this is a difficult blog to write.....sort of a goodbye to my dear friends here as well as a thank you for all the moral, physical and mental support rendered to me these past 4 1/2 months. 4 1/2 months? how is that possible?i don't own a watch or a clock or a calendar, so i rarely know what day it is here. i'm quite good at guessing the time, it's relative to how loud my stomach is growling. sometimes i 'miss' entire days and say things like 'wait....what happened to wednesday?' it happens. george says to use the calendar app on the computer but i like paper ones that u can clip notes and receipts and 'to do' lists to. but i digress.....as usual.
this trip has been so stressful. to those unfamiliar with life in africa, it might seem as though i have accomplished little. i leave the continent with the same issues i had when i arrived...still no ngo renewal and still no work permit. can't begin to say how many sleepless nights this has caused....not to mention the money, the hours wasted impatiently waiting to see someone, the times i was 'reamed out' for being rude, arrogant, stubborn, strong willed and unappreciative. it's ok though, the issues will be waiting for me when i return and an old tom petty song plays in my mind...."i won't back down". and, thanks to a suggestion from someone who actually works at the ngo board, i have a plan B.
sometimes yubu will ask me what the program is for tomorrow and sometimes i say: "it will be a short, easy day". then we laugh because it seems as if every short, easy day becomes an emotionally charged marathon day filled with surprises and challenges. we never expected to spend last saturday at Mulago Hospital, a government owned facility offering 'free' services to the people of kampala. i had toured Mulago several years ago, but certainly was not prepared to witness first hand the treatment (?) rendered acceptable to the people who can not afford an alternative private health care facility.
the day started pleasantly. yubu arrived early, we loaded the van with portable chairs, a table and first aid supplies and headed to watoto suubi village to pick up gus, a desana uganda volunteer and (thankfully) a nurse by profession. we then started making our way to kisenyi slum. along the way both joash and katamba phoned to say they would be meeting us there to assist cleaning and bandaging wounds and injuries. we parked in a corner of the playground because some of the kids were exercising amidst a mountain of plastic bottles in preparation of a soccer game. everything was going smoothly, people were polite and asking if we would provide food later. both seka and shanitta stopped by to say hello and thank us. i gave seka money to order the food and shanitta told me she had made kabalagalas for me. (her pancakes rock!) all of a sudden there was a huge commotion and a mob was rushing toward us.
WHAT? food poisoning AND the flu AND a meeting i cannot possibly miss.....what else? oh, of course, no electricity so all appropriate clothing looks as if i slept in it (which i did not) and no hot tea to help clear my oh so stuffy head....! seems as if breakfast will be a glass of room temp coke zero with 2 cold tablets, a malaria pill, a heart pill and a stomach pill! let me say i am extremely grateful for the coke zero and the sharpie marker to 'touch up my pedicure'!
a package just arrived from the states (THANK YOU GEORGE).....jelly beans, yellow, stale peeps (stale candy in uganda is infinitely better than no candy), gummie savers, some medicines, lotions, batteries and flashlights...all sorts of good stuff tucked inside my BOOTS! i have seriously missed my boots and i will wear proudly them to my meeting because Texas cowboy boots go with anything and are always appropriate! guess i didn't need to 'sharpie' up my nails after all.