The Sun is Particularly Harsh Today

Written by Christina Dawson '21

The sun is particularly harsh today. The intermittent gush of wind usually provides temporary relief despite the swell of red clay that stains my white coat, but today I feel it making a paste on the back of my neck. The day begins with our routine: waiting for Dr. Cathy to greet us as she promptly does every morning around 9. She is late today. I decide to make a quick dash for the restroom, and head towards the only clean one I know in the maternity ward.


Growing Into Comfort

Written by Katherine Callahan '21

This is the first week during which I have noticed a significant change in myself: I am comfortable. That is, during Monday morning rounds, I found myself as less of a bystander and more of an active participant. Over the past two weeks, I have become accustomed to the language, lab tests, patient population, and attending style so much so that I automatically begin to create a differential diagnosis and have an idea of where to start on physical exams. This is the first time I have found myself effectively doing this.

The Quandry of Relaying Experience

Written by Julia Shatten '18

It has been almost two and a half months since returning from Uganda. In the midst of interviews, I work on summing up my experience into a succinct and palatable interview answer: Yes, Uganda was life-changing. Yes, I will go back. It made me view inequity differently. It helped me understand the depth of ethical nuance, and that just because something is hard does not mean we should turn our backs on it. Yes, it was a good experience.

The Ghosts of Makerere Kikoni

Written by Stefan Wheat '18

Our first week in Uganda has been marked by innumerable small adjustments, from learning to be damp most of the time to forcing our guts to wait until 10:30 PM, when dinner is typically served, to eat. However, amidst this period of transition, one of the most endearing and consistent little departures from our lives in Vermont comes on our walks home from Mulago Hospital. Every day we walk home along the same path, identifying the route that would leave us least drenched in our own sweat, and every day we are be greeted by children in our neighborhood of Makerere Kikoni. They grab at us, hold our hands, or often give us  swift pokes to the buttocks before running off giggling. We always indulged the children, oblivious to the reason behind their fascination with our skin until one of our taxi drivers told us us that young children are enthralled by bazungos (foreigners) because they grow up on stories of ghost-white spirits lurking in the forests. As white foreigners, we are likely just novelties for most of these children  but for some we are their childhood stories come to life.

Insights into Empathy

Written by Nikolas Moring '20

I have always seen medicine as a unique way in which to interact with one’s community. Medicine is not only about the care of patients, but also the care of patient families, friends, and the community as a whole. Medicine is the ultimate calling for me in that it provides a means of immersing myself in lifelong learning that can be turned around and given back to the community. Perhaps selfishly, medicine also allows for a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment in my work. The sacrifice and selflessness, while daunting at times, harbors a particular allure as I learn to prioritize others before myself.

Remembering Naggalama

Written by Nikolas Moring '20

It’s been a few months since I returned from Naggalama. For better or for worse, I made the decision to leave early, and in doing so prioritized my health and well-being. It was not an easy choice. I spent many sleepless nights trying to figure out if I was about to squander away one of the best opportunities I’ve ever been given. It can be challenging to admit that you are not strong enough, not resilient enough, or just not cut out to complete the task set before you. That being said, I left a part of me with the people I met in Uganda, and a big chunk of that lives in St. Francis Hospital.

First Experience With Global Medicine

Written by Dr. Swati Patel, resident at the Connecticut Institute for Communities/Greater Danbury Internal Medicine Residency Program

I was interested in science and medicine at a young age. As I grew older, I realized how much I love interacting with people and building relationships. Medicine offered a career for both my talents and interests.  Although I had known about global health prior to college, it was during my undergraduate career that I first learned more about what it entailed. I was part of various school organizations, some of which would take students abroad and offer medical services, though I did not get the opportunity to participate in these  programs.

Happyness: Advocating for Women’s Health in Rural Uganda

Written by Anne Dougherty, MD, Assistant Professor at UVM Robert Larner, MD College of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, and founder and director of the UVM Global Women’s Health Education Program

Let me tell you a story about Happyness. Happyness is a young woman living in rural Nakaseke district about sixty miles outside Kampala, Uganda’s capital. She just had her second baby who was born premature, and will likely not survive to his fifth birthday.  This pregnancy was conceived eight months after her last delivery, though we know that rapid repeat pregnancy, those conceived less than twenty-four months following a delivery, have dire consequences for both mother and baby.

Patience, Creativity, and Perseverance

Written by Kathryn Grenoble '20

The six weeks I spent with physicians and clinical officers in Uganda were a lesson in the fundamentals of medicine. In Uganda, doctors do not enjoy the luxury of being able to order any lab test they may need. Imaging is often performed off-site and rarely returned with an interpretation. Medications are purchased only if the patient can afford them, and the two EKG machines I saw seen were donated by Danbury Hospital in Connecticut. Doctors in Uganda must be exceptional at history taking and physical exams.

A Beacon of Hope and Light

Written by Nikolas Moring '20

One week in Naggalama down. I can’t believe it. It seems like we just arrived here  yesterday. My first week in Uganda has been so different from what I had ever expected. I don’t even know where to begin. I spent countless nights trying to imagine what this experience was going to be, but knew from the beginning that was a fruitless exercise. Upon arriving, that was confirmed. It is simply so unique, and so different, that there was no way to even begin to project or predict what it would be like.