Saturday, May 17, 2014

A moment

I grinned at the boy who grinned back.  He turned to face me and I saw a large, white mass growing, and oozing out of the side of his head.
I looked away.

A mother grabbed my skirt and gave me her daughter.  The back of the little girl's head was necrotic and looked like it had been eaten away.  There were flies in it.
All I could say was, "I'm sorry.  I'm not a doctor."

Holiness to me are moments that blind me to the past and future, granting me complete presence.
Mountains do this to me.
Love does this to me.
And so do moments like these.

I am not thinking, only seeing.  A feeling rising up from the bottom of my stomach and settling in my throat. I smell of sick bodies 5 people thick all around me.

I go in to see the doctor and explain this new tool I developed to help better track malaria testing.

But the boy is still outside.

But the girl is still waiting.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Update, 2 months in, Uganda

I've been here now for almost two months.  It feels like a week.

I spend a lot of time in the field.  Trying to call data collectors to find out why they are two hours late.  Trying to print things in the precious moments between power outages.  Trying not to let my New York sensibilities scare the nice Ugandan people.

I pick up a lot of babies because that is what I like to do.  I gave a piece of my banana to a little girl who waited, alone, in the dirt, for her mother to leave the clinic.  She started choking and then threw it up all over herself.  I should probably not feed the babies.

My team is amazing and we make the numbingly bumpy car rides fun.  Vicky talks about her boyfriend and "why won't he propose already?" I talk about how, at the end of the day, all I really want is someone to share coffee with.  Nescafe doesn't count.

I've made so many friends.  They're all very sexy.  Liz is an american journalist who travels around Africa writing stories about genocide.  Fluff pieces really.  Emily works on the South Sudan humanitarian crisis.  Jenny is dating (and the mother of his son) a Ugandan superstar.  Leanne goes deep into the field providing family planning to those who need it most but are most scared.  Morgan is leaving us.  She is moving to Papua New Guinea to work on domestic violence an epidemic affecting almost 100% of women.  And I've got my mosquitoes.  Which is super sexy.

I've joined the mountain climbing club of Uganda and every week I climb some rocks and drink some adrenaline and get stronger and fight my fear.  Also it helps that the other rock climbers are gorgeous.

I don't know where my long term base will be or when I'm going to come home for a visit, but I'll keep you all posted.

I'm planning to go to Ugandan mass in continuation of my education to learn and understand what sustains people beyond the medicine.  What gives people dignity and strength.  Maybe I'll even get my hair braided.

Maybe not.