Today the culmination of planning and preparation comes to fruition as I eagarly await the arrival of Cathy and Gonsha, the two pharmacists from Uganda who will be training with me for the next 8 weeks. I can imagine what they must be feeling as they endure the last couple of hours of flight on their almost 24 hour trip here. Neither one of them has been to the States before the same way I had never been to Africa back in 2011 on my first trip. I was so excited to see, hear, taste, touch, and feel the life and get to know the people of a totally new world and culture to me. Yet, at the same time I was quite nervous- would I live up to their expectations, would my work be helpful and of adequate quality, would I be able to stay healthy and eat only safe well-cooked food, drink clean water, and avoid malaria, would I encounter language difficulties, would I get homesick, would my student have any problems adjusting….? Cathy and Gonsha’s worries may not be exactly the same as mine but I know they have some. I’m pretty sure, though, that their positive emotions are coming out on top right now. One big difference between my first trip to Uganda and theirs to America, is that I had never met my hosts before. Today, as Gonsha and Cathy arrive, we will be reuniting as friends. I have worked with Gonsha at Mulago Hospital to help train the Pharmacy Interns for a couple of years now and over the last year, I have spent a significant amount of time with Cathy, a faculty member at Makerere University, to develop and teach the Pharmaceutical Care Skills Lab course. So now, let me go greet my friends…stayed tuned over the next two months and follow along with me as you can experience the USA through the eyes and ears of two newcomers.
Now I’d like to introduce Catherine (Cathy) Namulindwa.
I strive to be a positive change-maker. I am passionate about changing the face of health care delivery in Uganda, especially through improving pharmaceutical care delivery. I have a leaning towards infectious disease pharmacy, as infectious diseases are Uganda’s greatest burden of disease. I am also passionate about empowering young adults in various spheres of life, in and outside the classroom. These two passions come well together in my job, teaching pharmacy students at Makerere University. Understanding the current limitations of both the curriculum and learning environment of her students, I labour to see that my students can translate classroom concepts beyond the abstract, into real life practice. Training at Wilkes will equip me to equip them better.
Outside work, I like to spend my time reading, doing some yoga, traveling and meeting new people, and singing in the church choir. My pass-time to do list includes acquiring a sewing machine and making my own clothes from lovely African prints, an interest carried over from my catwalk days.
I am so thankful that Dr Bohan and I crossed paths, and for this opportunity she and the Wilkes community have availed me to train at Wilkes. I am eager to improve my pharmaceutical care skills, I know it will make me a much better teacher, and a more well rounded health care provider. I am also looking forward to learning more about American culture from sources other than Hollywood, and making some new friends. I can’t wait!