Jessie Paltell, RN, Becca Burnett, BSN, RN, and Steve Roy, patient care technician, recently returned from Uganda, where they volunteered their time as medical professionals with a church group.
The village where we pitched our tents for the work week was in the Kole District of Northern Uganda. During our time there, we provided medical services and distributed eye glasses, mosquito nets, soccer balls, and other necessities such as Bibles, clothing, hand-knitted hats, sunglasses, toothbrushes, tennis shoes, bicycles and a huge water filtration system to be used by the families in the surrounding villages.
Our medical clinic was nothing fancy—far from any medical facilities or clinics we have around here. We used two rooms in the old school building to set up our triage, clinic, and pharmacy areas. Our triage and clinic “stations” were school desks positioned throughout the rooms. Our pharmacy was set up out of cardboard boxes and plastic trunks, with plastic bags for distribution of medications. Every day, families lined up, hundreds at a time, to wait in line to be seen. By some miracle, we were able to treat 3,039 people over four days. We were able to bandage wounds, drain infected cysts, diagnose skin rashes, provide medications for malaria, worms, pain, viruses, and STDs, treat burn victims, and so much more.
Every night we played soccer with the kids in the surrounding villages using soccer balls we brought with us to hand out to them. The toys they were accustomed to included empty water bottles for sword fighting and rocks for soccer and kickball-type games. Seeing their faces light up when we handed them soccer balls was a once-in-a-lifetime experience – that was true joy!
We were able to make a difference while we were in Uganda. We healed those who were sick, bandaged wounds, provided necessary medications. But furthermore, we were able to experience the amazing places and build relationships with the beautiful people of Uganda, Africa.