Update no. 2 from Kiwoko

Helen_byers Posted by Helen Byers on Mon, 05 Nov 2012 | 4 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

Since my last blog (please note it didn’t take me a month to write this blog!), my life in Kiwoko has fallen into a routine which I find so hard to believe, given that when I first arrived I couldn’t have imagined this would ever happen even if I stayed 6 months.

Sometimes I have to remind myself of the bizarreness of things. As I walked across the grass in the sun the other day on my way to work, a lizard crossed my path (I’m not sure if this is good luck or bad luck!), I then greeted several ladies in brightly coloured gomesis (traditional Ugandan dress) before arriving to work to find as Ian Clarke would say ‘The man with the key has gone.’ For a girl who is used to commuting across Belfast, usually in the rain, and frequently finding herself late for work (tut tut) the commute here is a joy in comparison!

My teaching sessions have started and have been more stressful than I thought! Yesterday I needed my notes printed for my session that afternoon. Being as organised as ever, even without my usual distractions, I finished the notes in the morning and thought I’ll print these now and have plenty of time to read over them and prepare before 4 o’clock. So off I popped to the computer room. And there was no one there. No problem I thought, I still have plenty of time. I tried again before lunch. The door was open…success, or so I thought. I went in and explained what I needed. There followed the typical Ugandan facial expression of raised eyebrows and noise of ‘eh’ and ‘we have a problem.’ Turns out there was no electricity in that side of the hospital so no functioning printer. Slightly more concerned now but undeterred, I said I would return after lunch at 2. And so I did. And the door was locked. At 3 o’clock I finally got my notes printed giving me one hour to finish preparing. But I managed and the class went ahead, hopefully with the staff being able to follow my Northern Irish cum Ugandan accent!

I had bought plastic folders for them to keep these long awaited notes in which garnered me a round of applause when I handed them out. And when I suggested that they may have lost last week’s notes and offered a second copy, I got told off by Richard, the pharmacist in charge, for even suggesting that they might have lost them! It’s refreshing to see people who are so interested to learn and so grateful for a plastic folder!

I have also recently had some company in the guest house and no it’s not more rats if thats what you’re thinking. This is a distinct improvement in the form of a lovely couple from the Maridi team to South Sudan making a stop at Kiwoko for a few days. It’s been wonderful to meet them and share stories and experiences. I have been really blessed and encouraged by their company, even for this short length of time.

Last weekend I was in Kampala treating myself by drinking coffee, eating ice cream and even doing a little bit of shopping! It really showed me how much we take these things for granted and also how much nicer they are when they are rarer in occurrence! I even panicked a little looking around a lovely African craft market as there were so many beautiful things and they weren’t very expensive and I just didn’t know what to do…in my medical opinion this is a condition called shopping withdrawal and one has to be careful on re-introduction to the commercial world. I learned the hard way.

I’m writing this on a Friday afternoon which is basically the weekend so I’m taking off my pharmacist hat and I’m going to go and help the very talented Tania paint murals on the walls in the paediatric ward this afternoon. I’m enjoying the opportunity to get involved in different aspects of the work here and try out some different skills!

And tomorrow I’m off on safari!! We recently had a patient here who was attacked by a leopard…seriously…(although he may or may not have been trying to trap the leopard) so please pray for me!

Love Helen


Niall Kissick said Mon, 05 Nov 2012 03:11PM
Lovely to read and hear you are doing well! Miss you and your banter nick is getting ideas above his station! Love and prayers. Niall
Mark Tilley said Mon, 05 Nov 2012 03:58PM
Glad you're having such an awesome time! It all sounds right up your street, and I'm sure everyone loves you. Also, in terms of the African craft, I don't want you to feel you need to get me a big present. Something small and expensive will do. I was just thinking about going for coffee, but youve inspired me to stay home, in the hopes that a break between coffee shops will make ithe next one better. Hope you are currently having a fantastic safari experience! Lots a love :)
Andrew Neill said Mon, 05 Nov 2012 05:06PM
Hey Helen! Super to hear how well everything is going. Also hope you didn't get eaten by that Leopard. Me and Niall would have to take shifts to console Nick. Cant believe you've been out there so long. Hope things continue to go so well! Neiller
Margaret Wilson said Wed, 07 Nov 2012 05:26PM
Hey Helen, I just happened to be searching the CMSi website for something and am flabbergasted to find your wee face there. What a long way you've come since we last spoke (in Tesco's and you and Nick were buying sweets for a party!) May God bless you richly for your choosing to do some time in Kiwoko and I know from others reports that you'll probably benefit and be blessed more than you bless them by your kindness! I hope you're coping with the change in life and God's teaching you some amazing stuff. Would love to hear some of it when you get back (and I know you'll get back cos I see that poor Quinn boy looking desolate in every facebook picture haha!) Blessings and love, Margaret (Wilson)

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