TGIF!!! The first week of classes is almost over. It will be week three of my stay in Uganda come Saturday! It feels like the days are going by fast, but at the moment, everything seems to slow down. For students at Uganda Christian University (UCU), school reopened this past Monday. UCU runs on three terms/semesters – the Advent, Easter, and Trinity semesters, in keeping with the Anglican tradition. This fall is the Advent Semester. As UCU students register and continue to stagger onto campus, we in the Uganda Studies Program(USP) press on with our course of study. Our first week oriented us to the USP program. We then left for a historical and cultural trip to Northern Uganda in week two. Week three ushered in my first day of classes on Monday, Microbiology Lab on Tuesday, and practicum placement on Wednesday.
My Monday started at 6:30 a.m. Breakfast was at 7:30 a.m. I had some hot African tea and doughnuts – the staple breakfast on campus. I then walked to my first class, Faith and Action, at 8:30 a.m. Microbiology Lecture from followed from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. The time in between was spent taking care of logistics, getting lunch, and getting situated with my schedule for the week. Tuesday morning started with a Microbiology Lab at Mukono Church hospital from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. My classmates and I got to see blood cells that were infected by malaria parasites under a microscope. I had the opportunity to set up the slide and focus it for viewing. After the lab, I joined community worship/ chapel from 12-1 p.m. Lunch followed, then Infectious disease and Epidemiology class from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., then dinner at 7. I think you see the pattern. My day starts with an 8:30 a.m. class and ends with dinner at 7 p.m. Various forms of orientation, planning, and scheduling take place within these hours. On Wednesday for example, I got to meet my practicum site supervisor for the first time. We connected really well. I have been placed with Reach One Touch One Ministries (ROTOM), a Christian nonprofit organization that focuses on geriatric care and wellbeing. I get to shadow doctors, go on home visits with nurses from the organization and learn about psychosocial factors that contribute to the well-being of patients, and their families. My schedule is still in the process of settling into something consistent. I am still rolling with it as I learn to be flexible and adaptable.
This week, I am being challenged to press on to the goal of serving humanity through the gifts and opportunities that have been bestowed upon me. And I am reminded to do it all in humility while not despising meager beginnings. My lab experience reminded me of this. You see, the Mukono Microbiology Lab is not spacious. It is about a third or less of the space of a typical American University lab, yet the amount of work being done with such limited resources is incredible. Seeing technicians work with such efficiency in such a tiny space is heartwarming. These professionals do their work, share their small lab space with such joy, and serve patients of all kinds, ranging from those with HIV, malaria, newborns, and more.
Have you been given more, share it with others? Do you have less? Share it with others. As Mother Theresa once said, do small things with big love. Here in Uganda, I see many people with less but serving with big love.
Lord, help me learn to do the same. Week four, here I come.