Editor’s note: The following was submitted by Shelia Zia, a nurse practitioner who spent a month at CURE Uganda as a volunteer. If you are interested in volunteering with CURE, visit cure.org/go.
I’m not sure what the date is, but I do know it is a Friday. I feel more tired today, even though I didn’t go to the hospital. It’s like that, the weariness – it creeps up on you.
We have a new doctor staying with us, an anesthesiologist who will be working and teaching at the government hospital in Mbale, not CURE. We have cooked together the last two nights, pooling together whatever we can find each day in the outdoor market. There are plenty of bananas, avocados, onions, garlic, tomatoes, rice, and dried beans – all safe to eat if washed very well and rinsed in white vinegar. There is really no (safe) meat available unless I buy a chicken to kill and pluck myself. Today I found a man selling three cucumbers, which was an incredible find. I bought all of them. I have finally gotten used to the smells of the market, a combination of rotting meat and fish, body odor, and excrement.
Each night my new friend returns from her work at the government hospital with more horror stories. They don’t monitor a patient’s vital signs while they are under anesthesia. Ether is used as an anesthetic. Mothers in active labor are sandwiched together like sardines in the hallways and not allowed to cry out. Read the rest of this entry »