Sunday, 16 August 2009

Despatches from Kampala

Well, I've arrived safely with all of my luggage. Getting through the airport was easy enough, but my visa doesn't seem to have an expiry date, which means that at some point in the next week I'll be spending a bit of time at the high commission and the immigration office!

The journey through Entebbe to Kampala in a taxi was just like I expected it to be. Red soil and dust, fruit and vegetable vendors, advertising billboards promoting HIV testing and treatment, drum shops, massive marabou storks everywhere, boda-boda drivers swerving all over the place. Magic.

I arrived at Mulago guesthouse which is directly over the road from the hospital, and it appears that I have the whole place to myself, although there are three people staying in the adjacent house, Anna, and Italian doctor, aspiring to be an obstetrician and working in the department for 6 weeks, Songi who is a German social anthropologist and Assaye who is a paediatrician working on an Africa wide guideline for UNICEF. The guesthouse is basic but clean. I have discovered where the supermarket ism which is just as well as I have left my toothpaste behind. Couldn't find the Marmite though, so I'll have to go on a hunting trip.

Went into the hospital on Friday for a quick look around. The Friday morning handover meeting, a formal occasion, was a hotbed of lively discussion and debate, with lots of discussion about evidence, or lack of. Some of my previous consultants would have been given a run for their money! Everyone is expected to attend, and the nursing staff also give a summary of admissions and outcomes. There is a lot of stuff that I am going to see and experience that I won't be writing on here, as I think it will be too sensitive to be published in the public domain.

Met the low risk labour ward manager, the postnatal ward sister and the VVF theatre sister. They're very friendly and welcoming and I think that once I get over the initial shock of such a massive change I think I'm going to enjoy the challenges the year will bring. I'm certainly going to have to find a novel way of doing an ARM without and amnihook!

I've spent a bit of time exploring the city itself, with the other people that are staying here in the hostel. I looked at a house that wasn't suitable, but will be looking for a place more seriously once I get all the initial paperwork sorted out.

Friday night was spent eating Ethiopian food Alfresco, and then dancin until the wee small hours, and there's definitely a vibrant social life here which I'm obviously looking forward to exploring in more depth!

So, tomorrow I start work properly. Am I nervous? Obviously. Am I excited? Definitely!


  1. Hurrah! onwards and upwards,,,, Was wondering if you managed to get the forceps through customs?

  2. Helloooooo hope the first day went well, I can only imagine it was full of strangeness as you negotiate your way round all the new and unusual goings on!!!
    Did you get a tea break?

  3. Wow, it all sounds both fantastic & horrific at the same time, but what an experience - you are going to return a very wise woman (but please still be a mad woman, we love you like that!!)Stuff trundles on here, luv Fiona xx


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