Our group of four nursing students and three social worker students arrived in Entebbe airport in 20.9.2018 late evening. First impression after all the customs and immigration checkups was two security guards with assault rifles standing outside the main doors of the airport. At least I hope they were security guards. Soon after that our driver picked us up and we drove one-hour drive to capital of Uganda, Kampala where our accommodation and training places were located. Our first week was an orientation week where we learned about local culture, got introduced to our host university which is Clarkes International University, went to a city tour with our local guides, visited our training placements and had a dinner at our host teachers house.
Traffic in Uganda is like from another planet compared to Finland. It seems like there is no rules in traffic at all. Cars are doing extremely dangerous passes and Boda-bodas (motorcycle taxis) are speeding between lanes, if the road even has lanes and sometimes they drive on the sidewalk, so you must be alerted every time you are in traffic. It is not a surprise that traffic accidents are common, and a ten-kilometer drive can take two hours because of traffic jams.
We started our working days at eight in the morning, but usually local nurses came half past eight or nine o’clock. Concept of time is little bit more flexible here than in western countries. First thing to do in the morning was to read report books from last evening and night. At the ward family members took care of everything else than medical treatment. It seemed like someone was always sitting on a chair next to their sick relative.
Usually we spent our spare time exploring the city, training at the gym or sitting in a nice local restaurant. We also went for a safari and did some other activities like ziplining and boat cruises at Victoria lake.
Hygiene and aseptics were well known in theoretical level, but sometimes it looked like local nurses didn’t really care about it. For example, they used same cannula multiple times if they couldn’t get it into a vein at first times and gloves were used only for own protection. Of course, lack of equipment is a big problem here, so everything can’t be done as well and safe compared to Finland.
After all Uganda is one of the best places I have ever been. Things are so different here and everyday you see something new or exciting. It’s funny how even poor people here seems to be a lot happier than most of us in Finland. In my opinion we have a lot to learn from an African way of living.