Today we headed to Kiyindi to spend the day in the Makonge Clinic. We met Joseph, who runs the clinic and Jennifer, who gave us our assignments for the morning and afternoon. It was clinic day and they were expecting a number of patients to come for HIV and malaria testing, for medication distribution, antenatal and post-partum check-ups, antiviral med distribution to newborns and family planning. There was also an office for counselling that Bernard was in charge of.
We split up into 4 teams of 2 and headed in different directions: laboratory, dispensary, midwifery and counselling. The place I wanted to go the least was counselling, but after the rest of the team picked their preferred places, Kurtis and I headed off to the counselling area.
Bernard quickly briefed us on what was going to happen and then the clients started to flow in one by one. Some were just being corrected on how they were taking their antivirals while others were there for the first time. It was totally not an issue that we could not understand the language – for the most part as Bernard was a master at what he did. Not only did he welcome each and every one of his clients at their given time, but he reassured them that coming was a very good decision, that whatever happened with the results today, he was there to journey with them. He asked them what they knew of HIV/AIDS and let them answer; just asking questions to prompt them along. He didn’t correct them at all until all the questions were answered, then he went back and filled in the missing information or corrected their wrong way of thinking. He was so patient and non-judgemental. It was really amazing to see and experience. There was one woman that we heard him say: Amazima – which means ‘the truth’ so we knew that she was not sharing all the necessary information.
One other client came in, he was a young man about 21 who was nervous, said that he didn’t understand Luganda, and so for him everything was in English – which was great for Kurtis and me. We felt that there was something that happened in this young man’s life as he was in for the fifth time in 12 months. We watched his body language and although Kurtis and I didn’t speak in the sessions we both felt that something had happened to send him in for yet another test. We were pleased to hear that this young man was negative! (A positive result for him!) We were relieved!
Trysta and Clary were in the midwifery area, Nicole and Gary were in the lab and Mike and Shirley were in dispensary. Everyone said they had a very positive experience and they learn a lot in their respective areas. We broke for lunch at 1-2, then realized after waiting for about 45 mins that there were no more clients for the afternoon so we proceeded home to the guest house.
Shirley and I headed back in to Lugazi to have our Ugandan dresses adjusted then returned again and then we played some games as a family team for the evening.
All in all it was a great day!
Wilma Vander Leek