Sunday, July 8, 2007

Adventures in Public Health

Kampala seems strangely familiar to me this year. In many ways I feel as though I never left. I find myself able to get to obscure places with no difficulty. Travel around this city is certainly not self-explanatory, but I am having no trouble. It seems weird, but I'm very thankful.
I taught my first public health classes yesterday and the day before. The first day went okay. I started out with the kids, which was WAY more difficult than I expected. It's just that the kids don't really speak all...except for the numbers 1-21 and a few phrases that their teacher taught them. I'm soooo glad that Jasmine was there with me. She was a lifesaver. Michelle would also come in from time to time and rescue us with her awesome kid teaching ability. I just kept thinking to myself...I'm a nurse, and there's a reason I'm not a teacher! I love teaching my patients in the hospital, but that's a whole different animal.
The second day was better. For one, I felt much better...still sick, but at least I wasn't totally suffocating. We went out to a remote village where there is mainly elderly people and orphans. It's the helpless living with the helpless. I was expecting to teach a small group of adults, mainly leaders of the community, but in the typical African fashion, plans changed and I ended up teaching public health to a congregation (and by that I mean 25-30 adults) from the pulpit! Weird, but cool. They would stand up one by one and fire a million questions at me. Most of them spoke no English, all, so there was one middle aged man who would interpret for the crowd and Pastor Livingstone would translate for me. I really enjoy public speaking and teaching about health care, but that was rather...difficult. I deliver babies...I'm not a geriatric specialist by any stretch of the imagination, but I still know more than they do, so that made me the teacher. It went well though and the community was very thankful for the first aid kit we left with them.
In spite of all that is going on and the difficulties of life here, I'm so glad to be here. I love these people and I love what we are doing here. We are still trying to navigate the culture here, which is quite different from home, as you might imagine. It's fun...and awkward at times, and frustrating...and interesting, and...funny.
Time is up. Until next time...Vanessa

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