It has now been over a week since we left Kasambiika 1. Most of us have already reverted back to our home environments, but we all still hold warm memories of the village. We left with heavy hearts and full stomachs. After hosting a dinner for the whole community, our VHTs threw us a surprise party, which happened to coincide with the request of another villager who wanted us to attend his house for a dinner party. The Kasaambiika 1 intern team was not afraid of challenges, especially challenges involving food—it's true, one time Raphael ate 5 bowls of porridge then ate a whole egg in one bite! Just kidding that was me—and we ate at all of them.
Before we get into the lessons and our closing thoughts, we need to make a quick shout out to Mama, the woman who cooked and housed us. Miss ya mama!
All of us learned a lot about working with different personalities, both within the group and our village stakeholders. We all put aside differences to work together towards our common goal: improving the health of Kasambiika 1 and empowering its residents to make healthy decisions.
One thing we all had to work together on was leaving Kasambiika Primary School with a new paint job. Most of us had left the village by the time this got finished, but Tina was still around and got this picture.
In Lusoga this says wash your hands every day. Before you eat, after you use the latrine, after you play.
Sometimes there are problems that you have to leave behind. Throughout our entire internship we could tell that there were underlying tensions between the health center and the village population. We could not do anything to fix these problems while we were in the village. We did not want to cause more harm than good, and we did not have the permanent presence to make sure everything was resolved. We hope that the UVP staff is better able to mediate between the two parties and work towards a more harmonious health system in K1.
Closing thoughts for the summer
This was our final project for the UVP staff. For everyone outside of UVP and Uganda village life, annotations follow.
0:00-0:59 to the song “Pretty Boy Swag” by Soulja Boi. This song is about our head VHT, Swaga. Swaga made a huge difference in our outreaches for the village. He was instrumental in mobilizing, planning, presenting, and pretty much everything else we did in the village. This is our tribute to him and the other VHTs.
1:00-1:45 to the song “Ignition (remix)” by R Kelly. This song is about promoting birth control in the village. A laysoo is the traditional Busoga waist covering worn by Josie in our video. Pills, depo, and IUDs are all birth control devices that we promote in our UVP work. We only provided the Depo shot once during the internship (Maureen brought it, as the song suggests), but more options are available at the health center. Also, other NGOs like Marie Stopes work to promote birth control in the villages.
2:00-2:39 to the song “Hot n Cold” by Katy Perry. This song (sung by my sister, thanks Naomi!) is a story of a child getting malaria. A baby child was the subject because children under five (and pregnant women) are more prone to getting malaria. Small children's immune systems are not developed, and for pregnant women's immune systems are weakened by the strain of pregnancy. Towards the end of the song we emphasize the importance of prevention and recommend two methods: sleeping under bed nets and clearing stagnant water. We mention misdiagnosis in the song. During baseline surveys we asked what the symptoms of malaria were and we often got answers that corresponded more with a common cold or virus than malaria. While you can still get these symptoms if you have malaria, sometimes when a child or adult is sick in the village it is just a bacterial or viral infection instead. People, especially children, should not take anti-malarials for illnesses that are not malaria.
2:40-3:25 to the song “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen. This song is about our shallow well request forms. Kasambiika had two boreholes and one shallow well. Water access was a problem in our village, as in many of the other launch villages. We hope that if adequate shallow well sites are found that UVP can start digging soon.
3:25-6:18 to the song “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore. This song covers the lighter side of village life. The first verse is about getting vaccines to go to Uganda, and complaining about having to take Doxycycline as an anti-malarial every day. We were lucky to have prophylaxis, as the people in our village do not have access to the kind of malarial prevention that we could afford. There are a number of other jokes in this song, so comment on this post or send us a question if you want anything else explained.
Miss you Kasambiika! Warm regards from Kampala and America.
The K1 team