“Welcome to Entebbe” is announced over the intercom as I awake from my jetlagged induced sleep. I take a deep breath, exhale, and look over at Alyssa who, in her unplanned yet matching sweatshirt, does the same thing mentally preparing for the weeks ahead. Don’t get me wrong-we are both excited to be here. After working in Uganda for an extended period of time however, we both know what challenges life in Uganda can bring, and fortunately (at least in my opinion) don’t possess the same naïvety as the 20+ missionaries sitting behind us in matching t-shirts ready to engage in a life changing week of orphanage tourism…. Silently we smile at each other as if acknowledging the flicker of doubt the other just experienced, gather our things and disembark the plane.
As far as Ugandan arrivals go, ours went seamlessly. We were 2 of the first people off the plane, through immigration in 10 minutes, found ALL of our bags in a timely manner, weren’t required to unpack and explain the contents of our bags, and our driver was on time. I’ve flown into Uganda more than 10 times and can honestly say that this has only happened once before.
Nicolas greets me with a “Hello Doctor Emy” even though we’ve had multiple conversations about how this is currently far from the truth. We cover our usual conversation topics “How is Trump?”, “When is George Bush coming back?”, the current political situation in Uganda and his all-time favorite; the weather. Before long, we are greeted by John at the Case House and have a delectable dinner of his famous popcorn.
I wake up at 6 after what feels like 30 minutes of sleep to prepare final notes for my meeting with ITW and start to wonder how I will get to said meeting, as it is over 20 minutes away. I go out on a limb and call James, a driver I have not used in over a year. He pulls into the driveway about 30 minutes later, greets me with the biggest hug, and just like that we are driving down the road blaring “Single Ladies” by Beyoncé.
At the ITW office I had the pleasure of meeting with Allan, Collins, Henrietor and Olivia to discuss the wrap-up of the pregnancy project. It’s hard to believe that it has been TWO years since the initial training for the project began and that the project will be completely finished in a few short months.
On Friday I went to UHI to meet with Isaac about the upcoming community project and was easily reminded of one of the reasons I love being here so much-everyone is so friendly! Alyssa and I waited in the hallway for the M&E to finish and were greeted by old friends from finance, IT and cath. We even had the opportunity to say hi to Twalib through the Cath lab doors as he prepared for his second case of the day, Hokie scrub cap in tow!
Following our Friday afternoon meetings, we packed the car and headed “home” to Gulu. On Saturday morning we held the July Support Group and it was the breath of fresh air we both needed. I love the kiddos in this group more than I can possibly express and we always have such a fun time together. While the group is about the children being together and building relationships with one another, we still like to have a central lesson that the group revolves around. This group’s theme was “what I want to be when I grow up” and the responses were amusing to say the least. Alyssa created a power point of common occupations and had the kids raise their hands for what they wanted to be. Afterwards they all drew a picture of themselves at their future jobs and presented to the class. We had a mix of engineers, policemen and nurses. I couldn’t help but laugh at the intricate drawing of Obama one of the children drew titled “I want to be ruler of the world”. Phillip held up a white piece of paper that said in perfect English “I want to be president but can’t draw that.” Sounds like something I would have done when I was younger.
All in all, it was a productive few days and I can’t wait to dive into the work week tomorrow. More to come.