Visiting Lacor Hospital in Gulu

Trip Start Aug 19, 2012
1
29
61
Trip End Ongoing


Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
shadow
Where I stayed
Lacor Hospital Guesthouse
What I did
St. Mary's Lacor Hospital

Flag of Uganda  ,
Monday, November 26, 2012

Our week in Gulu was our first and only experience of rural Africa.

First impressions?  Dust, dust, dust.  You can't touch anything without staining yourself with red dust.  And people don't drive with their windows closed and the air con on.  It's too costly.

Second impression?  St. Mary's Lacor Hospital is a little oasis in Gulu.  Unfortunately, we didn't feel safe taking our cameras out to take photos of the traditional red-brown, round, thatched roof huts that comprise most of the village homes.  We also didn't feel comfortable taking photos of the crowds of people milling about the hospital grounds, most of whom were relatives of patients who were there to feed and care for the patients (nurses only administer meds).  Lacor grounds themselves are very well built and our guesthouse was a wonderful haven WITH a SHOWER and SOAP.  We were so excited about those things when we arrived that our hosts started getting a bit concerned about us.

Seriously, after living so basically and with no shower (or hot water at that) for over a week really made us appreciate what we had when we got to Lacor.

We even had all of our meals prepared for us, and laundry washed and ironed for us.  Ironed.  Yes, ironed.  

And to our utter amazement, we got handmade gnocchi twice while we were there.  The perks of being a predominantly Italian-run NGO.

It was a privilege to be able to attend medical rounds with an attending and his interns and medical officers (i.e., medical students and residents).  It was also a privilege to spend time with the Pharmacist Without Borders pharmacist, Jen, who took advantage of my help to edit and update a parenteral drug guideline she was developing for the hospital.  Tough to do when nobody else on the grounds has the appropriate training to do it.

It was eye opening to observe the level of training of local medical staff and how pharmacists are utilized (or not utilized) in the hospital setting.

We also got to meet some neat people at the guesthouse from Quebec and the UK.  And Adrian had a relaxing time, reading, drinking beer on the porch, and spending some time with the internal audit team (1 man) during our stay.  When Adrian walked into the office, he askedthe staff whether this was the internal audit department.  Response he got, "I AM internal audit".  :)

We also got to visit St. Jude's orphanage about 2 km away.  We actually resorted to boda bodas (the motorbike taxis even locals warn us not to ride), and vehemently insisted that they drive slowly.  It was relatively safe given that we were on the backroads where very little traffic passes.  I rode "man style" in my skirt, because I wasn't comfortable riding sideways like a proper lady in a skirt, because, well, as I implied, I didn't want to die.  Got some amused stares.  Adrian also got asked if he knew Jet Li.  Come to think of it, he got called Jackie Chan in Cape Town, and I got called Jackie Chan's sister.  (Matt H., if you're reading this, make sure to tell your boys!)

St. Jude's was a good experience for us, as we got to interact with other severely disabled children.  It was a marked difference from our experience at CHAIN Foundation, which made us realize how blessed CHAIN really is.

Having been at the orphanage in Hengyang (China) really helped us to feel comfortable interacting with the disabled children.

I can't say the Post Bus ride to and from Gulu was pleasant, especially for me.  By the end of both rides, I had been the recipient of spit, hair, food, drunken water, pee, poo, vomit, and other unidentifiable substances on me to some degree.  Apparently, this is not typical.  I was just "lucky" both ways.  Lesson learned?  DO NOT SIT NEAR CHILDREN.  I hate to say this, but the Post Bus rides were so horrific that I would think twice before returning to Gulu again on my own.

So, overall, we had an enlightening time in Gulu.  We can now officially say we were "up country" in Uganda and survived.
Slideshow Report as Spam

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: