20 November 2019
My name is Grace. I am a neonatal nurse and had the privilege of volunteering in the Medical Centre for six months. I first heard about Potter’s from the Diploma in Tropical Nursing course. On looking at the website, I was greatly moved by the video showing the work done by the Crisis and Medical Centres.
When enquiring, I received a very enthusiastic and prompt reply from Nicci. If the response had been slow in coming or quite brief, I might have lost courage at this point, but Nicci was very encouraging and welcoming. We quickly got things progressing so I could travel very shortly after my course finished.
During my six months, I mainly worked with the Special Care Nursery staff implementing developmental care for the premmie babies, getting them to do observations more regularly on the sick babies and recording fluid charts. We also decided Friday would be the new incubator cleaning day!
Needless to say, Special Care is very different to the UK. There is no fridge to keep expressed breastmilk in, so the mothers come and express by the cot side every 3 hours. They sleep on mattresses in the mothers’ hostel, also handwash their clothes and do all their cooking on site. They are amazing.
The Special Care staff, especially the nursing assistants, do great work keeping the babies alive, and it was rewarding to see them practice what I had taught them. Unfortunately, some babies really do need a ventilator or require intensive care, which is not available. I did see death, but I found comfort that we did all we could with what we had.
I did see miracles including a few asphyxiated (oxygen starved) babies that went from having seizures and big oxygen requirements to no longer needing any oxygen, being seizure free and breastfeeding well!
During my time at Potter’s, I was inspired by the staffs’ commitment to work and thankfulness. There is nothing more convincing than someone praying that we glorify God when we go home; even after a difficult shift with a death. I learnt how important it is to give thanks in all circumstances.
I was able to explore Kisoro and surrounding parts of Uganda on my days off. It is a beautiful part of the world to visit! I climbed Mount Sabyinyo, went to Queen Elizabeth Park for a safari and swam in Lake Mutanda.
When I remember Uganda something snaps, and I often feel dissatisfied and useless when I felt so full of purpose over there! I miss the sunshine and beautiful Ugandan countryside. I miss my colleagues and how happy they are. I miss random people saying hi…but maybe not the cries of mzungu!! I miss working in the Medical Centre.
For the time being, it is God’s will that I am in the UK, but I would love to go back for a visit at some point.
If you are thinking of visiting or volunteering at Potter’s, I would highly recommend it!