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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Uganda 2018 – Those We Serve

The country of Uganda is situated in the central southeast portion of Africa. It is partially bordered by Lake Victoria in the south and the South Sudan to the north. Uganda is known as the “Pearl of Africa” for its beauty. There are lush green fields, jungles, swamps and palm trees. And yes, there are palm trees everywhere.   Most Ugandans live in huts constructed of bricks with thatch roofs, constructed completely by the people who live in them. They make bricks by hand and dry them over outdoor kilns. The thatch is cut, dried, sorted and stacked. Once all ...

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Uganda 2018 – A Good Place to Be

Perpetually upbeat and talented, it’s hard to believe that this is her first mission with Medical Mission Foundation. A PICU nurse at Children’s Mercy, she came highly recommended by previous mission participants. Olivia Pennington credits much of her energy on the fact that she works the night shift back home. That and the fan app on her phone. Whatever it is she took the eight hour time change in stride.   Livi was nervous about the different skill set that would be needed in the PACU and said that the first day was a steep learning curve. She’s used ...

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Uganda 2018 – From Morning to Night

Our advance team arrived Friday, met with our colleagues from St. Mary’s Lacor Hospital and discussed our goals for this year’s mission. This year, education is one of our core mission components. Our ultimate goal is to help the people we serve become self-sufficient. We are educating the nursing students and anyone else who wants to learn. We will be teaching CPR and advanced lifesaving skills. We brought CPR practice dummies, AEDs and our passion to care for the fellowship of humankind.   We have 4 surgeons and a resident this year. Dr. Brandon Pomeroy is ...

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