Life in Uganda

Mpkenandjudith Posted by Ken & Judith Finch on Tue, 27 Jan 2009 | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

On Sunday Kiwoko Town sent various sports teams to a town about 70 km north of us called Ngoma. It was a big group that went including some members of the Kiwoko Hospital community. They played a number of competitions including football and pool. By all accounts it was a good day and people really enjoyed themselves. The football in particular was exciting as Kiwoko had been 2:0 down but came back to earn a 2:2 draw. Some people it seems had too good a day and as usual most people were packed into vehicles on the journey. A pick up truck was carrying 20 people in the open back. This is acceptable in Uganda even though if you sit inside you must be wearing a seat belt! – such are the contradictions here.

The driver of the pick-up was also a bit worse for wear it seems but fortunately the local District Police Commander had gone with the party and having seen the amount he had drunk had instructed him not to drive his vehicle. However when the DPC was out of sight he got in and started driving back to Kiwoko. A few kms out of Ngoma and near tragedy struck – they met a Charcoal lorry on the road (literally) and people in the back of the pick up were scattered across the road.

The injured were taken to the Health Centre in Ngoma only 6 km back but they also alerted the hospital and we sent an ambulance. Sadly when they reached the Government Health Centre very few drugs or other materials were in stock and little was done there – a common story in Uganda. Our ambulance brought back the most serious cases that night to Kiwoko and people were operated on and treated accordingly here – in fact the medical team reacted fantastically well to the situation.

What does this one incident say about Uganda and Kiwoko – well it demonstrated the difference between care provided at Kiwoko and other health facilities; it shows some of the ridiculousness of travel when people in vehicles must have seat belts but 20 people can happily crush into the back of a pick up truck and of course the standard of driving in Uganda leaves a lot to be desired.

Ken and Judith Finch

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