Ministering with my Skills
I (Jalina) don’t feel like I know much compared to a doctor, but we all have more to offer than we realize if we just approach people with compassion. EMI has “support staff” which is made up of Ugandans. These are essential people who have a paid position to help out EMI in various positions, such as cooking, cleaning, or guarding the compound from intruders, etc. I was asked to teach a first aid course for the support staff to give some basic knowledge in common injuries.
I taught on cuts, major bleeding, broken bones, and signs of shock. Ironically, first aid is the one thing nurses aren’t taught in university although everyone immediately thinks of this being our primary expertise.
The two hour first aid teaching at Jason’s work went really well and everyone was very attentive. I showed small video clips about each one, reinforced it with some teaching, then had the class find a partner and act each one out with their neighbor.
Months later, one of the support staff named Stella told me about how she loved it when I did the health teaching. She said her daughter always gets bloody noses and Stella would always tell her to lay down with her head back (which is ill advised). The daughter would then get a stomach ache afterwards (from swallowing blood) and the nose bleeds would keep coming back. She had never heard about pinching the nose and leaning forward before, but was really excited about this new information.
Oh, the things we take for granted! We can easily look up a remedy on the internet for just about any problem we have and sometimes even self-diagnose in America, but here they do not have that luxury.
Stella was also telling me about her previous 6 pregnancies and how her legs would swell and it would hurt quite a bit. She would massage them, but didn’t know what else to do. I just gave her the simple advice to elevate her legs above the level of her heart when possible (I showed her examples) and she had never heard this before. She was beyond grateful for this new advice and so excited that she was friends with her own personal “nurse”!
The healthcare systems are very poor here. I have been seen some Dr.’s treat their patients very poorly. There are a lot of government run hospitals (who work for bribes) and many of the staff do not have good bedside manner or compassion. I have heard disturbing stories from several of the women in the Namuwongo slums who have given birth in these hospitals (b/c it was all they could afford). Some ended up giving birth on the floor of the waiting room because the staff was on “tea break” or didn’t care. Stella told me that when she was giving birth, the nurses yelled at her and told her to “shut up” because she was crying out with discomfort. Women go to the doctor for appointments and it is looked down upon if they are advocates for their own healthcare. There is no time to ask questions or understand what is going on in their bodies because the staff is too busy or do not care. It is a sad and heartbreaking system. I have sat down with Stella going over lab results with her (from a UTI) and explaining basic things that she wished a health care professional had just taken the time to do so she can understand her health better.
I’m no doctor and I never will be, but I’ve learned we can all contribute more than we think if we approach people with compassion. I don’t feel like I’m very good at preaching or teaching, but nonetheless I lead a bible lesson and health teaching every month to 70+ women. If you told me I would be doing this a year ago, I’m not sure I would have believed you. This new approach of compassion and helping where I can is something I hope to carry with me regardless of where I live.
What Do Ugandan’s Eat?
This is one the most common question missionaries get so we figured we’d answer it with a visual tutorial.
Ugandans most commonly eat rice and beans with a vegetable sauce. Samosas are these yummy fried triangles with meat or split peas inside, this is one of Jason’s favorite Ugandan foods.
Motoke is a green banana looking vegetable that is usually cooked and tastes like a potato.
Chipati is a large fluffy fried pita and when
served with a scrambled egg on top is call a Rolex
Pocho is made from white corn flour and water- it tastes like a bland potato. You’ll notice that Ugandans love starch foods.
Ground nuts, also called G-nuts, taste similar to peanuts which is often used to create a sauce to put on rice.
Here are some more random food fun facts:
- Oranges are a green color here, but are still called oranges.
- Sometimes when you bite down on your rice or other foods you experience a hard crunch… but instead of being food, it is sand or small stones or something like that. Food processing isn’t quite up to First World standards- oh well.
- They have KFC in the city of Kampala
- The don’t have sour cream here so we use plain yogurt instead and its surprisingly close.
- Fried grasshoppers are common to eat after the wings have been taken off
- Speaking of food processing standards, the first day I was here my co-worker was showing me the ropes of shopping and she told me that we should put my prepackaged bags of oatmeal in the freezer for a day or two after we got home. She then encouraged me to purchase the ones in clear packaging. This was because you could look to see if there were bugs in the prepackaged bags and if you missed it you could kill it in the freezer. Sure enough she grabbed a bag shifted it around in her hands and found an ant crawling around inside. “Welcome to Uganda” is all I thought!
Support the Effort
Thank you all for your tremendous generosity and for being behind our ministry. We couldn’t do it without your partnership.
If you want to help us serve the Ugandan people you can donate either online at: https://secure-q.net/Donations/Engineer/3432
Or by mailing in a check written out to “EMI” with a note in the envelope that says “Jason Reinhardt- 2050”. Then mail it to:
130 E. Kiowa St., Ste 200
Colorado Springs, CO 80903