Student Perspectives

Some of the insights of ITW Pilot Project particpants: 6/22/10: Javier DeLuca

 Today was our second day working at Kamuli Mission Hospital. If I had to write about just one thing that I've learned since we got here, it'd be about how friendly the Ugandans are. Everyone I meet, from the hotel clerks to our drivers to the patients in the hospital always greet me with a big smile. They're all excited and happy to meet you, and you get the feeling that they want you to share in their happiness too.

The hospital is unlike any I've ever been to in the states. It's only a single story for starters. And it's very exposed to the elements - there's no air conditioning, no insulation and the windows are basically just holes in the walls, since none of them have glass. Bugs haven't been a problem yet, but I have spotted everything from chickens, goats, stray cats, and pigs walking free around the hospital.

We've met Dr. Alfons several times. He is 1 of 2 doctors working at the hospital. Despite being so busy, he always takes the time to stop and chat with us. He's very calm and relaxed, so you'd never guess what a busy man he is. Today he saw around 100 patients, and he's also taking call tonight. It's amazing that there are doctors out there willing to make such a huge commitment to their patients, but I think it also shows how much more help is still needed out there in many parts of the world. 6/22/10: Emily Crook

Today is our second day in Kamuli and I am very happy to be here. I have already learned so much about the Ugandan culture in general. And not only that, but I am also growing a lot as a person. Today was the first real day that we started showing the trainees how to perform ultrasound. Although the day was difficult, long, and tiring, I could see in each one of trainee’s eyes that they truly appreciated what we were doing. I can tell that this work is going to be hard, but it is most definitely going to be worth it.

6/22/10: Brandon Chapman

Today we met with the nursing and midwife students at the hospital that are going to be our patients during the research trial.  They all look so young and were only on average 20 years of age.  The midwife students all had matching outfits that looked like the old white nursing outfits and the nursing students also all wore the same thing.  After being introduced, Dr. Kristen DeStigter gave a mini lecture on the basic concepts of ultrasound and as we were setting up the ultrasound machine to show them how it works, we were told by one of the nuns that the students have prepared a few songs for us.  They sang a couple of different songs and they had the most beautiful voices I have ever heard.  They had such a strong voice that carried throughout the room and you could see by their facial expressions that they were truly thankful for our presence there.  It was such a nice way to express their thankfulness.  I’ve noticed that the people here value personal relationships in a different way than Americans do.  I could not ever imagine if we were in the United States giving the same presentation to a group of students, that we would have received the same response.  In Uganda, they express their thankfulness through personal meaningful gifts rather than the monetary gifts we give each other in America.   It will definitely be a moment that I will never forget. 

6/20/2010: Brandon Chapman

In the mid-afternoon, we drove to the Kumuli Township where Kamuli Mission Hospital is located. I thought the drive from Entebbe to Kampala was crazy, but the drive to Kumuli was 100 times worse. For the majority of the way it was a single lane with a bunch of pot holes that the driver would swerve and miss to prevent blowing out a tire. On top of the swerving, there were people on “boda boda’s” (motorcycles) and traffic coming in the opposite direction. It was crazy how close we were to hitting people walking along the sides of the streets.

After driving about 3 hours, we made it to Kumuli to see the hospital. We walked through the wards and it was sad to see the accommodations. The pediatric ward was filled with kids with malaria. The rooms were shared by several people and most of the mothers and children were sleeping on the concrete floor. The room was hot and humid. You could just feel the sickness. There were IV bags hanging from a wire on the ceiling. They are very few nurses, so the family members are the primary care providers. One of the rooms had two boys lying in their beds with chest tubes draining pus from their lungs. The faces were so sad and heartbreaking. When we walked through the maternity ward, everyone would smile and wave to us. I’m not sure of the exact reason, but I would like to think it is because they know we are there to help them and provide better medical care. Walking through the wards made a large impact on me and for the first time made me consider pursing global medicine in the future.

Imaging the World provided funds to renovate the room a Kamuli Mission Hospital to use for our Image Quality Study so we could have a nice clean working space with two bathrooms. When we walked in it was far from “nice and clean.” The room was full of dirty desks, beds and chairs that were all stacked on each other. There were pieces of broken glass all over the floor dirt was everywhere. The only “renovation” they did was paint one of walls. We were told that the room will be cleared and all cleaned up by tomorrow at noon.

Seeing the houses at night was interesting. Everything is so dark at night because there are not many lights on the houses only single lanterns on the porch. It reminded me of camping and walking by all the tents with no lights other than a fire or lantern, but this is how they live. It makes you appreciate what we have in the States.

UncategorizedITW Team