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2010-02-11 Itukula Village
October 16, 2010

I had to repent because I never finished uploading my blog posts after we returned from Uganda. So here they are one at a time. I will do better next time!

2010-02-11 Itukula Village

Today has been a whirlwind! We held our first medical clinic and evangelistic ministry in the village of Itukula, sponsored by Pastor Geoffrey's church. It was about an hour from Jinja. A large crowd was   assembled and waiting for us when we arrived. Volunteers helped set up the portable sound system so that music and an evangelistic message could begin immediately.

The medical team, myself included, went to set up our clinic in the small church building. Several children excitedly shouted “Muzungu!” as we walked by, hands reaching out to touch our light-colored skin. While muzungus (white people) are common enough in the larger towns, many of the smaller villages have very little contact with us muzungus. Even driving down the dirt roads we are usually met with smiles, waves, and the “muzungu chant”. :-)

This was my first experience with holding a medical clinic in a village. My first two trips were both to work at Life Link Medical Centre in Bulenga Province. My stints there did not prepare me for today's experience. I was Doctor Sandi today...and I didn't like that! I felt so incompetent! There is so much I need to learn before I feel even semi-comfortable treating patients here.

Thanks to  my interpreter, Margaret, I would hear each patient's list of complaints. It would go something like this:

Interpreter: Doctor, this patient has a problem. The patient's problem is body heat on and off, malaria, and chest pain...and wait doctor, the patient now states she has another problem. The problem now is pain in her back and in her joints. And she has another problem, doctor. She gets the flu very often, and when she gets the flu she has a cough. And she has headache.

I would then have to sift through type of pain, location of pain, what brings the pain on, what “she gets flu very often” actually means, and so forth. So many things are interconnected, and the harsh lifestyle itself was the cause of many of the people's aches and pains. Women work in the fields, bent over with a baby tied to their back, with short handled hoes. Even most of the brooms are very short and require the user to bend over. Add that to heavy loads that are regularly carried...often on their heads or backs...and it is no surprise that even pre-teens complain of back pain.

My heart breaks out of both a desire to help coupled with the feeling of being so inadequate...I end my first day feeling somewhat overwhelmed with the great need and feeling so grateful to actually be here to show the love of God through the work that I'm doing. They shared the day's total numbers during the team meeting after dinner tonight.

I am encouraged by the number of people we were able to reach in just one day.  And I keep thinking about what several people said to us earlier today when we arrived in Itukula―”We heard about your delay, and we have been praying for you...” I think about us in America praying for our brothers and sisters in Africa. But somehow I never think about our brothers and sisters in Africa praying for us...



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