Today (3/20) and yesterday (3/19) I spent most of the day at the Birth House. It has been very slow and there have not been any women laboring or birthing. I have spent my time typing information into the computer, organizing materials, reading reports and getting to know the women and men at Shanti Uganda. I had the opportunity to take some photos of the facility to share:
I really enjoy spending time at the Birth House because there is such a wonderful breeze there. The house we live in is inside of a compound and the tall stone walls keep the heat in and the breeze out. At the Birth House you can sit just about anywhere inside or outside and catch the breeze. Today I sat under a tall shade tree on a yoga mat on top of a thatched mat and read through some information on Midwifery in Uganda. It was quite pleasant. The heat is really bad here, especially at night when you get into bed and pull the mosquito net down around your bed.
Central Room of Main Building (Top 3 photos)
Antepartum Room (Main Building)
One of many inlaid floor designs
Water source for Shanti Uganda – collects rain water and is filtrated for use
Mural Artwork done by a volunteer
Cato, gardener and all around “handy man”
I brought several small tubes of Moravian Cookies with me to Uganda (thanks to Susan Doran) and have been passing them out. I gave some to Ben, the driver for Shanti Uganda and Medina, the woman who has helped me so much with my phone purchase (bless her heart I have been a “stupid American” when it comes to purchasing, using, and understanding cell phones here). I brought a tin to the Birth House today to share. Everyone loved them and talked about how good they were. When I give them to someone, I always give a brief history of the Moravians and then talk about other items that they are known for and how the items are made in North Carolina. Florence, one of the birth attendants at the Birth House, asked if she could keep the empty tube today and was so excited when I gave it to her. I had gone to her home yesterday and she shared some sweet bananas so we are becoming good friends.
Florence (in pink) and Family in front of her home, see the sweet bananas to the left, yum, yum!
A baby asleep on the front porch, still not sure who she belonged to.
Florence’s two boys (right) and a friend (left)
A well-loved, but very tired momma.
Overall, my experience has been great thus far. Everyone is very friendly and helpful. I am trying to learn some Lugandan words, but I find them very difficult to learn. I have resorted to having David (the manager of the Internet Café) speak various simple words into the digital microphone that I brought with me, then as I walk the 34 – 40 minutes to the Birth House I listen and practice and then I do the same on the return trip. It seems to be helping, but each morning I feel as though I am back where I was the day before trying to imprint the words into my long term memory.
Before I end, I wanted to share another “Mzungu” story with you. This morning as I was walking back from the Internet Café (I had left the house while the electricity was still on in hopes of posting my blog, however it was off by the time I finished the 10 minute walk to the Internet Café and still remains off 9 hours later) I came across a couple and their young daughter, maybe 2 years old. The daughter sat on the ground crying, refusing to take another step. Her parents stood 20 feet a head of her trying to entice her with a coin. As soon as the mother saw me coming toward them she said something to the little girl in Lugandan that contained the word “Mzungu”. The little girls jumped up off the ground, began to run toward her parents, and ran a large U to get past me, obviously scared of me. I am guessing her mother told her something like, “The mean white lady is going to steal you if you don’t get up and come here.” I had to smile as I am sure that little girl’s thoughts about me were similar to the same thoughts my grandmother and her friends had about gypsy’s when they were growing up and it was rumored that they would steal young children.
March 21, 2012
Last night some friends of Sadie’s and Margot’s came over for dinner and to celebrate Sara’s (woman who is for CO and works for the Peace Corps teaching English to Ugandan teachers) 31st birthday. Sara is the oldest of the group so that tells you about the gap in age between me and “them”. There was a couple from Ireland that work in the northern part of Uganda and help to install irrigation systems and a young woman from Japan who works here in Luwero as a teacher at the special needs school. They were a lively bunch and I enjoyed playing BINGO with them and felt all around welcomed. We even had two birthday cakes that had been cooked in Dutch ovens, a type of a lemon pound cake the other was similar to a chocolate pound cake. Cooking in a Dutch oven sounds difficult to me, but these women evidently are very adept at such type of baking.
I got up early this morning to post to my blog and had planned to attach the above blog to it, but it took forever to upload the photos and then I hit the wrong button and forgot to save my work, so today’s blog is combined with the 2nd part of yesterday’s, making for a long read I do realize.
There was a baby girl born this morning at Shanti Uganda, but I was not there. I did however get to meet the mother and baby. I am hopeful that I will be present for a birth or two, but it has been rather slow and is common women tend to go into labor during the night time hours.
Mother and baby girl!
I thought it would be fun to take a few pictures on my walk from here at the volunteer house to the birth house so I did that this morning on the walk in and here they are:
A couple owns the volunteer house and they live in the front of the house. The volunteer section is in the back and is reached by the sidewalk to the left.
As I walk out of the gate to the house and turn right headed toward the Shanti Uganda Birth House.
Some children I met along the way today. I took their picture and then showed it to them on the camera and they all giggled in delight.
This is the long and hilly, never ending road that I spend the most time on during my walk to the Birth House. Did I mention how hot the walk is? It is HOT!
Handmade bricks sitting out to dry. Most bricks are mud red, but these were a wonderful tan color.
Shanti Uganda! The main building connected by breezeway to the Birth House.
In gratitude and appreciation from Uganda!