Greetings! I have arrived back in Uganda safe and sound. My flight began at 11am on Friday, October 24 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania (that was 6pm Kampala time) and I reached Entebbe Airport, Uganda at 10:30pm on Saturday October 25 (3:30pm Pennsylvania time). It was a long journey but all went smoothly. I had a nice surprise on my first long flight from Detroit to Amsterdam when I was upgraded to a Business Class seat because a family wanted to sit together in an area that included my original seat. This was the first time I had ever been in a seat other than Economy or Coach and I have to say it was quite nice! You get to order from a choice of 4 different meals on the menu and immediately upon being seated, before the flight takes off, you are offered champagne or orange juice. The best part is that the seat lies all the way down and your feet can be put up so sleeping on the long 7.5 hour flight was easier. I have to say it was all a bit surreal, though. I kept thinking that this must be kind of what it was like to sail the Titanic- I was now on the upper decks being catered too while most of the people were crammed into the lower decks.
On Sunday I went to church with my housemate, Monty, and his wife who was visiting from North Carolina. The wife, Lydia, of Monty’s boss, the Dean of the School of Biomedical Engineering, picked us up and we accompanied her to All Saints Cathedral, which was part of the Church of Uganda. The service was great! Once again, the church was packed full and other members were seated in tents outside. This is so different from most of the churches in American where many of the pews go empty on Sunday mornings. The service was full of lively music, singing, and dancing. The preacher was a guest- the retired Arch Bishop of the Church of Uganda. He spoke English but felt more comfortable speaking through an interpreter in his native Luganda. The two of them, the Arch Bishop, and his interpreter, were quite entertaining to watch, along with providing a good message- we are given new life in Christ so go out and live it! The interpreter didn’t only translate the words into English but also mimicked the gestures and wild enthusiasm of the Arch Bishop as if he was giving the sermon himself. I found out later that the interpreter, whom I think was a priest himself, was always with the Arch Bishop which explains why the two worked so well in tandem. After the service we all went to a nice and relaxing lunch together at a local coffee restaurant called Javas. The food and coffee was delicious.
Back at Edgehouse, the name of the visiting scholar house where I stay on campus, I greeted the staff and talked for awhile. It was so nice to be back among friends and receive such a warm welcome. I basically took the day slowly and enjoyed time with Monty and his wife, Kate, then unpacked and then got a good night’s sleep on Sunday. It seems that I have been able to pretty much avoid jet lag this time and on Monday morning I was ready to go to teach classes. Could the seat in Business Class have made the difference???? 🙂
On Monday morning and throughout the day I was greeted with enthusiasm by the students and faculty as I taught 6 hours of class- the Pharmaceutical Care Skills Lab. What a wonderful feeling to be among people who are so glad to see you! As usual, though, I have jumped right back into my important work here and already have a to-do list a mile long. I am really thankful, though, for this dedicated time I have in Uganda to completely focus on the work of helping to advance pharmacy practice here so that patient health outcomes can be improved. When back in the States, this project is always on my mind, but I can accomplish so much more when I’m here because I can immediately bounce ideas off of the people I’m working with and try them out.
Today, Tuesday, I’m off to Mulago National Referral Hospital to work with the pharmacy students in the experiential setting as they practice their new skills while taking care of real patients.