The Road to Gulu

Saturday ended up blurring into Sunday as the Team arrived at the Entebbe airport shortly before midnight. High hopes of getting to our hotel in Kampala for a full six hours of sleep were quickly dashed when some key medical supplies were flagged at customs. Paperwork, and lots of it, is a component of any mission - imagine trying to enter another country with suitcases filled with medications. It's not so easy even when you do everything the "right" way as we discovered last night. But as our fearless leader and optimist, Mark Shields, reminded us, "Whatever ...

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Twelve Hours and We Are Half Way There!

We have made it to Amsterdam! Those of us who weren't still trying a few catch a few Z's, saw a gorgeous approach as beams from the sunrise cut through a large rain curtain. Once inside everything was bright and sunny as we took full advantage of our two hour layover to sit in teacups and sample some sweet treats. Mark is doing an excellent job keeping all 40 of us together and reminding us that "Whatever happens it will be fine." Unless of course you don't take your malaria meds! Just ask Carla Northington. Stay tuned for more news from the road.....

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The Final Countdown to Uganda 2019

I love my clocks and I love when I can add a new location to the last one. This will help my daughter with the time zone difference and it's just fun! Team Uganda is now less than 24 hours from its departure from KCI. Over the next 10 days we hope that you will check back frequently to track our progress. God willing and internet connectivity cooperating I will do my best to provide you with photos, anecdotes and stories from the 10th anniversary mission to Gulu, Uganda. Please remember that Gulu is nine hours ahead of Kansas City, so ...

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Uganda 2018 – A Vision of Sister Carmel

Thursday is always the hardest day. The adrenaline of being in a new place has long ago worn and we still haven’t fully adjusted to the eight-hour time change. The cumulative sleep deprivation coupled with hours of standing and concentrating and working have taken their toll. So there are fewer people waiting for the breakfast line to open at 6 am and the first bus to Lacor leaves at least fifteen minutes late.   And everyone is on the verge of tears.   I woke up reluctantly at 5:30 and looked at my phone. The smart people don’t check email and ...

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Uganda 2018 – One Angel Among Many

It was Tuesday, right in the middle of it all. When we were still screening patients and when surgeries were going strong. Turnover was rapid. There wasn’t much time to put on a lab coat, change shoes, find Bobbi or Erica, and get outside. In order to reach the exam rooms we had to squeeze past a table of nursing student and several benches of waiting patients.   Each time I walked by that morning a boy who looked about seven years old stuck his hand out to shake mine. Every time. Waiting with his arm out. He’d smile when I said good morning and played ...

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Uganda 2018 – Making a Difference, One Garbage Bag At a Time

They roam the hospital and you see them everywhere you go. Older men clutching their small black garbage bags. If you wear a Medical Missions lanyard, they ask if you can help with their problem. The common malady they all share is an enlarged prostate which prevents them from being able to urinate properly. The bag inside the garbage bag contains urine and the men walk around with catheters all day long. They all beg not to have to carry their garbage bag any longer.   Dr. Brandon Pomeroy is here to do something for these men. His case load this week is full of ...

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Uganda 2018 – An Epiphany

It’s all a blur at this point. Sitting by the pool at Chobe, listening to the birds singing above and all around me, seeing flashes of green and red and yellow as they speed by with their mysterious agendas... it all makes it difficult to recall specifics. Hundreds of emails, hours of meetings and months of planning and it’s over in a flash.   But heaven knows it was worth it.   Interactions with the people here are by necessity quick and direct. We speak to most of the patients through a translator and receive only the basics: what hurts and for ...

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Uganda 2018 – Ugandan Sunsets

He’s been dreaming of volunteering for a mission trip for as long as he can remember. Everything finally came together this year and to his great delight Ty Townsend is in Gulu, Uganda. An anesthesia assistant that I work with in KC, I already knew he was talented. While working with him this week I am so impressed with his good-natured hard work. He has masked nearly 50 patients - something that will impress those who know a little about anesthesia.   Ty says he was surprised at the level of poverty he has seen. The huts, the small shops, the clothing. He ...

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Uganda 2018 – An Insider’s Look

This week in Uganda is very powerful and meaningful to those who join us for the mission. More than half of our team are veterans of this mission. It speaks volumes to their dedication and the work that is done here in Uganda. For most people on the team, the mission becomes something they plan the rest of their year around.   To the casual observer, it is chaotic. In my eyes, it is something I liken to a choreographed show. Everyone on the team has a role to play, but you have to be flexible and willing to play other roles as well. Everyone is ready to ...

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Uganda 2018 – Happy Birthday Erica!

I wasn’t a bit surprised. After all, we’ve been working together for six years. Erica Smith is my nurse back home. In the past when I’ve been on a mission trip she has stayed back to work or perhaps relax for a few days, enjoying a break from me. But when I asked if she wanted to come help in Uganda she jumped at the chance. (If you are ever able to witness her rendition of Toto’s “Africa,” it conveys her excitement perfectly.)   She and veteran mission volunteer Bobbi Zink put their long hours of preparation to work and hit the ground running, ...

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