Visit and serve the Village of Kyerima
After a bad nights sleep due to a humid night leading to a morning storm and an annoying mosquito, we set out early to the AH office to divide the medication and supplies we were to use today into separate bags. This would mean we could give the various team leaders a bag containing everything they would need for their days duties and so expedite the setup process. We had medication, malaria and typhoid testing kits and first aid supplies. We were heading out to the village of Kyerima about 2.5 hrs drive from Kampala. Here we set base and began to administer first aid, deal with aches and pains, test for typhoid and malaria and administer antibiotics if tests came back positive and generally entertain and serve the communities around Kyerima. We were also bringing with us some 20 ltr water containers with stands for the village to put water in. At this stage the villagers were travelling some distance to collect water in their jerry cans to use for washing and drinking. The goal of AH is to fund putting in some bores for water and I believe the money has been allocated for this already. The problem with water here in Uganda is that it is not always clean to drink. I witnessed many times cars, trucks and Boda bodas being washed in water ways, the same water ways that villagers were coming to to draw water to drink and wash. Grace said she saw some people tipping sewerage into waterways at one spot. Imagine what the people downstream would be drinking!
When we got there, there was a large number of people already waiting. Word had been sent out to say we were coming and so people from the surrounding villages had come to have health care provided. Some had walked all morning with their families to be there. Once setup, queues were arranged for each station. Grace and I were on the first aid station, others manned a ‘pharmacy’ station to dispense medication and still others manned a typhoid and malaria testing station. The day was very busy, we saw some with deep wounds, one from a push bike accident 8 years ago that had been left untreated on a man, another from a fox attack that had left wounds in a boys hand and legs. We saw many cases of chicken pox, and rashes, some that had developed into open wounds from infrequent washing/bathing. During this time some of our team played games with the children, and others played the guitar and sang. I was told that this village and many in the surrounding area had been steeped in witchcraft for a long time but they had a church and a pastor and were slowly ‘coming around’ to the Christian faith. It was refreshing to see a change in spirit towards each other, but I also was told that we had to be careful with tricks as anything ‘magic’ could cause them to slip back into or re-embrace witchcraft and everything bound up with that.
So after about 3-4 hours straight, we found the end of the line. It was a very satisfying experience. We were tired but felt that we had achieved something very worthwhile. Many of the ailments we had seen would not have developed that far if simple western medical care had been provided early on. So, we felt we had provided some difference in the lives of Kyerima and its surrounding villages. As we left heading back to Kampala, we past many of the locals on their walk home. I think they were grateful for the care they received. I wondered how they must be feeling about a bunch of Mzungu's (white people) coming to their village, ministering to their needs for a day and then heading off. But I also felt they did appreciate it, and I was also encouraged that AH wasn’t finished there. Funding had been approved for 3 wells, a school building and, I think, a first aid room as part of the school. So help would continue to flow, it wasn’t going to be a one time wonder.