Life's Hard

Mpkenandjudith Posted by Ken & Judith Finch on Wed, 12 Sep 2007 | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

Life’s not very easy anywhere but the harshness of life here in rural Uganda was brought home to us very strongly recently.

Audette and Fiona were visiting Kiwoko on behalf of ISIS – a charitable foundation which Audette founded some years ago with a friend. ISIS support our baby intensive care unit and we went out to visit a mother and child who had spent some time on the unit. This was meant to be a happy visit – the baby had come onto the unit weighing just 700 grammes and the staff had seen him through to a weight of about 2 kg. Victor as he was named on the unit had then gone home, with his mother due to bring him back for follow up.

Unfortunately the mother had not brought him back for further examination but we had heard recently that he was doing well. As soon as we arrived at the house the mother began to cry and it was clear that things were not good. Susan the nurse in-charge of the unit spoke to the mother and it turned out that Victor had died just the previous week. He had indeed been doing well and putting on weight but had then suffered from some diarrhea. The mother had gone out to dig in her garden in the morning and when she returned home Victor had died probably from dehydration. In Uganda it seems death is often unnecessary and certainly an early trip to the hospital could have resolved things for Victor but too often people delay to bring children to the hosital and the result is too often tragic.The visit was extremely sad but brought home the reality of life for many Ugandans.

The drive home to Kiwoko was a little sombre in the car. On arriving back at the hospital we met a few other staff who were obviously quite distressed. Two staff had lost young children – one of our cleaners had been away with the local church choir when her 2 month old baby daughter died suddenly and unexpectedly. On the same day one of our security staff lost his young child who had been on the paediatric ward for some days.

Death comes here at a faster rate than we are used to but the grief remains the same.