I bet you are wondering what the title of this blog means. Well, that is pretty much all the 4 of us Canadians heard today on our walk through the village! Loosely translated it means "Hello White!". It's quite the feeling to have people run after you screaming "Muzungo! Muzungo!".
Anyways, I am getting ahead of myself! I promised to tell you a bit more about my day yesterday and about our cook. Well, we walked into town yesterday to buy basins (to wash ourselves when there is no running water, which seems to be after 5 pm everyday! :( ), and there was a little boy standing outside of the shop, probably couldn't have been more than a year old. As soon as he saw us white Canadians, he broke out into a fit of laughter that was so intense it caused him to tear up! Apparently we are the funniest thing children here have ever seen! He just followed us around, and every time we said hi to him or waved to him, he would break out in a fit of laughter. It was possibly the cutest thing I have ever experienced in my life!
After our walk, our night was pretty uneventful. We had a group meeting to kind of delegate who will be doing what in the next week. I am our group's secretary - we'll see how that goes given my organizational skills! LOL I had wanted to shower last night as well, but since the water was not working after 5 pm, I was not able to. I have never felt more disgusting in my life than I did today to be honest, but more about that later! Then honestly, I went to my room, wrote my blog, and passed out - I was so exhausted!!
I also promised to tell you a bit about our cook and the situation. So when we got here, our group decided that we would hire a cook, because it would not cost very much money, and would save alot of time. Some of our group members met with the lady, and worked out that she would cook 3 1/2 meals (1/2 = evening tea) for all 14 students for the 4 weeks, for 100 $000 UGx. That equals to about $40 Canadian for the entire 4 weeks, which then works out to be $1.43/day! Apparently the students say that the amount we are paying her is very reasonable, but when I convert it back to Canadian dollars, it is absolutely insane how little they get paid! Not to mention that she needs to have our breakfast ready by 7:30 am, and we do not eat supper until 8 pm, so that means that she is working at least a 14 hour day, everyday, and only making just over $1/day. It really pulls at my heart strings, especially since I am 99% positive that she has a family that is waiting for her at home, and she is not home until at least 9 pm every night. Also, for the amount we are paying her, she makes some amazing food! It is honestly probably the best food we have had since arriving in Uganda, so I am very grateful for her! I think that Christy and I plan to show her some appreciation through a small gift at some point, because without her, we may have starved!
Today was an awesome day! We started off by getting ready in our lab coats and stethescopes and then we were off to rounds on the wards here in Rugazi. Christy and I were both a little bit apprehensive before going into the health centre, as neither of us has much clinical experience, especially when compared to the 4th year medical students that we are with. However, I felt the experience was super useful, and the other students were more than willing to explain everything and luckily translate for us, as most of the locals do not/prefer not to speak English. We found out that most of the patients admitted have malaria or pneumonia, and most are under the age of 10. One case that stood out for me today though was a 1 year old baby girl, who honestly looked as though she was 5 months old. She was suffering from severe malnutrition and pneumonia, and barely had the strength to even cry. It was heartwrenching. The worst part is that when we tried to counsel the mother on nutritional advice for her baby, she told us that because she comes from far away, she does not have a stove or any coals to warm up food or make a energy filled concoction because at the health centre here, they do not supply the families with anything to cook food on, and they also do not supply meals for the patients. Therefore, there was almost next to nothing the mother could do, and you could just see the helplessness in her face while explaining this to us. After hearing her concerns, we decided that we would help her out by letting her use our kitchen in order to make the "formula" for her baby. 15 minutes later, while doing rounds on another patient, we saw the mother walk in with the groceries, and was taken to our kitchen to begin making the food. It was amazing to see, and filled me with hope that even by making a small gesture like allowing someone to borrow your kitchen, you could make a huge difference! Another case that really stood out for me was a small boy who was brought in by his father to get an abcess incised and drained. The nurse performing the incision use a sterile scalpel, some cotton but no anesthetic whatsoever. After the incision and drainage was done, the nurse explained that because they had no sterile gauze or bandages, she would have to send him home without packing or covering the wound, so chances are it would become reinfected. That really put into perspective how little supplies these health centres have, as Rugazi is one of the better supplied health centres! After the clinical rounds, the medical students and Nicole, the vet med student, went to the Out Patient Department to help. OPD is like our walk-in clinics here, where they take your history, come up with a differential diagnosis and treatment plan, and decide whether to admit you to the health centre or not. It was here that I got to take my first real history, do a differential diagnosis, and treatment plan, along with one of the older medical students, as my knowledge in pharmacology up till this point is minimal! It was also very challenging because in Canada we do not learn very much about malaria and its complications, whereas here, malaria runs rampant and account for at least 60% of the patients seen in the clinic. However by the end of the day, I could pretty much distinguish who seemed to have symptoms of malaria, and what medications this would indicate to prescribe. As you can probably tell, I was pretty excited about the whole clinic experience today!
After lunch, we had someone take us on our "Transect Walk" of our village. This is basically just walking through the village and taking note of where everything is located in terms of resources and people. Once we began to walk, one of the first buildings we came across was a primary school. I can now say I kind of realize what its like to be a celebrity! As soon as we (white people) walked past the building, the children were immediately at the windows waving and yelling "Agandi Muzungo! Agandi!" which again means "Hello White!". Everywhere we went on our walk, the children would either wave and yell "Muzungo" or actually come right up to us, and start following us. They were all so adorable! It will be strange going home and not to be treated as a celebrity! HA! The scenery during our walk was absolutely stunning, and I will try to post some pictures in the next couple of days in order to try and give you guys some perspective. They have a couple of lakes called "Twin Lakes", and apparently the people say that they "swallow people up" therefore nobody swims or fishes the lake due to superstition. It is really a shame because they are beautiful lakes! After the walk I was exhausted because it honestly seemed like we were walking uphill both ways! I will definitely have thighs and calves of steel when I get home if we do those types of walks everyday! :)
Anyways, those were the events of the past couple of days!
I am going to head to bed and try to recover for tomorrow's long day!
Night Y'all! ;)