Right Place, Right Time

It started in my waist before everything went dark. A heavy rush of light-headedness before I hit the deck.

I was in the outpatient clinic for a malaria screen after experiencing low-grade fevers for a couple of days. My weekend getaway to Mbarara was a bust as Saturday and half of Sunday were spent watching Premier League football matches. I was bed-bound with a bug and stared at the screen instead of seeing the area.

A finger stick to get a blood sample to analyze. Then I keel over like that.

BCH sign

Instantly, Joseph, my nearby night watchman, who was in the clinic, was at my side lifting me to my feet along with Moses, the clinical technician. A gurney was brought, and I laid down for a heads up tour of the hospital corridors.

Bwindi Community Hospital is one of Uganda’s top hospitals. Its staff is experienced and prepared. That a muzungu fainted after losing a drop or two of his own blood did not necessarily constitute an emergency but the response was professional and swift.

My vital signs before and after the incident were normal. The message seems to be to slow down and rest when you can, even on weekends. I’ve been as active as I can be, diving into every opportunity with great expectations. Even teams with the lead call time out.

Like I said last year, if you’re going to have a health issue in Africa, have it at the hospital.

Man on a Mission

Arriving at Bwindi in a splendidly roomy van, I was ferried to my home for the next three months in a conveyance unattainable to most in this region.

And that will be typical of about everything I do here. From my carbon footprint, to electronic gadgets, to bags of underwear and socks, I got and brought a lot.

Did I mention electronics?

I will admit I am the poster boy of western excess on this trip. iHave just about iEverything Apple makes, from laptop to iPad to iPhone. Each of those devices has its own iCamera.

Great. I brought six other HD cameras.

I don’t know exactly what I will see while in Uganda but I hope I don’t miss anything. It’s expensive to fly across the Atlantic and 11 time zones. It’s my second trip to Africa in nine months and I am very fortunate to have this opportunity to document health care and education here.

My communications colleague at the Bwindi Commmunity Hospital looks at me in amazement. Look at all this stuff. I start to justify. The laptop is my portable video editing device, the iPhone is a handy HD camera, iPad is great for social media.

Yes, a bit of excess for these parts. But I will use them all.

I’m a man on a mission.