Thursday, October 9, 2014

Day Ten - Out and About - Rotary International VTT 2014 - Kampala, Uganda

Up and going early again today! This morning, a few of us went to the local radio station to be guests on a weekly program. Steph, Grace and President Jane discussed with the host and Dr. James (a cardiologist at UHI) about the Gift of Life Program in Uganda. It was an hour long and I think a lot of good information was passed along to the listeners. I got to sit in the adjacent room and drink tea while listening to the program.

After a little tea and coffee, we went back to the hospital to see the kids and to have a Celebration of Life party. We arrived to find Patience and Barbra in regular clothes! This really makes them look like they’re back to normal!

Barbra had a notebook for us to sign and give our addresses. When I asked her dad if I could give them my email, he said yes and that Barbra enjoys using his phone for messages. I sure I hope she does! The other families started collecting addresses as well.

Barbra’s dad also said that she had something for us. They brought this card. How great is this?!

This is the resident cat in the ward. He sure looks comfy!

Frederick was up and about as well. It is tough to get a smile out of him though!

Ukasha still looks a little tired and bothered by the wires, but has perked up a little anyway.

Then, there was one last meeting to discuss the last five years and the possibilities of upcoming trips for training. I have been told many times this week about how far UHI has come over the years. Especially this year it seems. There were fewer equipment issues which really has been impacted by items purchased by our Rotary Club through grants. As a non-medical person, it sure looks like UHI is capable of doing these surgeries on their own! 

Finally, it was time for the Celebration of Life party! Since this mission had most of the cases toward the end of the trip, only a few of the kids were able to come to the party. The families were all there though and everyone really seemed to have fun!

The big cake was a little late and arrived after we had already left the hospital. That didn't stop Patience and Barbra from bringing us some! They caught us just in time and before we piled in the van. This was their first trip outside!

We got back to the hotel around 2, I think. The schedule was really different this year and, since all of the cases at the end of the week went well and had no complications or patients still on a vent, we were not needed at the hospital. This gave us the opportunity to get out and explore a little on foot. In the 5 trips to Kampala, Steph had never had the chance to do this! I've said it before, but this really is a working trip for the team members. I think we spent over 70 hours in the hospital over the week we were there. And, this was an uncomplicated week in relation to previous trips!

A few locals had mentioned shopping at Buganda Road Market. So, armed with screen shots of the map on our phone and a smattering of landmarks from the front desk, we ventured out. I will admit that I was a little nervous doing something like this with no cell service and no maps, but quickly realized that we felt very safe and there was no need to worry. We did probably look a little out of place because it seemed like we were walking so fast! I've mentioned the slower pace before, but I think we probably really stuck out because of that, not to mention our skin tone. 

I am SO glad we were able to do this! There is just something about exploring a place on foot that gives you a different perspective of a city. 

On our tour earlier in the week, Oskar mentioned that the country had just finished a census. So, I had to take a picture of the statistics house. They were advertising the census on the outside of the building.

After hitting the market for souvenirs, we stopped at the Serena Hotel on the way back to our hotel. What a place! It was quite nice. I will mention that, to enter, you had to walk through a metal detector (not uncommon - same at the other hotels we entered this week) and your bags went through an x-ray machine. 

We saw two different weddings on the grounds.

Finally, back to the hotel! 

We worked on blogs and I was able to Facetime the kids. Dinner was at the revolving restaurant at the top of the hotel. A great last night to get together!

(This is a good place to mention that I am a few days behind on this blog! I'm already home! Hoping to get things finished up by the end of this weekend!)

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