Monday, March 10, 2014

More from Hope's Journal...

With Maureen's donated suitcase now being used to pack medical
supplies, we headed to the office. From there it was off to a pharmacy
to buy more supplies: normal saline, hydrogen peroxide, gloves,
antibiotics, malaria treatment meds, tape for bandages, etc.

Then to the Saturday market, which is a well organized Ugandan version
of a mall.
Rows and rows of merchants booths lined or stacked with their wares:
large burlap bags of beans and flour and grains (we had seen the
process of sorting and cleaning the beans...young kids sitting in an
alley with sieve like trays...not separating the wheat from the chaff,
but separating the bean from what was to be discarded). Other
merchants sold beautiful fruits: limes, pineapples, papaya,
banana...neatly stacked and displayed. The sewing section had about a
dozen women at treadle machines sewing, their brightly colored aprons
and dresses and bolts of fabrics surrounding them in neat stacks or
hung on hangers.

There was a fish section, either fresh or dried, arranged neatly on a
long wooden table. In the meat section Caren came close to losing what
little breakfast she had eaten. Butchered carcasses were hanging.
When we passed by, the butcher was tossing what looked like the entire
intestinal track of a cow onto the table, all slimy and pink and
mucoid. The smell of raw meat, the sound of it slapping onto the
table, the heat of the day, the still warm air as we walked through
the crowded inner alleys of the in Africa. It nearly
took Caren, a life long vegetarian, down and out.

Relief for the vegetarians came soon. We came upon the home goods
area. Caren and Ellie bought some small candles made out of repurposed
tins. Wicks were threaded  through the cap, paraffin or kerosine would
be needed to light.  We saw an iron that was heated by coal. The
hinged top could hold perhaps a cup of hot coals that quickly heated
the iron. If it got too hot, it would be dipped in water. Hardware,
household cleaning tools, again, rows of merchants. A stationary
section was also available where we could have bought composition
notebooks for Elizabeth's medical record keeping, but Ben advised us
to purchase those at a wholesale store.  Leaving the market, it was
off to visit Rose and to meet Stella, Caren's sponsored daughter.

Gracious, beautiful Rose. A woman of strength, intelligence, and
humor. We toasted National Women's Day with fresh fruit juice Rose had
prepared (papaya, pineapple, and melon) and ate freshly cooked chapati
that was a welcomed mid day meal. Baby Mark showed off his newly
acquired skill of standing and taking 1 or 2 baby steps before leaping
into Rose's  arms with laughter, appreciating the applause of his
audience. We were able to hear of Stella's plans to attend medical
school. Photos were taken, goodbyes were said, hugs were given, then
off to Kagoma Gate.

Ellie and Maureen and Tabitha met with women in one classroom to
discuss the pad project, the women there offering feedback, having
used them. Ellie walked over to the next village to meet with a woman
who had been given a machine by Denise. I believe she has used the
machine but the selling of goods has not yet been realized. She told
Ellie that she had moved to this other village because she thought she
would be able to sell more there.

Meanwhile Caren, Elizabeth and I set up our medical clinic in the
classroom next door. Elizabeth and Caren saw women with general
medical needs (abdominal pain, rashes, abcessed breast, high blood
pressure, pregnancy questions), I set up a wound care station.
Prenatal exams could not be done because there wasn't place for the
women to lie down. An interesting cultural note: if Caren asked a
woman if she felt the baby moving, she would be baby yet.
Elizabeth explained that women carry a fetus until the birth, then it
is referred to as a baby. I wonder if this is one way to protect these
women from the emotional impact of fetal demise, which is so common
here. One can detach from the loss of a fetus, perhaps. One grieves
the loss of a baby.

I saw the young girl with the very deep infected wound on her leg. In
changing her dressing and irrigating the wound again, I did see slight
improvement, as the edges of the wound seemed to be granulating in
ever so slightly. She said that she was taking her antibiotics as
told. I am cautiously optimistic that this wound may heal with some
ongoing care. We'll see her again on Tuesday and the rest will be up
to Elizabeth.

The line, or more like a swarm, of children to be seen grew. Maureen
handled crowd control. There were almost equal numbers of spectators
and patients. I asked the kids if anyone there wanted to be a doctor
or a nurse.  One young girl raised her hand saying she wanted to be a
doctor. Maureen later told me that she watched everything I was doing
with great interest. When having wounds cleaned and bandaged the kids
were given lollipops and a sticker. No surprise word got out. I did
see a couple of kids who were there perhaps for prophylactic lollipop
therapy (barely a scratch to be seen). We saw as many as we could in
the time allowed, then packed up for the day. More supplies will be
needed for Tuesday's clinic and for Elizabeth to continue with

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