driver, from plowing down them with the Land Rover. It was interesting to see how people lived. They lived in mud brick houses without electricity or running water. Many had rooves thatched with what I believe was matoke leaves but the lucky ones had tin rooves. They all had dirt floors and some had mattresses directly on the floor or they had bamboo mats to sleep on. The people that we went to see were extremely sick. Yet, all were extremely friendly and were more worried about making sure that we were comfortable than they were about themselves. The last woman we saw was very sick and had a very high fever. It was decided that she needed to be rushed to the hospital. Her family had no means of transportation so we loaded her into the landrover with us and dropped her off. She was crying and moaning and when her toddler son realized we were taking her he started screaming. He knew something was wrong with her and he didnt want to let her out of his sight. It was heart breaking to see as we drove away that he was wailing at the top of his lungs trying to pull away from his siblings so he could run after us. We did not stay at the hospital so I don't know if she is doing better but I can only hope.

On a completely different topic, there are dogs everywhere in Uganda. The people here raise dogs to protect their property and for security. They don't treat them like we do in the states. Most of the dogs fear people because they have been beaten so many times. I was talking to our night guard Tom and he was telling me it is normal for the dogs to be kept in a dog house all day and only let out at night. He said they do this because it makes the dogs bark and growl at everyone except the person that feeds them. Two of his dogs, Foxie and Snoopie (I call her snoopaloops) have been hanging out a lot at our house. The owner of Toms property (he is a caretaker by day) thinks that there are too many dogs on his compound and he thinks they are useless because they don't bark at strangers. He has decided he wants to kill all except a few and buy more to train to be better guard dogs. Tom doesnt really want them killed so he lets Snoopie and Foxie come to our compound. There are holes in the fence so they can come and go as they please but they tend to stay around most of the time. We are still not able to touch Foxie though he does sometimes come sleep near us on the porch. Snoopie we tamed in three days. When we first met her we couldn't touch her. A day later we could pet her but she had her tail between her legs and was nervous. Now when she see us her tail starts wagging and she comes running. If we stop petting her she puts her paws in our lap and tries to lick us. She is currently rolled up in a ball sleeping on our porch. They feed them a little bit of Posho which is a rice flour/water mixture but mostly they rely of scavenging. When they hear us take the trash out to the pit in the back yard they come running. Snoopie is not quite a year old and had puppies a few months ago (spaying and neutering is not a priority when you barely have enough money to feed your family). She was very skinny so now we feed her and Foxie our scraps from dinner and the heels from our loaves of bread. She has put on some weight and looks healthier. She is even learning how to play. I worry what will happen to her when we leave. I am afraid they will kill her. She is so sweet and friendly. Tom says that he will look after her until the next fellows come but I am skeptical. I worry that she won't stay around that long without someone at the house feeding her and giving her affection everyday or that they will kill her anyway. Being an animal lover is hard here in Uganda because they are not seen as pets and are not treated very well.
Sharon.jpg Sharon, Toms 5 year old daughter
boys.jpg Mark and Isaac climbing our tree
climbing.jpg Isaac Mark and Edwin Climbing
Edwin.jpg Edwin being typical Edwin
Mark.jpg Mark
snoopie.jpg Snoopie
Cows_on_my_road.jpg Cows strolling down the road in front of the house

Ryna_and_S..utreach.jpg Stephanie and Ryna counting pills at the outreach

Clinic_at_outreach.jpg Clinic at Iki Iki Outreach
meal.jpg Typical Meal of Rice, Chapati, Matoke, and Gnut Sauce
Traffic_Jam.jpg Traffic Jam of Matatus (Taxis) in Kampala
Hostel.jpg The Hostel
Tomskidsan..nephews.jpg Toms Kids and His Nieces and Nephews
IsaacAngelaSamSharon.jpg Isaac Angela Sam Sharon
IssacSoccer.jpg Isaac Playing Soccer
Me_and_Hedgehog.jpg Hedgehog

Posted by marcelle25 12:37

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Edwin, Snoopie and the hedgehog are adorable! Your meal, cock roaches and the traffic are disgusting!! Yuk, Uganda...the new weight watchers program! Thanks for the updates I'm enjoying the blog. Miss you

by pebblepro

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