Today (Wednesday, July 6) our team visited people at a Mapeera Bakateyamba’s Home (a Catholic convalescent center), and Mulago Hospital. No funny stuff on the blog today – just highlights of a pretty intense day. I’d also like to point out that I’m not making up either one of those names.
The convalescent center was home to not only senior citizens, but a few younger people, as young as Annette, a severely deformed 17-year-old girl. I’m not posting her photo at this point, but it’s a little overwhelming to think that this girl has nowhere else to go, and will likely live the rest of her life in a convalescent center intended for much older people. (**Correction – August 13 – I found out the girl’s name was actually Juliette).
Most of the senior citizens at the convalescent center loved having their photos taken. Particularly, an older man who spoke French and always got excited when female team members walked up with a camera, and he always adjusted his coat before his photo was taken.
The Mulago Hospital is, of course, unlike any hospital I’ve ever experienced. Normally, I don’t like going to hospitals and always have a hard time going to see people there – although I will if I need to. But I’m thinking that any American hospital is going to be a piece of cake compared to this place. When you go to the hospital in Uganda, you have to bring your own sheets and other stuff like food (the family usually takes care of that, if there is a family). I also need to point out that it doesn’t look like the floors are mopped as often as American hospitals – or much other cleaning ever takes place.
We walked through a large ward area, talking to the patients (mostly kids) and praying with them, and of course, giving them Beanie Babies. Apparently Beanie Babies have healing power, but I didn’t know that, since this is my first time here.
We hoped to visit some of the patients in the burn unit, but we weren’t able to go in there today. But we did send in gifts, including of course Beanie Babies. There were also several patients from the burn unit hanging out in the lobby area with their parents, so we were able to talk with them. At this point, I won’t post any photos, although I probably will when I get back. They’re pretty graphic.
Finally, a few of the women on our team bribed the security guard with candy, and were able to visit the labor and delivery area, where they got to witness the birth of a baby. How cool is that. Very different than an American birthing experience. The women basically give birth, then kind of clean up after themselves (we’re talking a large trash bag here), and vacate the bed as soon as possible and go home. Having never given birth myself, I can’t say for sure – but I’m thinking that seems kind of crazy. One of our team members, Jan, was wearing her name tag. When the mother saw her name tag, and since Jan was very much involved in the birth, the baby was named “Jan.”
Another busy day in Uganda. Every day seems to get more intense than the previous one. I’ll write more as soon as I can.
Above photo…. One of our team members, Leslie, visiting a woman at the convalescent center.