Monday, October 6, 2014

Day Nine - Last Operating Day - Rotary International VTT 2014 - Kampala, Uganda

{This is a series in posts about our trip to Uganda for the Riley/Rotary Vocational Training Team. To start at the beginning, go to this post. Check out the team blog at If you visit the team blog, please leave a comment! The team loves to hear your encouraging words!}

How can it be the last operating day?! 

Today the team had two surgeries that were planned to be a little shorter. The Rotary Club of Kampala North planned a night out for the team and Rotarians so long as the kids are out of surgery and doing OK. 

So, there are obviously differences between Kampala and US cities. One of the biggest differences that I see are the roads and traffic conditions. I've tried to take photos but it just won't do it justice I'm afraid! The scooters/motorbikes are called boda boda's and are fast and zip through traffic like crazy. They'll go over sidewalks, between cars and over grassy berms to get their passenger where they are going. According to the doctors at the hospital, boda boda accidents are one of the largest causes of ER/trama visits here. This is out the back window of our bus on the way to the hospital at 7AM.

These are two of our teammates who spend nights at the hospital with the UHI nurses in the ICU. I still find it hard to believe that they come all the way to African to work nights! However, they have seen a little more sunlight than the rest of us. :) Thankful for them! 

Little Princess was off the ventilator when we arrived! This is great news! Her mom and dad seemed so happy! Wait until you see her photo later in the day - huge difference!

Ukasha seemed pretty chilled out too. 

Priscilla was the last patient yesterday and was also sleeping when we arrived. Sleepy kids!

Frederick is up and at 'em this morning!

First up today is yet another 3 year old, Aaliyah. We had not met her or mom yet since we thought Benita would be the first today. 

The physiotherapist was in to help Ukasha move into the step-down unit this morning. He was not happy about it AT ALL! He would walk for a little while and then squat down and I thought he was trying to sit down. I learned that he is trying to squat because that is what he did before surgery to feel better. He had tetralogy of fallot (which means four problems with the heart) and those children squat to catch their breath. It was a conditioned response. And, he was just trying to feel better!

We had a debriefing meeting scheduled with the team and the UHI doctors. Someone learned it was Steph’s birthday and ordered a cake! Yum! We also snapped a group photo.

I stepped out because we knew a contingent of Rotarians were to visit around 1PM. It turned out to be a whole lot of Rotarians and Interact students! I was happy to be able to visit with them and not take Steph away from the meeting. As a five time team leader, it was important to be there to notate all of the successes.

Interact students from Taibah International School (Rotarian Oskar is principal there) stopped by and did a great job of visiting with the parents in the ward and the kids in the step-down unit. I was impressed by the items they brought for everyone – toilet paper, peanut butter, soap, toothpaste and so many other useful items. The advisor said that they debated the type of items to bring and one contingent wanted these items and the others wanted candy. I’m so glad the practical items won the others over!

I was also able to catch Aliyah coming out of surgery. And, Benita, the last patient, head back.

While some of the Rotarians were there, we met Rotarian Dr. Brenda (not sure which title comes first!). Dr. Brenda is a surgical resident currently in the neurology department. She recently won the Service Above Self award for delivering a baby in an emergency (I think she said on an island)! Well deserved! She also said that the neurology department has had training teams as well and she has noticed a big difference after their visits. Training, as opposed to just surgical missions, is so much more beneficial to the patients of Uganda. Instead of just a handful of kids being helped, the results continue well after the teams leave.

I stayed out of the operating room today. It seemed like we had a whole lot going on outside to keep me busy! Check out Princess later in the day! After a little food in her belly, she was back to blowing raspberries and entertaining the nurses! Pretty good for only a few hours awake!

The team did a great job with Benita and she was out of the OR by around 5PM.

We had planned to leave right at 5 with the “first wave” of people and have the “second wave” follow. Turns out, we were all ready to go. We were doing great until we realized how bad traffic was! (A few of the team members took the boda boda’s – not me!) Apparently, there was a big event and many of the streets were closed. It took us an hour to get back to the hotel – a 5 minute drive with no traffic! It really is nuts here.

Check out these guys riding in this truck. Maybe it's actually safe since they were pack in so tight! I don't think they could move!

Finally, we made it to the Nderre Dance Troupe performance – only 45 minutes late. A few of the other guests arrived after us though so maybe we weren’t so bad off. But, even later in the show, a contingent of military/police personnel arrived. We think they had something to do with the reason the streets were closed and traffic was so bad – a 100-year police anniversary. A lot of "protocol" was involved. While it is nice to see things that formal, I'm not sure I could keep track of everything I was supposed to say! 

The show was very neat with all kinds of singing and dancing and drum playing. This is another area in which pictures will not do it justice but here are a few anyway.

We dropped the night crew off at the hospital and then went back to the hotel. Straight to bed I went! Another long day!

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