- Written by Kimberly Pepmiller Kimberly Pepmiller
- Created: August 21 2015 August 21 2015
This morning began with our American group doing our best to leave on time, even for African time. Our plans were a bit delayed by breakfast not being quite on time, and then we stopped to pick up our Ugandan friends who cook our meals for lunch. They were a bit delayed too, so we picked up as many as we could and left without the others. The bus did go back later on to pick up the other cooks and our food. We enjoyed singing on the way to the clinic in Akor, and we arrived to a crowd of hundreds waiting for us at the clinic site. Our Mercy Medical Team set up and even started triaging patients before the doctors and the Ugandan team arrived. They were an hour late! African time is something that is challenging to fit in with the American work ethic. Thankfully the Ugandan team works very quickly and efficiently, and they caught up with us very quickly. Our combined team cared for close to 600 patients! And we still handed out numbers to over 300 who we will see tomorrow. The need for healthcare is great here.
Nelly continued her dual roles of weighing patients near registration and then working as a scribe at a vital sign station. She enjoyed photographing the patients who came dressed up and in traditional dress to the clinic. Nelly held several babies lacking undergarments and patted lots of ringworm heads. She generally enjoyed some of the sweetest people on earth.
Kimberly continued in her triage role, where she takes vital signs and speaks with patients about their chief complaints. One of the patients she cared for carried a machine gun and was in camouflage as he is guarding the school at night.
We saw more interesting cases today. By interesting, we mean medical diseases that are rarely seen or treated more promptly in the United States. There was a man who presented with tetanus whose jaw was locked open. He was sent to the hospital promptly. There was a case of severe osteomyelitis (bone infection) in a young girl. We saw patients with chicken pox, malnutrition, cerebral palsy, burns and severe skin infections. Our team does see many run of the mill complaints such as headache, back pain, flu, eye sight challenges and fevers. With our pace today, we were unable to spend in-depth time with the patients.
Nurses here in Uganda continue to wear the traditional nursing attire. The nurses who wear pink dresses completed a shorter education program, such as a three-year diploma program. The registered nurses with more education wear white or pink dresses, and the color of their belt indicates their level of education. For instance, a nurse with a yellow belt is a registered nurse just recently out of school. A nurse with a red belt has completed double studies as a registered nurse and in midwifery, and nurses with black belts are in nursing administration. The average wage here in northern Uganda for a nurse is $115 per month. For most families that does not leave enough money to pay school fees for children, so they have a second job selling produce and goods to make a little extra money.
Each day our team gathers back at the hotel to share our highs and lows from the day. Pretty much everyone dreads Friday, when we anticipate having to turn patients away without treatment due to time and resources. One perspective, though, is that we were able to serve over 2,000 people who otherwise may not have been able to receive medical treatment at all. There are many opportunities for future service in Uganda and Africa as a whole.
“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness”, “mercy”, “loyalty”, “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself,” active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?