It is Day 0 here in Uganda. It is called Day 0 because the mission does not officially start until tomorrow. However, the planning has been going on for about 10 months. After the conclusion of last year’s mission, reports are compiled, budgets are reconciled and the process begins again.
We left Entebbe, a major city in Central Uganda on the shores of Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa. The mission begins in earnest tomorrow. Our advance team arrived 2 days ahead of us to get things organized and reconnect with our Ugandan partners representing both the government and the hospital administration. They are already in Gulu, the actual site of our mission. Gulu is approximately 200 miles North of Entebbe and about 7 hours by bus, our primary mode of transportation once we are in Uganda.
Uganda’s climate is temperate during our time here. 80s in the daytime and 60s at night. The equator divides Uganda at Entebbe and there is even a place where you stand in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres at the same time. Uganda’s population is approximately 37M people and 38% of the people live on less than $1.25/day. 84% of the people live in rural areas and remote villages where they live a life of subsistence. The women do most of the work in these villages, including preparing food, making clothing, fetching water and firewood and caring for the elderly and the orphaned. These women are like other women around the world in that they all face similar challenges, ranging from poverty to providing food, clothing, shelter and education for their families.
The day is nearly over here in Uganda, but our adventure is just beginning. This week, you will meet everyone participating in the mission. There are 57 of us, including doctors, nurses, a firefighter, photographers, artists and many more.