Friday, June 10th: Today we drove to the most remote and undeveloped clinic we have seen in Uganda. It is called Kanyashogye, located in a very mountainous region within a town called Mpungu. I didn’t think it was possible for the roads to get any worse, but I was once again proven wrong! However, the spectacular mountain and valley views afforded by this drive made every bump and compressed vertebrae worth it.
Driving off the “main road” and down the side road to the clinic, we passed an elementary school. I have never seen so many children running and screaming in excitement. As our van drove by, they were all waving and cheering. I guess this is what it feels like to be a rock star. (click here to see Uganda kids running at school)
As we drove down this road we contemplated what would happen if the ominous sky decided to open up. The roads were very steep and rutted, indicating areas of washout from previous rain storms.
This clinic has no power! The grid does not yet exist in this region, and they have not been outfitted with a generator or any solar power. The signal was very weak and for some reason our signal booster is not functioning correctly. At one point, the locals told us that the strongest cell signals would be obtained by standing near a very large tree. They were, not surprisingly, correct.
While we were there, a large group of men (a few of whom are in the picture) came running down the hill carrying a man on a litter. In the absence of vehicles to transport too ill patients, these villagers volunteer to carry patients up and down the mountain roads. In this case, they had run about 4 miles carrying this man. Just as they arrived, it began to rain. Immediately, our thoughts went to moving the vehicles as a good solid rain would potentially mean being stranded with no ability to move the vans for days. We moved them to the top of the hill before the roads became impassable quagmires..
At the conclusion of our testing, we walked up the hill back to the vans. It was raining quite hard and we didn’t have any rain gear (needless to say we got drenched). We were carrying a fair amount of equipment that we tried to keep dry. By the time we reached the vans, I truly appreciated the feat of the village men, running with a loaded litter. IMPRESSIVE!