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Quarantimes Pt 2

I have heard many times that if something doesn’t sit right with you, you need to dig in further and figure out why. I think that’s how I felt as a high schooler who felt uncomfortable when I saw displaced people living in a community called Nuevo Vida in Nicaragua who were just barely surviving and their kids really did survive on the lunches provided daily by the local church. The lunches changed the community. Kept kids in school, kept families together, brought down teen pregnancy rates (as an adult now realizing the relationship between young girls in need and the ugly truth that they do what they have to in order to survive), it sustained people and gave them glimpses of hope. The lunches didn’t fix every single problem, they still struggled with sickness due to lack of public health and hygienic services, still struggled for jobs. But the simple fact that a meal a day made an impact was obvious. The meals were supplied by Rise Against Hunger (then called Stop Hunger Now) and se…
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Quarantimes

As we sit in quarantine, watching the number of daily case count in the USA rise up higher than any day so far in this pandemic, I have had plenty of time to read on the dock and rest (Ike rests and then can't help but do physical labor everywhere we go). 
I just finished "The Girl Who Smiled Beads" by Clemantine Wamariya today. A story of a Rwandan girl who fled to America as a refugee at age 12 after SEVEN years of running for safety with her older sister. They ran in and out of Burundi, Zaire (now Congo), Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, and South Africa over those seven years - via buses, boats, cars, or on foot. She was six when she ran out of her grandmother's back door with her sister to avoid danger and never came back. She was reunited with her parents and new younger siblings on OPRAH while the entire nation watched (can you imagine being her in that scene? Just feeling like a spectacle?). She fears being left behind, being forgotten because of how much…

Teleportation

No we didnt figure out teleportation and no we were not deported. But somewhat the abruptness of being plucked from Bundibugyo to America in less than 72 hours sort of feels that way. On June 5 we got an email about a flight leaving Uganda on the 16th, 11 days notice. We slept on it and decided we should take the flight. Without interns, without the conference, without a certain end date but beginning to prepare for departure by starting goodbyes, we decided 10 days was enough notice and we didn’t know when our next chance would come along (of course today we saw an embassy email about a flight next week). So we had 10 days to prepare, pack, wrap up job hand off and contract writing, and say goodbyes. It felt like plenty of time. It kept us from dragging out goodbyes too long, more than 10 days left like an emotional long suffering for my brain to fathom. We left Bundibugyo on the 15th, drove straight to Entebbe, one night there and then the pool briefly to celebrate a very cool 11 yr…

Waiting

It seems like the entire world is waiting... for the obvious. For COVID to stop wreaking havoc on lives, plans, closures, and so much more. It seems inevitable that it will come up in every conversation because it has seeped into almost every corner of the globe effecting the lives of billions of people.  Here in Bundibugyo it is no different. Although we have no known cases here in our district, our daily routines have changed. Our back burner thoughts now give more attention to public health concerns and fear of breaking the stringent rules more than ever before.  But still we wait. We wait for the next presidential address. The possible lifting of the ban against public travel. The slow reopen of businesses. The gradual movement back toward normalcy (if it could be called that now or if we even want normal back again). Our 5 week semi lockdown will/may/could end Tuesday but again we wait.  No one likes to wait. But it’s useful. It forces us out of our busyness and into our minds, our b…

So many thoughts… COVID + Uganda

So many thoughts… COVID + Uganda + BirthdaysWell, how do you begin to process, describe, explain, reason with a pandemic affecting the entire world and do so from the corner of the world that feels like it cannot take one more inch of suffering. Uganda: we have a total of 52 cases of COVID - all in Kampala an 8 hour drive away, all from international travelers or their direct contacts. We are currently ending week 3 of stay home restrictions (not technically as strict as lock down status). Restrictions including no driving without a permit (healthcare workers and government permitted), no driving a boda after 2pm and absolutely no passengers on your boda, a curfew starting at 7pm and ending at sunrise, no church or public gatherings (of course), and all of this coming from the president’s news addresses every couple nights where he says words and they become law/fact/interpreted and enforced differently by each and everyone. And not to mention our president actually made a video of him…

Thoughts on a Year in Review

Somehow we have been here longer than a year. Some days pass quick and others much slower. Currently my weeks consist of three mornings at the hospital and one morning in the outpatient clinic with afternoons full with daily life requirements, team responsibilities, or spending time with local friends. By 1pm as I walk out of the hospital I am typically drained mentally and I consider myself a high energy, extroverted person so that’s really telling of the setting where we work.  Over the last year my brain has spent energy on learning a new language, saying English words in a manner that translates, trying not to totally disregard cultural norms, be alert for the possible Ebola symptoms lurking on the next vomiting patient, pay attention to the increase in solider presence and security, be aware of the needs of the person in front of me but don’t shame them by too obviously helping them. That’s a lot. One or two of those things are a lot. And in less than 6 months my brain will try to…

3 Days of Safari at Murchison Falls

Safari at Murchison Falls in January  In January we visited Murchison falls national park for safari with Ike’s parents. It was quite a hike - a full 9 hour day in the car on marum roads plus a stop to visit dear friends in Hoima along the way. When we pulled up to the ferry boarding area and saw the Nile River rushing by, it made it all worth it. 




We stayed near the ferry which made for an easy drive to the lodge and a quick minute to change and make it to an outside dinner with muchomo (grilled/bbq meats) and a dessert table bigger than our entire kitchen in Bundi. 




We did a morning game drive and a night game drive both with a UWA guide who was AMAZING, named Sarah. Seriously a real gem. A beautiful thing about Ugandans is their intuitiveness - they notice the details, check in on your wellbeing and generally want to be great hosts. Many times I heard Sarah asking Ike’s mom “are you ok mommy?” And she genuinely wanted to know if she was ok after spending hours sitting in the same spot…