Friday, January 15, 2010

Come to the front for your wounds...

As you know, after our night of staying up all night watching Lokute, we were due to teach our health class in Masese. When Tamara and Jeremy came to pick us up at the hospital, I was on the verge of collapse, sprawled across the floor nearly asleep. I dragged myself up from the floor and flung myself across the birthing table where a sadly dry muffin awaited me. After a short discussion on who would watch Lokute, we decided to text Emma to see if she could come.

"What hospital are we at again?" I asked Tamara.
"Al Shafa."
"Al what?"
"Al Shafa."
"How do you spell that?"
"A-l S-h-a-f-a."
"OK," I said as I attempted to type that into my phone.
"Wait, spell it again."
"Let me just do it for you," Tamara finally suggested reaching for my phone.

Exhausted. That is what I was.

After a quick trip home to take a shower we were on the road again, headed to Masese with a steaming cup of the most delicious coffee I've ever tasted. By the time we got there the caffeine was beginning to kick in and I was actually somewhat pleased to be greeted by the mob of children that had begun to climb the side of the car like monkeys.

Whenever going to Masese, my goal is to try and stay clean for as long as possible. Now, I know that cleanliness is not a reality in this place, but it's fun to see how long you can go. Of course, in my tiredness, this did not last long. Upon climbing out of the car, my leg slid along the outside and a huge streak of mud stretched out across my leg. There had also been a rainstorm the night before so the ground was covered in mud. The children walked about barefoot with inch think patties of mud caked to their feet that gave the appearance that they were wearing shoes.

About an hour after arriving we began our teaching session. I'll spare you all the details of this 5 hour lecture, but in a nutshell, we talked about hand washing, poop, worms, wounds, and malaria. I found out after 45 minutes of poop discussion that the village of Masese only has one latrine and hardly anyone uses it. There is very limited drinking water. The spout closest to the church charges a fee to retrieve clean water and it a village as poor as Masese, that's a hard fee to pay.

The lesson ended with wound care. Being the daughter of a teacher, I've picked up a few techniques over the years and knew that for people to really learn and the enjoy what they are learning, you have to have hands on teaching. Thus the creation of my fake wounds. A small container of blood made out of flour, water, and red dye and another container of pus made of foaming laundry soap, water, yellow dye, and a little dirt. We broke them up into groups of 4 and one by one they came up to receive their wounds then returned to their group where another member would have to treat the wound. This continued on for about and hour and a half while everyone got a turn to play each role. There were people running about with "blood" dripping down their faces and arms. Mangled fingers. I was running about yelling "Your patient is bleeding to death! Hurry!!" as these poor people tried to pick the right size gauze to use. It was, to say the least, hysterical. And probably even more so to me because I was so tired. But I have to say, I think that was the most fun I had the whole time I was in Uganda. (So thanks Tamara and Jeremy for asking us to teach that class!!)

We did treat one real wound as an example. It was that of a young boy that Jeremy had been telling us about. He had bumped into a stool or something about a year ago and hidden the small wound. Now, it's huge and infected and so far into the bone that he's probably going to need surgery to repair it. That right there is why we did this class. To try and prevent small little injuries from turning into huge, life-threatening ones. Because a little antiseptic and a band-aid and that boy would have been fine. Tamara and Jeremy have this great vision of being about to teach the people there how to care for each other so that they don't need people like Andrea and I to come in and treat their wounds. Instead, they will be able to help each other and in turn, preventing things so horrible you would never believe unless you'd been there to seem them.

The village of Masese has been blessed with some amazing people, both local and foreign, who are striving to make it a better place. I reccommend you check out Katie's blog too. She's been living there for a while and is currently raising 14 little girls. She has also partnered with a local medical distributer is able to get all the health care supplies for Masese for free.

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