Friday, April 17, 2015
Today we took a long drive up to Gulu, which is north of Masindi. We had been asked to come up to give a presentation to the healthcare providers at Gulu Regional Hospital by a Pharmacy Intern, Michael, who had been a student at Makerere University during one of my prior trips to Uganda.
I had never been to Gulu and thought this would be a good chance to check it out and it would be a good experience for the students and me to share our knowledge and skills. When I asked Michael about how long we should prepare to speak for, he said “3-4 hours and as long as possible.” This made me smile because it just shows how eager these young professionals are to gain more abilities. He mentioned the audience would be multidisciplinary including doctors, clinical officers (like physician assistants), nurses, pharmacists, and the trainees of all these professions. We ended up speaking to about 40-50 enthusiastic people, of which most were first year pharmacy students. All in all it seemed to go well. We didn’t end up getting to finish our whole talk because it took us longer than expected to get there.
We knew it would take 2.5-3 hr and so we planned to leave Masindi at 6am. We were all waiting for Sam, our driver, at 5:45am but he uncharacteristically didn’t show up on time. I gave him until 6:10 and then called. It turns out the car had a flat tire and he was in the middle of changing it. Sam always keeps really good care of his car, but because it is small and the drive was long, he rented a larger vehicle. Although, with the bumpy, rutty, pothole-filled red dirt roads around here, it’s a wonder cars aren’t getting flat tires all of the time. We finally got on the road a little after 6:30am and reached Gulu at about 10:10am. The trip was especially long because there are road crews working on road repair and laying new paved roads all the way to Gulu. It was kind of an exciting trip at times, though, because we passed a bunch of baboons and monkeys along the way. Also, we drove right by Karuma Falls, a beautiful sight that will be extinct within the next couple of years. The government is building a dam there to provide much needed electricity to the north and western part of Uganda but the casualty of this project will be the lovely falls. I’m glad I got to see them now. Enjoy the pictures of our trip and experience as they can tell the story better than I can with words.