In two days time a group of us are setting off to visit Suubi Medical Centre in Busu, Iganga, Uganda. We’ve been preparing for months, collecting medications and medical equipment for the maternity ward there and now, the date is almost upon us.
The tour group we are going with, Msafiri Tours, usually takes groups of school students and supports medical students on placement at the Medical Centre, so taking me, an ‘older lady’ with disabilities, will be interesting for them, to say the least!
My nerves are due to realistic fears. I do not walk well and use a walking stick. I suffer with fatigue and pain. Why am I embarking on this mission then? Well, two years ago I was in a wheelchair after spending years unable to go out due to illness. I am pretty sure I will be back in a wheelchair again in the future and so, I am taking this space in time where I have the ability to walk a short distance, to visit a place I have known about and followed for about nine years and have been actively fundraising for, for about a year. I sponsor a twelve year old girl from the village, Suubi, the first to be born at the Medical Centre, to go to school and I am looking forward to meeting her and her family. I am also supporting a Sofia who has volunteered for years at the Centre, to do her nursing training and am excited to meet her and all the Suubi Medical Centre staff.
I have no nursing training, so will be useless in that aspect, but as a retired social worker, I hope to use my communication skills to talk to some of the women in the village who craft. We have already started selling Ugandan crafts at local markets in North Devon and Somerset to fundraise for the Centre and now hope to develop the ladies skills by giving them the equipment needed to make more products and in turn help them gain more income.
Some of the others going have more practical skills and are planning to build ovens, paint the school, re-tile the maternity unit and generally help with anything that needs doing. Everyone’s skills will be utilised in the best way possible.
I look forward to sharing my journey with you over the next fortnight, the difficulties and dilemmas my health brings, the experience of going to a new country, meeting people with a different cultural background, the joy of the music and different lifestyle, the country and wildlife. Perhaps you will join us next time (as I definitely plan to make this visit as often as my health allows)? Don’t let anything hold you back from doing what you can, when you can.
My next post will be from Uganda!