Ready, Set, oh?!

Reading time: 3 minutes

The last days in the Netherlands flew by! Before I know it, I'm on a plane on Saturday morning, where I can enjoy a view of the most beautiful landscapes for 10 hours, relaxing for a while. After a successful flight with only 1 stopover in Rwanda, I set foot on Ugandan soil for the first time at 11.15 pm!

Fortunately it has cooled down to a degree or 25°C. Mandatory COVID test, customs, visa, almost at the exit, only my luggage still has to go through the scanner. My suitcase with more than 12 kg of donated bras + some wound material, is picked out for inspection…

When I open my suitcase and show whats inside, the man carefully inspects the bandages. When he sees that it's expired, he gets really angry! Soon a second man with a hight temper joins in, after which they make it clear to me in raised voice that they don't like cast-offs like this, just because people in Africa would be poor, people could die if I used this! How dare I take this with me, especially as a nurse I should know better! And so it goes on…

I am trying to explain that sterile gauzes that are a few months past their expiry date can still be used as non-sterile gauzes. Unfortunately, they do not understand this and they even bring in a third person, who is also not amused. The bras are also said to be full of germs, which is life-threatening, etc. etc. I explain that it has all been washed, but nothing can change their minds.

So I decide to change course; Repenting of my terrible deeds, I say I made a big mistake, I'm very sorry and I certainly don't want to offend anyone, but unfortunately they are not forgiving. If I then suggest throwing it all away, again they are almost shouting that it doesn't work that way, because it then has to be officially destroyed and I have to pay all those costs, etc. etc.

Suddenly they also want to check my own bag, in which they find a generous supply of tampons. Naive as they are, they want to hear from me what exactly these are and how to use them. I don't get angry easily, but now I'm done with it. In a loud voice I tell them in detail all the ins and outs about the menstrual cycle and the use of tampons. I hold back my laughter when I see the men getting more and more quiet and uncomfortable and I end my speech with the question if I can finally go!? And yes, to my great surprise I am allowed to leave without having to pay anything, but I have to leave the bras behind. Too bad, but so be it. They are not going to throw the bras away, so they will undoubtedly find another useful destination!

When I finally walk out around 00.30 (am), it is dark and deserted in the parking lot. I had an appointment with the people of the hotel that someone would be there to pick me up, but there is no one to be seen. Not entirely surprising considering so much time has passed, a bit frustrating, but I can still laugh about it. Then I'll look for a taxi that can take me to the hotel.

The next morning I am pleasantly surprised when a driver is at my door very early, to take me to the hospital in Kisiizi! After the long flight it is time for the next part, an 8-hour journey by jeep.

The first hours we drive through the busy city, street vendors everywhere, mopeds on which they sit with 3 men and transport a dangerous amount of stuff, lot of honking, crowded vans, women breastfeeding their babies on the side of the road, a skinned cow that hangs between 2 poles and is carefully dissected… there is plenty to see! The driver turns out to be a pastor of the Pentecostal church, who lets out a cry of joy when I tell them that I am also Pentecostal and have been going to church all my life. He immediately utters a fervent prayer for a safe journey, Hallelujah! And that turns out not to be superfluous, because they don't really know traffic rules here.

The busy city gradually changes into a rolling landscape; green hills, banana plantations, corn fields and the occasional small villages. Around 6 pm we finally arrive in Kisiizi, destination is reached!

I have no idea what it will all look like yet, but I hope to be able to tell more about that in the next update. Despite all the consternations, I am already enjoying this adventure intensely! To be continued…

January 9, 2022

20 Comments

  1. Erik van Halsema

    Hi Daphne, an exciting journey when I read it like that. We look forward to your experiences there!
    greetings, Erik and Marianne van Halsema

    • Daphne van Wingerden

      Hi Erik and Marianne, it was certainly exciting! Nice to hear, love!

  2. Marian

    Wow, your adventure starts right away! Good to know that God's protection rests on you and His spirit guides you! Many blessings there and great that you keep us updated with your blogs!

  3. Lisette

    How wonderful to read! Couldn't you have made a sneaky recording of your speech about menstruation and tampons? I wish I could have seen those faces! 😂

    • Daphne van Wingerden

      haha! Yes, I would have liked to watch it again ;p

  4. Anthon

    Hi Daphne, what a story! God bless there!

  5. Max

    What a story many blessings
    gr
    Max

    • Celine

      wow. Right into the adventures. Blessed journey, put it on

    • Hannah

      After a second reading I still have to laugh at your story! Shame about the bras, but the most important thing is that you arrived safely! God bless and love

    • Sebas

      Glad you arrived in one piece! It's good that you have provided the gentlemen in Uganda with some nursing knowledge by explaining everything about the menstrual cycle, free refresher training is always a plus. 😉

      Good luck and have fun there! We read along with all your adventures from the CRU!

  6. Marloes

    Lucky you aren't scared

  7. Pieter

    Fortunately, you still have 1 pair of slippers to hand out 😉

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