Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Uganda Wishes - What They Do

Internet has been sketchy again. I’m heading to Bwera tomorrow to help out with Partnership For Opportunity Development Association and return Dec. 8th so posts may be a little delayed.

Making do. If you don’t know it exists then you don’t need to manifest that you need it. Suppose that’s true.
I’m counting pills in fives. First thirty, then 60. Then 120. Using a tongue depressor. I am thinking there must be a better way.
Everyday at the AIDS Clinic at Mengo Hospital between 100 and 175 patients are seen. Most HIV positive. Most requiring medication. These women that work in the pharmacy have to do this every single day. I’m exhausted after two hours. There must be some modern pill counter I mull over in my head. Like how the banks count money?
But I’m in the groove. I’ve got the fives down. With only some spillage – on the floor.
Kelly adds laughter during pill counting at the pharmacy!
Kelly, who left Mengo yesterday to return home to Victoria jokes with the women in there when I’m there. She manages to talk one of them into playing some music. No CD player. It’s her phone. We get the Ugandan rap and reggae till the battery runs out. Then there’s a scramble for a charger. Oops. No power. We settle for chatter.
I finish up and head down to IT. Data entry.
Esther is a beautiful vibrant young woman. I’d say in her 20’s But when I ask her she won’t admit it. Henry who sits opposite her says African women if they’re over twenty reveal their age less two years. If it’s over 30 it’s five. I give a smirk.
She starts drilling me on Canada. How much does a house cost? What is an average salary?
Esther concludes that if there’s an average salary of say $54,000 (Canadian) and a house is over $500,000 then no problem it wouldn’t take long to save to own one. I laugh. Not a chance.
I start rattling off the costs for medical insurance, phones, taxes, insurance, driving a car, food (way more expensive then here in Uganda), clothing, cable, etc.
Then I sit back. She tells me the average income for a Uganda is not even a third of ours.
No point in voicing my opinion. There’s not much that can be done. It’s what is. We do have so much. Can we live without it?
I tell her she speaks very good English. She tells me she’s trained in Tourism. No jobs though. Took some computer courses. Now she inputs data for the TB patients at the AIDS Clinic. She works from 8 am till 7:30 p.m. five days a week.
I ask her if she could wish anything for Uganda today, what would it be?
“To put education for free. For young children especially. In better schools,” she explains.
Then I ask her about the world. What her wish would be for the world.
“We live in a different pace. They are much better off then us. I wish for them to have Christ. Unity. No racism. To see Africa,” she concludes.

Today I’m walking along the street. Ahead of me are two women carrying some kind of wood. On their heads.
They are in sandals. Heading up a long hill. No wheelbarrow. No bike to put it all on. Only their heads.
They make do with what they have. It’s what they do.
Do we?

1 comment:

Amy said...

Interesting! I'm thinking if they could get their hands on one really accurate scale, then would it be possible to weigh out exactly the right number of pills? Throw them on there and add or subtract to get the correct weight for 100 or whatever.
And yes the majority of us in the US have WAY too much crap, could live with MUCH less. :-)