I took some pictures yesterday as we were mobilizing for our Village Health Team elections today. We have finally finished all of our sensitizations and the time has come for the community to elect leaders to serve on the VHT and carry on our work when we leave. UVP will continue to follow up and work with the VHT over the course of the next three years. As we moved through the village, I tried to take some pictures that captured the essence of Namungalwe rural. I’m here only for about another week so I’m working hard on remembering. I don’t want to forget what life is like here. As we talked with people, they were sad to hear we were leaving so soon, after only just starting to get to know us. I thought 2 months would be a long time to live and work in the community, but in fact, it was just enough to get situated and become known and trusted. Hopefully, the follow-up work done by the year-round UVP staff will be successful at continuing to train the VHT and work in the community to improve their health. There are an overwhelming number of problems and frustrations that will take time to resolve with sustainable solutions. Our work here was short and superficial, but a start. I’m excited to see if the villagers elected today will have the motivation and leadership to continue the work.
I’m torn as I think about leaving in just under 2 weeks. I’ve loved my time here and feel as though there is so much more that can be done in the community. Things take longer here…it’s just the way it is…and so it is hard to leave when things are just getting started. I know that there are staff here year round but they are spread pretty thin and it’s not the same as having someone living in the village working alongside the community, teaching and inspiring them to work towards a better quality of life. However, at the same time I’m looking forward to coming home, seeing my family and friends, taking a real shower, using a washing machine to clean the Ugandan dirt off my clothes, and finish my medical school applications. I have loved getting to know Mutesi and her family…a term used loosely here in Uganda as the household includes nieces and nephews, and grandchildren. I will miss them the most.