All entries for Tuesday 19 June 2007

June 19, 2007

Living for the weekend

Well my first weekend here has been and gone.

Cant quite believe that I have been here over a week. Although the time has gone quickly in classic time paradox fashion it seems like I've been here for ages. I'll talk work a little first. I have just completed some very snazzy information and consent forms (I'd take all the credit but the far more intelligent Yale student proof read them for me and made some very sound grammatical corrections). I know, you are all probably sat at home thinking how much you wished you were doing what I am doing!! Jokes aside I'm really enjoying the work, and I think this is the closest Ive ever come to what would be called an 'office job'. I did my pilot interview today, which was of mixed success, but has given me some points for improvement which was the whole point of doing it. Going to Mulago Hospital tomorrow to do a few more then I guess its launch time later this week!!

On Saturday I successfully spent a large chunk of my budget on a mountain bike. This was for a multitude of reasons, the first one being to save money on transport, the second as a means of exploring the area and thirdly as an attempt to do some exercise whilst I am here! I was assured by 'Robert', who is possibly the greatest sales man alive (and should have place on the apprentice)  s he convinced me to pay more for a second hand bike than for a new one, that this was a high quality machine that would cause me no problems. Thinking back on it now I'm not sure how he convinced me to make this purchase, but he did. I drew the line at purchasing a cycling helmet from him in the shape of a skull, he wasn't that good!

Sunday I ventured to Jinja with Caroline and Alex. It was a couple of hours bus ride and then a 'boda boda' to the river. It was really nice getting outside of the city centre, if only for a few hours, and I really enjoyed the bus ride. I was immensely thankful that the Ugandan's haven't taken a leaf out of the Vietnamese's book by ramming as many people in a mini bus as humanly possible. This meant that the journey was both cheap and comfortable (I'm not saying it compared to National Express but it was entirely pleasant!). It was really nice to get a look at the surrounding area as well. And, more importantly I got to put my feet in the Nile for the very first time. Jinja is trying to be the extreme sports capital of Uganda, which it could be as it does sport some lovely Grade 5 rapids. I didn't go rafting, unfortunatly the $95 mark made my mind up for me! It was still a very nice place and we went back down to the rapids with the intention of going for a walk alongside the river. This was cut short due to a rather intimidating man who strongly told us that we weren't going anywhere unless we talked to him and his friends and then let him find us a guide. Safe to say we turned around and headed back in the direction that we had come from.

Uganda is an incredibly beautiful country. I should really have made that clear, and you can really understand why is has been compared to Scotland. The hills make the views even more stunning and its so green and lush too. There is an immense amount of wildlife and I am loving all the different kinds of birds that there are. I saw (for those of you who are interested enough to keep reading) the African version of a robin and (for those of you how know Poppy) some African Grey parrots. I wish I could be more poetic in my description to enthrall you and entice you to visit. But I will leave you with the view of this weekend, which was being at a secluded point along the nile with my feet hanging in the water, with the most impressive powerful rapids only a few meters away. My face would be occasionally refreshed from the dry heat by sprays of water, and the sun was shining down through broken clouds giving a rich afternoon light. In the centre of the rapids was a small island that had those tall bare bent trees sticking out with two crane's purched on the upper branches. I didn't have a camera, bit gutting to know that a picture speaks a thousand words!

Home visits

On Friday I went on my first (and what believe will be my last) home visit. As most/all of you who are reading this know I have no medical knowledge what so ever, so I went only to be an observer. There is a medical care team of 3 and a driver who go (so with me it made 4 in whatever accomodation they lived in). Considering that this would often be one room it was a little tight. Although this was a valuable experience and gave me a much clearer idea of what hospice do and some of the problems that they encounter. I feel that a second round of visits would only stand to serve me personally in the fact that I would intrude on peeople's lives and illness just to make myself realise how lucky I am and privilidged. It doesn't seem a fair trade at all. I perhaps would have considered it had there been alot of english spoken and had I been able to communicate directly with the patient, but as this is rare there seems to be little positive imput that I could give to the situation.

June 2007

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