Kitgum Town

Kitgum Town
Kitgum Town

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Reflections from Neil Shuker after a week in Kitgum

WOW! Exhausting, exhilarating and excellent are just a few words to describe my experience with the Bregma Medical Centre staff and Yotkom staff here in Kitgum. After flying into Pader courtesy of our MAF flight, Dr Vincent's brother Leo brought us across to the Italian Aid Agency AVSI accommodation where we have been for a week.  Our cook, Margaret, has kept us nourished for the activities and visits we have made during my week here. Andrew and I have visited many places and people that Andrew have been in our prayers since 2001 when Andrew first set out with a team from Gateway Baptist.

Highlights for me have included:
* encouraging staff and gaining commitment to have a morning devotional and prayer time before 9am and seeing some real prayer warriors (esp Ann and Peter) step up to lead in the 3 days since we started last Friday.
* enjoying the professional development for 30 outstanding Bregma and Yotkom staff over 5 days
   (including a team development day last Saturday at Bomah Hotel),
*riding a motor bike out to IGF and being escorted by young American Assistant Director Trent through their vocational training areas (business, welding, construction, tailoring, carpentry, mechanical), their P1-P7 school, their Community Church, their medical facilities and seeing many of the staff including CEO Jean-Paul who was Irene's right-hand man..
* catching up with some of the sponsored children, parents and staff inc Aaya Sarafin and son Joseph sponsored by Rowena and Richard and Peter and their families.
* visiting Pastor David Livingstone, hearing of his work in Okidi and his efforts raising the profile of Northern Ugandan issues globally and then touring his radio station Peace FM
* visiting ex-nun Tedi's impressive NUCBACD School and Care Centre for Disabled children,
* visiting the site and sharing in the dreams and visions of Construction Engineer Andrew M with his Early Childhood Centre on approx a half hectare
* visiting St Joseph's Hospital and being part of Palm Sunday celebrations at St Joseph and then at IGF Community Church
* investigating and understanding the impact of Nodding Syndrome and other neurological disorders on the physical, psychosocial and financial welfare of families in isolated communities outside Kitgum (courtesy of people like medical anthropologist Karin from Holland, David Livingstone and Tedi from NUCBACD)
* visiting Andrew's residential land and Yotkom's commercial sites for the future medical centre
* spending time reviewing broken jaws, broken arms, etc with Radiogapher Bosco,
* doing hospital rounds with Dr Andrew, Clinical Officer Peter and nurses Ann and Jackie
* looking at various stages and severity of malaria parasites through a microscope with Lab Technician Godfrey
* and, of course, travelling and having a Tusker (just one!) with my great friend Andrew

Andrew stays on for another week to bring together as many of the Yotkom plans as is possible while he is here. Hopefully, with your prayers, he can recover quickly from the stomach bug that has plagued him since last night.  One thing is very clear, so much more can be achieved in a short time when you are on the ground in Kitgum as there are so many competing demands on the lives of those who live and work here - and not just with Primary Health Care. Your prayers and support are most necessary to first prioritise the Primary Health Care needs, to pray for them, to be called to action and then to ameliorate the needs. 

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