Surprises and endings in Gulu (for now)

For the past weeks, I have been finishing up my field study, recovered from malaria, visited Kampala, and enjoyed my last time in Gulu (my home away from home). Last Friday, I even went further North to Kitgum and visited the Memory and Peace Documentation Centre. It is the only one of its kind and founded by the Refugee Law Project. It is very interesting to visit as it contains important information on the previous armed conflicts in Uganda as well as a library. I want to thank, Jerry Oyet, for showing us around, explaining everything, and answering all our questions. Most impressive exhibition to me was the one showing a copy of the letter written by Joseph Kony himself. On our way back to Gulu, we stopped at Aruu Falls. A gigantic and beautiful waterfall with a rainbow. It is definitely worth the visit although you must be very careful about when and how you hike down to the bottom of the falls.

Kitgum Memory and Peace Documentation Centre

Letter written by Joseph Kony, the LRA commander in chief

View from the top of Aruu Falls from where we hiked to the bottom.

Aruu Falls, wild and beautiful.

  

I am very satisfied with the results of my 9 weeks in Gulu. I have successfully conducted 30 interviews of 30-90 minutes each with both former abductees and community leaders, professionals from different NGOs, and a district official. I am looking forward to writing the thesis and sharing it with all my friends here, at home, and abroad.

I have a lot of mixed feelings leaving Gulu and all the warm-hearted people, I have been so fortunate to meet here. I cannot give enough thanks to those who welcomed me to their homes, shared their personal stories, hopes, and challenges with me, and to my friends who have made it so hard for me to leave this beautiful country. Lastly, none of this would have been possible without the support and encouragement of my local partners, in particular, Hope and Peace for Humanity as well as People’s Voices for Peace and War Affected Networking and Betty Children Foundation. You inspire me and gives me hope that, together, we can work for a better tomorrow. If anyone wishes to support Hope and Peace for Humanity’s upcoming project which will empower 150 female victims of violence, the Global Giving Platform will boost any contributions made on Wednesday the 20th of June.

Yesterday, my friends from Hope and Peace for Humanity also surprised me with lunch, kind words, a gift and a maize roasting at night. It left me speechless. You are truly the BEST, and I will miss each and every one of you. Now, I am heading off to bounty beaches, drinks, and 2.5 weeks of holidays in Tanzania before going home to Denmark/Sweden.

Roasting of maize on my last night in Gulu

Hope and Peace for Humanity (HPH) family

Gained new knowledge and experience

 

I lived my days filled with new events, lessons and experience. Together with my supervisor and a group of 18 students, we went to Kahramanmaras City, where we spent a week visiting different places. The places that were scheduled for us to visit were Healthcare Center (for handicapped Children), Syrian refugees Camp, geriatric care and a village.

We spent the first day to get to know the city and each other. The group consisted of both dental- and nurse students from different cities in Turkey. We would cooperate and together we would complete each other as a team.

Behind Kahramanmaras City lies a wonderful history and the city is well known for its famous ice cream made of fine goat milk and wild orchid flower roots from the surrounding Mountains. Lets not forget to mention their tasteful bakava that we ate already the first day we were there. I really recommend you all to visit K.Maras City for its breathtaking nature and their ice cream.

This province, was named Maras until 1918, then it changed to Kahramanmaras. Kahraman, which means “hero” in Turkish, was added in reference to the bravery of the people of the city that stood up to the French occupation after the 1 World war. Kahraman, which means “hero” in Turkish, was added in reference to the bravery of the people of the City that stood up to the French occupation after the 1 World War.

The day after, we had a “training” day where the supervisor Prof. Turksel Dulgergil went through the schedule, clinical examination form, different cases, diseases and treatments that could be needed when visiting the different places. The day was informative and fun.

DSC_0505 (2)

Dr Berna Göcebe giving us info about the schedule.

DSC_0510 (3)

A lecture held by Prof Turksel Dulgergil.

The third day we went together to a village called Turkoglu Uzunsögut. When we arrived the majority of the people was already gathered from the village and we were warmly welcomed with smiles. When we stepped off the bus we were surrounded by happy children who had been waiting patiently for us in the warm weather, and they helped us to prepare and set up chairs, tables, etc.

DSC_0568 (2)

Arriving at the village. With mobile dental unit and tools we are ready.

DSC_0585

Prof Turksel deals with the first patient.

DSC_0688 (3)

My mates gave oral hygiene instructions to the Children.

DSC_0630 (2)

Knee-to-knee with parent to treat the Child (fluoride varnish application).

DSC_0770 (2)

Inside of the mobile dental unit where some treatments can be performed.

The atmosphere was filled with energy and joy. We were divided into small Groups and each group would be in charge of different tasks (examination, fluoride varnish etc). At the end of the day, the clinical examination, fluoride varnish, treatment was performed and all mother-child pairs received dental kits. In addition to this they were given the disease info and oral hygiene instructions. The total number of dhildren examined was 450.

It was a tough day in 40 degree heat and work under the sun, but it was extremely instructive and the experience was wonderful. Helping children and mothers and making them aware of their oral health was worth all the sweat.

DSC_0926

At the end of the day…wonderful feelings have been shared.

The fourth day of the week, we went to Syrian Refugees Camp. We got on the bus and we were charged of energy and joy to meet everyone and see how they truly have it.  When we arrived after a few hours bus trip, we saw that all of the children were waiting for us. It made me so happy to see. When we got off the bus the Children ran over, with hugs and kisses and with the joy in their eyes and smile and dragged us to their other friends. This increased my energy and made me genuinely happy to see. After having spent a wonderful time with the children out there, we had to start working. We were split up in different groups and each group was responsible for different tasks. At the end of the day we had received 1000 Children. I left the place with joy, knowing I did all I could.

DSC_1342 (2)

The never ending queue.

DSC_1145

A Picture says a thousand Words.

DSC_1181

Giving them oral hygiene instructions and dental kits. It was so fun to see how willing they are to learn. All we need is tooth brush and education to maintain a better oral healh.

DSC_1209

While clinically examining the Children.

I looked forward to the fifth day because we would meet children with mental and physicial disabilities and children from 1-6 years of age. We performed the same tasks as the previous days, but the application was different on the handicapped children. It was particularly challenging especially because some children could not sit still, some were scared, some were susceptible when we came near their mouth region and some of them wanted so much attention and love which made me so happy to experience. Being around them felt different because they radiated special energy and love was seen in their eyes. It was a special experience and I would love to do it again.

DSC_0598

We have Power in our hands to do something…and we gotta use it.

DSC_0595

Children with disibilities are dependent on someone for the rest of their lives. We have to help them in one way or another and create opportunities for them, just like we have.

After some hours, we had to go to the health care center where we met mothers with children between 1-6 years. We made clinical examination and we applied fluoride varnish for the children. It was such a wonderful day.

The sixth day was an exciting day for me because I have never visited geriatric care. The day was scheduled to meet elderly adults and to treat them. When we arrived, we sat together with the elderly adults to get to know them. After a nice moment of life stories and funny jokes together with them we began to examine and treat them. Some needed scaling, some needed their prosthesis to be checked etc. We also gave oral hygiene instructions and disease info and distributed dental kits to them. We ended the day by going to Yesilgöz where we ate barbecued food surrounded of wonderful hills and a beautiful lake. Certificates were awarded with handmade jewelry box as a gift to each one of us.

DSC_1139

Lets make difference in their lives.

DSC_1138

DSC_1255

Prof Turksel Dulgergil is making restorations.

The seventh day we packed our bags and we went our separate ways after a wonderful week and time together. The memories will remain and be unforgettable. I am more than happy and forever thankful for this opportunity and experience.

 

There lies opportunities to seek knowledge and we all make our own opportunities if we want. The knowledge is everywhere and is overpriced free. It just depends on us to seek and deepen our knowledge. This experience has truly enriched me as person and my future.

 

 

Amazing time

 

17 july -27 july

Already three wonderful weeks have passed. Overall, my weeks have surpassed all of my expectations. Happy to tell you guys, my weeks are filled with amazing sights and experiences.

2

As planned, I regularly spend 3-4 days per week at the Family Physician Health Center to continue to collect data for my work. I have reached amount of 35 mother-child pairs and I have 15 left. While examining the pairs I feel meaningful purpose, knowing that this isn’t just a thesis that has to be done, but also that those mother-child pairs hereafter will become aware about their oral health and will get enlightened with education to maintain a good oral hygiene. Not only education, but also distribution of dental kits that will be given to them such as toothbrushes and toothpaste. This will have a significant impact in improving oral health. In terms of their bad dental status the challenges are big, but so are the rewards.

We are having a great opportunity to make a significant difference in their lives.

99

In the end of every examination I can see and feel a sense of appreciation in their eyes. Experiencing that rewards can be so big after little investment is truly amazing. This really fuels my entire day and due to this I wake up every morning with momentum and go to sleep with satisfaction.

I spend the rest of the days at the University where my supervisor works. At the Clinic I continue to collect relevant articles to work, analyzing saliva samples and get my own patients to treat.

Another great part of the day is looking forward to getting my own patient to examine and treat them because I experience different cases and learn a different system of treating. It is so instructive to explore similarities and learn the differences between the countries for example, how we examine, how we meet the patients, how we diagnose and what factors mostly matters.

I’m ending my days jogging together with my supervisor Dr Turksel to the forest and mountains to capture the nature and release my thoughts because I believe the nature is a great equalizer. I’m truly amazed by the size and variety of the natural environments and I just can’t get enough of it.

 

3