Planning for my first lessons…

Peru Placement 2014

On Saturday morning we went to the SKIP centre to the monthly meeting with the mothers. We introduced ourselves in Spanish (our name, how long we are staying and what we would be doing). I was glad to have this opportunity and the mothers seemed pleased to meet us. This only took about 40 minutes and some of us were glad to get home for a nap as we went out on Friday! We went to some nice bars with some of the other volunteers and it was nice to socialise with them outside of the house. The bars are really quirky and like little houses. So Saturday was very relaxed which gave me the opportunity to do some sunbathing on the roof :) and we went for a lovely meal in town with two new volunteers from Australia. It was nice to tuck in to spag bol rather than…

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Arriving in Peru :)

Lauren is one of our BA Social Work students undertaking a placement with SKIP Peru… her blog is online (features lots of photos) and we’ll repost it here.

Peru Placement 2014

So we have been in Peru for almost a week now. We arrived on Thursday night, after 14 hours of flying, tired and sweaty, but still full of anticipation. When we arrived at the hostel we were so glad to get a cold shower! Then we ventured out to get some late night grub. Because we were together we felt safe but everyone was staring because there were no other white people and the men kept saying ‘sita’ which means ‘yummy’ or ‘gorgeous’ and I found this slightly intimidating but we have got used to that now. We spent Friday and Saturday looking round lima. Central Lima is beautiful and has some nice bars and restaurants and some great shops. Make sure you barta to get a good price and if you walk away they will usually bring the price down. This is the same with taxis. If they see…

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Our journey & our first week at Hospice Africa

We all arrived on saturday after a good but pretty long flight. We spent the first day chilling out at the hostel and getting used to the environment. Tya tried a chapatti for the first time.We  also took our first trip on a matatu into the local town, it’s a little mini bus which seems to cram as many people in as possible, but it was pretty fun :) The traffic is also pretty crazy, there is no order at all, people are just free to drive wherever and however they like.

Me and Tya then arrived at the hospice on Sunday afternoon where we was greeted by Stephen. Stephen runs the guest house and is a lovely gent, he’s really taken care of us. We spent our first night having a wander around the hospice. Our guest house is really nice and clean, there is also another social work student from the USA staying here, she’s given us lots of information about the hospice.  We then went out for our first meal without the other guys to a local restaurant, we had our first power cut here, it was pretty amusing. On our first day at the hospice the staff were unbelievably welcoming, we had a tour around the full complex and we must have met about 40 members of staff. We also had our first Ugandan meal for lunch which consisted of Mataki (green cooked banana) rice, eggplant and beef), I’ll upload some pictures today.

Today Marilyn arrived so we had a morning meeting about our placement agreement and a general chat about Uganda, it was lovely to see another familiar face. We then spent the rest of our day at both the adults and childrens day care centre, this gives those patients who are suffering with cancer or HIV the opportunity to relax, play games and socialise with other patients whilst also receiving medical services. We met some really inspirational children and really enjoyed their company. They were making doughnuts and cooking them in a frying pan over a coal fire, they looked yummy.

Tonight we are going out for tea with Marilyn to meet her friend so that should be good fun. We are having an amazing experience and we will update you again soon :)

Ohh and how did I forget… the weather is pretty hot and the mango’s are amazing!

Goodbye Hospice Africa Uganda!

So we’re moving towards the end.  Last weekend we went to Jinja – the source of The Nile!!  It was a really peaceful place with some really pleasant architecture (so made a nice change from Kampala!).  Lots of westerners visit Jinja to go white water rafting on the Nile.  We were looking for something a bit more relaxing so had a scenic boat ride around the source.  

Today was mine and Rosie’s last day at Hospice Africa Uganda.  This morning we went to our last 8 a.m. morning meeting (which was sad – I’ll really miss starting my day with a hymn featuring African Drum accompaniment!) before giving a presentation in the Hospice Journal Club.  The presentation was on Task Centred Approaches in social work.  During our time at the hospice, so many of the patients we have visited have been experiencing multiple social issues.   We thought that all the clinical staff might benefit from thinking about how they might be able to approach social issues in a more systematic way.  Hence we thought Task Centred Approaches might be of interest.  The presentation seemed to be a success and the staff had some really interesting ideas about how Task Centred Approaches might be applicable to an African setting. 

After the presentation we had a group photo and spent the rest of the day saying our goodbyes to the hospice.  I know both me and Rosie would like to say thank you to everyone at the hospice for making our stay so enjoyable.  Also a special thank you to Nenet for ensuring we were always looked after.

Me and Rosie spent the rest of our week finishing off work and visiting patients in their own home.  Yesterday it was really nice to see a patient who I’d had the opportunity to visit on 3 occasions.  When we first visited the patient the household was in extremely challenging conditions.   Part of my work at the hospice was to arrange a family meeting so these issues could be discussed.  This meeting took place, and the family made arrangements for how to support this household better.  It was so nice to visit yesterday.  The conditions had improved dramatically.       

At the moment all 5 of us are at Red Chilli’s Hideaway in Kampala.  All our placements are now over so the rest of the time in Uganda will be spent relaxing and sightseeing.  Tomorrow there will be a trip to Entebbe’s Botanical Gardens and on Sunday morning we’re all off to Murchison Falls and a 3 day safari.  Then we’ll be returning to the UK and the end of our Ugandan bubble.

Up and down the hill

Hello everybody!

Thought I would give you a quick update on what we have been up to recently. Hope you are all enjoying the snow. You will be pleased to know it is raining here today!

Friday was International Women’s Day, a national holiday in Uganda! Ryan and Katie were spending the weekend working in the Rakai district and so Rosie, Colin and I were left to fend for ourselves and make a plan for our day off and the weekend ahead.

We had good intentions for International Women’s Day. We planned to find the national theatre, join in the celebrations and visit the craft market to pick up some gifts for family and friends. Thinking this would be an easy and relaxing plan, we head out with a little map a colleague had drawn and entered Kampala with a sense of purpose. We then spent the next four hours walking up a never ending hill, and whenever we thought we were at the top we would find out this was not the case. When we finally reached the top of the hill we the discovered map was wrong, or possibly our understanding of it, and so we walked back down the hill. We never found the national theatre and were very tired by the end of the day. We did, however, go for a nice meal out in the evening, determined to make the day a good one, and Rosie and I were given some complementary chocolates for being women on Women’s day!

In terms of work, Colin and I have been doing different things over the past few days. Last Monday I went out with a social worker on the Give a Chance project, set up by a donor who sponsors 16 children of former patients through school.. The aim was to visit the children in school to check on their progress and speak to their teachers. It was a very interesting experience seeing what school is like in Uganda and it was lovely to see the children doing well, despite their difficult circumstances. Education is very important to the people of Uganda, and it can be used as a route out of difficult home situations. It was also very strange being the celebrity of the day, with most school children very excited at the presence of a muzungu (me), and surrounding me with big excited grins!

On tuesday I ran a session during day care working with the teenagers who attend every week. We discussed many issues relating to managing their illnesses and explored ideas for creating new and fun activities for them to participate in. We decided that Drama would be a fun way to explore their feelings and so I am in the process of writing a report for the clinical manager to try and make this happen.

On wednesday I spent the day in Mukono with the outreach team, where the hospice provides a day clinic for people in the district and also does home visits. I went out with the home visit team and it was a very long day. I did, however enjoy seeing another part of Uganda, as well as having lunch with the team and a lot of Ugandan tea! It was also humbling to see how well the team work to provide pain relief for patients suffering in sometimes difficult living environments, and the care and compassion with which the team go about their work..they work long hours to ensure patients receive the best care possible, on all the home visits they do.

This week, I visited the Children’s Cancer Unit at Mulago hospital, an emotionally challenging visit for me but no where near as difficult for the children and family members who have to stay there. It was difficult to see how many families cannot afford drugs for their children and have to travel long distances to stay with their children, often sleeping on the floor or outside under the verandah.

This Friday we will all be coming together to run a day session at TASO , an aids support organisation, where we will be working with young people to support them through counselling sessions and see how they are doing with their creative arts projects.

After this, we are all looking forward to spending a weekend in Jinja, the home of the source of the Nile- Lake Victoria! Hopefully we can have a nice relaxing weekend and eat some nice food that isn’t matoke,rice and beans which, although lovely, it will be nice to have something different!

Much love from Uganda, Rosie.