Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The part of the trip where I found myself in hospital...again

During yesterday's visit with Fr Gerard, the priest who helped Paul and Sue start Uganda Kids, we were treated to a feast of local cuisine: fish cakes, beef meet balls, chicken, beans, potato, rice, gee nut sauce and, in a feast for our taste buds, tomatoes mixed with onion. Shortly after lunch, we all ended up at the local hospital.

OK, I should clarify that poor sentence structure. We had lunch - then we went on an inspection of the local parish where Fr Gerard now serves. Part of that inspection eventually led us to a local health clinic/hospital, based on the church grounds. So let me say up front: there was nothing in the food that brought us to the doors of this valuable health facility.

What did bring us there was a desire to see, first-hand, the many different ways the Catholic Church is making a difference in the lives of the Ugandan people. This is stuff I have spent the past seven years highlighting and bringing to the attention of the people of Brisbane, Queensland and beyond and I never cease to marvel at how expansive this missionary work is. As I have asked myself many times (and also articulated in several appeal talks): "What would it look like for the people of (insert name of relevant country) if the Catholic Church wasn't present, with people giving of their time, energy, passion and faithfulness.

The 'hospital', such as it is, was more of a few buildings, in a u-shape, and a large verandah running along each wing. Patients, which included children and women (but, seemingly, no men) were either inside the spartan rooms, with doors left open, or laying outside on the grass or blankets. Medical assistance seemed mainly to be offered in the form of dispensing of tablets and antibiotics; a few people were feeding themselves from bowls of food, resting on the ground in front of them.

I hope my description is not seen as disparaging or alarming. I have been in many hospitals back home and they do not offer the same sense of community that this small facility, perched on a hill overloking the nearby village, seemed to offer. Besides, our time there was really not long enough to offer any more informed insights on what else could be done to improve services.

One of the challenges presented by a trip such as this is knowing what aspects of the world you can transform. There is a peace that comes from recognising that you cannot do everything, only some things, with much love. 

No comments:

Post a Comment