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Sep 02

Medical Mission 2010 Born on a Banana Leaf.......and other stories from the road

Posted by: webmaster

Dr. Charles Kaluba is our Clinical Officer for our trip. He is Ugandan and a delight to work with. He grew up during the reign of Idi Amin and has some very interesting stories. His birth on a banana leaf while his mother held the the trunk of the tree rivals my mother's tale of me being born under a cabbage leaf. It seems that the banana is so important to Ugandans that it is revered as much as the former kings. When an expectant mother goes in to labor she goes in to the banana grove alone. She holds on to the banana tree trunk and squats over a fresh banana leaf on which the child is born. The placenta is then buried at the base of the tree. When the newborns cry is heard a female relative rushes out with cooked banana paste to place on the babies lips.

In Otatai village we set up the clinic in the open. The doctors were in a communal house with a concrete floor, tables and chairs but the rest of the team, intake and pharmacy were strategically located under the shade of nearby trees. We went to the wrong location and while the support vehicles traveled around a ridge the medical team took a short walk down the hill and in to the village. We treated over 190 people despite the late start. The rains started in the late afternoon and pulling meds while the patient forms were rained on was a bit difficult but other than that it was a great day.

We have been renting a matatu for transportation. It is the main mode of transportation for most Kenyans. Essentially it is an 8 passenger Nissan van that legally carries 14 people plus the driver. They are usually battered and welded together to the point were there is more weld than original metal. Ours is better than most and Joshua, our driver, is a joy. With boxes of s


upplies piled all around him and hidden from our view he will sing to himself. He willingly loads and unloads and even helped in intake the other day helping to measure and weigh people. One day I will write a book on matatus, the stories are unbelieveable, sad, and hilarious.




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