Disclaimer: The views expressed on this website are entirely my own and do not reflect any position of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps.
I have a fairly decent home for a volunteer, with running hot/cold water, flush toilet, and furniture provided by the school. It is 5 rooms total with a kitchen, living room, bathroom, and 2 bedrooms. I have fixed a little plumbing, put a board up to cover the attic hole (I don’t really want to share my house with rats or bats), and put mosquito netting and curtains at the doors and windows.
They have a fairly large outdoor market here which is nice since most of the fruit and veggies don’t save very long without refrigeration, and I probably won’t eat much meat because it is a bit tough. I have a hard time buying meat that is not refrigerated even though it will be cooked. And I definitely can NOT slaughter my own chicken! The Ugandans say that if you want to purchase meat, you will know it is fresh if it is attracting flies. Makes sense but not my cup of tea.
The electricity goes out a few times each day and can stay out sometimes for up to a week. At my home if there is no electricity, there is no running water either, so I conserve computer energy and water and use solar for light. And, of course, back to bucket bathing! Yesterday I did laundry and cleaned my house. OK, I am going to have to get faster on the laundry. It took me 5 hours to do all my clothes and my sheets by hand. Cleaning the house consisted of dusting (wiping with water) the furniture, sweeping the floor, cleaning the bathroom, and washing the floor with a wet soapy rag. No more cleaning for a while. OK, I lied. I will probably at least sweep every week. I am OLD, TIRED, and DECREPIT!! (Not to mention a wuss and a weakling.) Man, are Americans spoiled with their gadgets.
My supervisor just got back from a trip to SanFrancisco for a seminar and one of the other teachers is going to Minnesota soon to complete one of her modules for the online Master’s course she is taking. It is impressive that they take their jobs so seriously. I have learned a little more about the nursing school. The first class started almost two and a half years ago and is set to graduate in November. There are 47 in that class. Then every 6 months they have started another group, so we have 5 groups right now. Most of the groups have 90-120 students. The Ministry of Health wants them to limit the number to 100 which is a good idea since they really don’t have the room and it is very difficult to teach that many in one class. We discussed dividing the students into smaller groups but there is not enough classroom space.
They are building a larger skills lab and apparently have some equipment in storage which they have no room for right now. The lab instructor frequently has students drop in. Her door is always open and if she does not have a class then she will stop whatever she is doing and offer medical services (dressing changes, wound care, medication for minor problems), refer students to the hospital, or provide short teaching sessions. She is extremely smart. Listening to her teach reminds me of reading the textbook! It is great to see the experience that comes to these students. For the most part, they perform the skills similar to the way we are taught, but with a little different equipment and very limited resources at their disposal.
We take for granted many of the medical benefits of the U.S. such as running water, reliable electricity, disposables materials, and fancy equipment. They don’t have water pitchers at the side of the bed, hot water washing machines, sinks at each bedside, or IV machines. Imagine doing all the laundry by hand! But, despite missing what we would consider standard, they are dedicated and extremely hard working. And the vision of the school; bringing knowledge of essential healthcare approved practices to the communities and encouraging buy-in by the people to promote sustainability, well, that is commendable.
More to come at the end of the week....