We are back home. It’s easy to get used to electricity 24-7, to a warm shower, to being able to drink water straight from the tap. To supermarkets that sell all the things we missed.
We are back at work. It’s still looks unreal to us that over 10 doctors are working in one single department, with only 40 patients. That one patient is examined by a number of doctors, experts and consultants. That a patient that is in need of a test or an operation – gets them. That nurses come to work and even give the patients all their medications. That no one around us (as far as we know) is not taking money under the table. That people (both patients and doctors) complain and declare that we are ‘a third world county’.
We are lucky. We were born into a life of abundance. We never want for food; we live a comfortable life and receive advanced medicine, with access to almost anything the most current research has to offer. We are moving ahead at the speed of light. Uganda seems now like a faraway planet. It’s almost unbelievable we were really there once. We are back home, but millions of people are still leaving in the same conditions. Their world lingers behind, moving at its own pace, and the vast gap between us and them continues to grow.
It’s hard to explain what this past year has been for us. We were lucky to find a place where resources are poor and the need is great, where we felt we are truly needed. But all the same, we also experienced great moments of frustration and helplessness. When medications were missing, when the local staff was lazy and indifferent, when patients ran away due to lack of money for food, and corruption and bribery were revealed in every corner. We learned to fight, and with time we also learned when to let go.
On the other hand, we met extraordinary people. Those that despite a salary that barely allows them to support themselves, and despite knowing they will not receive any reward or recognition for their devotion – give all their heart and soul to their patients. Those who will never take a dime to their pocket, and will even give their last dimes to a hungry patient. Where corruption and indifference are the norm, these people cannot be appreciated enough. We hope we managed to show them how much we appreciate them dearly.
We lost many patients, most young adults or children, who died under our care. Some we didn’t know how to help, others we couldn’t help despite knowing how. Despite our basic knowledge and lack of experience we feel we managed to help many others. When the alternative is no treatment at all, it turns out you can make a big difference even with the scarce resources we had. We hope we also managed to teach and influence the hospitals staff and improve the care they give.
In-between al the work we also managed to collect other experiences, of wonderful trips, jungles, lakes, elephants and lions, good and dear friends and one little happy boy who earned friends and experiences, and spend almost half his life chasing ducks, chickens and goats. The same boy who discovered with great wonder upon our return, that in Israel elephants don’t roam the streets, and cows for some reason live in a cowshed.
We are happy the project continues. It’s easier to continue our lives when we know someone is still there, taking care of our patients, and the patients to come. We thank from the bottom of our heart all those who helped this project to come true and everyone who escorted us in this journey.