Uganda 2016 – Our first day in the clinic
Medical missions all share one thing in common… waiting! We wait for our flight, we wait for our ride, we wait for our hotel rooms…. We wait! Patience is another thing we all share. I am not a patient person by nature and medical missions slow my clock. A medical mission puts your life back into perspective. The pace of everyday life is so fast. We rush from home to work to activities on a constant basis. Everyday, we wake up and rush to face whatever the day has in store for us.
The waiting we face does not compare to the waiting of those we serve in the Gulu region of Uganda. Our clinical staff will consult with nearly 200 patients per day. They all wait their turn in the 90 degree temperatures siting under a white tent on plastic chairs. There is no TV or WiFi in this waiting room. Children run about playing soccer in the dirt and grass surrounding our clinic, which is little more than a concrete building with no running water and no ventilation. Our art teams entertain the kids and sometimes the adults with their activities.
The wait does not end in the tent for those we serve. When the patients arrive, Lyn Shaw and Jason Jonas, 2 of our mission veterans triage and assess everyone. They determine which patients are in greatest need. Malaria is epidemic in Uganda and much of Africa. It is preventable and very treatable, but most Ugandans lack the access to basic medical care or the money to afford it. The clinical staff fill an urgent need. Our volunteers will do their best to help the neediest first. We test most of our patients for Malaria because of this epidemic. It is a simple blood test and results are available in a few minutes. Our treatment and care will save the lives of those we are are here to help. Jamie Grenier and Bobbi Zink do the finger stick and then wait 20 minutes for the results.
In addition to Malaria treatment, our clinicians treat everything from viruses to injuries resulting from accidents. Ugandans are some of the most hard-working and resilient people. They are farmers raising food for their families. They are construction workers building their homes from mud bricks and straw. The women of Uganda do much of this work. They haul water for miles each day. They cook for their families and raise their children. The women are the caretakers of the very old and the very young.
Sometimes, we can’t help everyone. Jody Gould, a nurse from Overland Park Regional Medical Center, is new to the clinic setting. She is a Uganda mission veteran, formerly working in the Pre and Post Op at St. Mary’s, LaCor. For her, this day in the clinic has been an emotional experience. She told our teams that “When I work in the Post Op, I see patients and know they are getting the help they need through surgery. It is not the same here in the clinic. We aren’t able to help everyone.” We need more resources to further our mission and reach into Uganda and the other countries we serve.
The people of Gulu are waiting for our volunteers and we are waiting to serve them in our clinics. The waiting we will encounter in our everyday lives and travels to Gulu pale in comparison to those who wait for us to arrive in this region of Northern Uganda.
Are you interested in joining us as a volunteer? Would you like to financially support our continuing efforts in Romania, Guatemala, The Philippines, and Uganda? If so, please visit MedicalMissionsFoundation.org to learn more about our missions and organization. #medmissionsFDN #HealthforUganda #HealthfortheWorld