I'm back in the PC office - I'm getting my physical/dental out of the way this week. Got most done on Wednesday but we have to come back within 72 hours to have our Mantoux read - PC will even pay for you to stay in Kampala the two days, but I opted to go back (not that big a trip and personally, I don't care for Kampala - too noisy, polluted, crowded, etc.) Everything came out great - nice to know! Was extremely lucky w. the rain too - it poured yesterday (THursday) and the road to Mukono was nearly impassible (Fred went to Kamapala for chicken vaccine and was stopped for 3 hours near Kisoga for a line of matatus being pushed up the hill!); today appears to be sunny, too! Don't know if the mudslide in Eastern Uganda made the news - about 100 people killed they think. People were squatting on public park land (and the government doesn't look), and had cut down most of the trees on the side of a big hill - and it gave way in the heavy rains! It's really been raining!!!
On the way in today (we left right at 6:00) another driver stopped our matatu on the and said there was flooding in Kampala so our driver was going to go a different way, but he made a few phone calls and guess that was not true! There was a big accident in Mukono and traffic was stopped both ways, but we managed to take a road around the country and miss that (phew)! Travel here is always an adventure!!!
On to the week past - We had our COS (Close of Service) party last Saturday - lots of fun. Only 7 missing out of about 40 of us left. We had a great Ethiopian buffet - nice spicey food - then a slide show and dancing. I made it till 11:30! Was up at 7:30 and out of town by 8:15. I was pretty sure there was not going to be any action at the hotel till noon! A little rain on the way back but the road was still O.K. I'll miss the PC "kids" - a great group all in all. It's amazing how they have gotten close after being dropped in a foreign country by chance - but it does take a certain "breed" to go into PC I guess - crazy? maybe, but also able to tolerate ambiguity and being uncomfortable a lot of the time!
Monday it rained all nite - I slept for 10 hours! YEA! I got started at PH but I couldn't get the bakery office key to type and Sr. J was in Kampala so I went to my apt. to sort papers for burning. I washed my sheets etc., hung them out - and then it started to POUR - it rained for hours. The sun came back out at 3:00 and stuff sort of dried. Went back down to PH after tea w. Holly. At that point, one of the hospital Sisters came to PH to tell one of the PH Sisiters (only Sr. Benna around) that Anastasia (the girl w. diabetes and sickle cell) who's been in the hospital since Friday nite was unattended and doing badly (you are supposed to provide a caretakers for every patient). Becky and I went up with the matron, Auntie Justine, who had been checking on her during the day. Apparently Anastasia had tried to get out of bed to poop and fell - when we saw her at 4:00 she was totally unresponsive and her breathing was intermittent..she looked bad. Josephine came by and said she'd been there at 3 and Anastasia was talking tho' refused to eat. Sr. Juliet was on her way back from Kampala but her taxi was stuck between Mukono and Kisoga (got there at 10:00); She called the priest to come and give Last Rites and he did. The Doctor stopped and put in a nasal feeding tube. She was till alive hen we left around 10:30 but was having convulsions and still not conscious. Two girls were staying the nite (and they were scared). Poor girl - she's so thin and lives w. constant pain - but she's a fighter! When I got to PH two years ago I thought she'd be dead in a week! For the medical types, the nurse started her on an IV of Glucose (she's diabetic); the Doctor said to give Saline and not Glucose; the nurse said they were very low on saline and he said "FIND SOME" - she rolled her eyes!
Tuesday a.m. Sr. J stopped by and said Anastasia died at 2 a.m. Hope and Proscovia were at the hospial as caretakers and it was peaceful after she got some painkillers.
Sr. J and I went to town to buy a coffin and some barkcloth (for wrapping the body). The coffins are wood and ready made - they didn't have any little ones (she was only about 50 lbs.) so had to take a long, but thin one! Sr. J was really angry at the family for not coming to see her at the hospital. They live nearby and we know they had heard from others that Anastasia was very sick, but they refused to come (it's not uncommon for parents of disabled children to just divorce themselves from the child; also they are afraid they might get stuck having to pay something if they come to the hospital). The grandmother was at the hospital in the early morning visiting someone else and told Sr. J the family was all in Nkokonjeru but had no money to contribute! Sr. J arranged for a Mass at noon at PH and the family attended!!! w. lots of weeping and wailing! I told the father "Sorry you didn't see her when she was still alive" and walked away - not nice but I was pissed! The family then jumped in the truck to go w. the coffin to their home for burial! (looked good for the home crowd - sorry, I am bitter).
I spent the rest of the day typing (found the key). Then, Holly, Shari, Becky and I had a "paper burning party" - piles of PC paper! Holly even brought marshmallows to roast!
Wednesday Becky and I went early to Kampala - she wanted to do some shopping and I left her at Logogo Mall and hiked up to the PC office. I'm doing my physical early to get that checked off at least. I met with the PC nurse for urine, stool and blood and then down to The Surgery (muzungu clinic) to see the Doctor for the rest. Very thorough and I came off well. Had lunch at the little cafe there - cream of mushroom soup and 2 big slices of warm brown bread - delicious. (I'm getting excited about food again in anticipation of coming home). Back to PC and then to the dentist for Xrays and cleaning - also O.K.
I joined Shari's friend Michelle at the office and we came back to Nkokonjeru together - road was slippery but passable. "Checked in" w. Sr. J - they'd all been to Anastasia's buial but by 6 were cleaning out the central building as a temporary chicken coop for 250 chicks that are coming (we hope) from the National Agricultural Advisory Service (they are notoriously unreliable).
Talked to Gail - a blistering 33 degrees F in Minnesota (0 C) - might go up to 40 next wek - WOW - lots of snow left!
Thursday a.m. Sr. J, Sr. Seraphine and I sat down and finally got the Application done for a new PCV (but probably won't come till Oct.)! It only took an hour...Sister worried about making the appliation perfect - I said PC knows PH well enough and let's just get it done!
The day started sunny (more laundry up) and Becky and I were having a cup of tea about 10 while waiting for the Butabika nurses to come for the Epilepsy Clinic when the skies opened up - poured for almost 2 hours and we were literally trapped in the Sister's house! Fortunately, the nurses came sometime in there (Moses,the CBR volunter, had turned his phone off because of the lightening) and they were all working away! Moses has really come a long way - he was handling that alone and very well; also, Tuesday, he took a letter and the CBR 2010 Workplan to the Town's Community Development Officer (CDO) in the hopes of getting them to become more involved w. our work and thereby more (or at least somewhat) involved w. the disabled in the community like they are supposed to be. Anyway, the CDO wanted a budget and I told Moses I didn't have time right now and he said "I'll do it"! Great news - that's how it's supposed to work!!! We hand off!
We'd invited the CDO to come and see the Epilepsy Clinic which he did, despite the rain (I was impressed) and Sr. Juliet talked his ear off about how they could be involved! He also brought along some other people from the city office and one lady who's challenging the incumbent for the mayor job! Got him to sign off on the new PCV application - PC wants someone to say it's not a "fly by nite" organization and has been in the community for more than 2 years (try 82!). So, that was a bonus!
Butabika sent out four nurses and their supervisor - she was here to try to get Sr. J to take some elderly from the Psychiatric Hospital - Sr. J. said PH was full (it is). We've had quite a time (esp. Becky) w. the old man who's a Congolege refugee - incontinent, demanding, nasty - and Sister is not taking any more "unknowns". The nurses and Moses worked till 4:00 (63 patients) and then we had lunch! That will be my last Epilepsy Clinic - sort of sad. It's starting to be a lot of "lasts" - but I'm SO ready to go!
Then Sr. J and I met w. the Holland girls to review their proposed program. Their project is going to involve following 6 PH residents w. varying disabilities including going to their homes to see what could be done there (inexpensively) to improve the home environment (accessible latrine, easier feeding, hygiene routine etc.). It sounds exciting and Moses and Nelson will be going w. them. When we were done we used their laptop to see a CD Evelien and Tessa had sent of their life in Holland. Got to see their homes and watch them make chipati (flat bread) - Sr. was amazed at the road, stoves, etc....and esp. the snow!!! (about 1").
So, that's the week - it went fast. 'Course w. two days in Kampala it would - I should be back fairly early today and check the PO.
It's coming to a close - sort of mixed feelings - don't worry, I won't extend!! But I will miss the people I see every day; it is a nice country...here I am using the internet and having great lunches - what's to complain about?
Thanks to all for your patience w. my ramblings - and for your constant support and prayers. Almost there!!!!