Notes from Hilda

Dear Family and Friends

It is now Sat night and the end of our first week in Uganda. It has been filled with wonder and thankfullness for being able to be here and to see so many people whom so many of you have helped to support in many ways.

Arthur was the first one to come to visit. He was a young nursing student whom we helped with his tuition and is now in his second last semester at University. He attends Aga Khan University 2 days a week and works at the hospital 5 days and next May will have his degree in nursing and midwifery.When I first met him 4 years ago he asked me how he could ever repay me, I said ' someday you will meet someone who needs help just as I was helped when I was 17 to be able to finish High School and then enter nursing school" When I met him the next year and he had finished his hospital training and had already taken in 3 cousins who had been orphaned. Arthur got the boys back to school (paid their fees), the eldest is now working and the 2 youngest have finished High School and are taking a Journalism course.

The next visitor was Ruth a beautiful young girl who also needed help to finish her nursing training, she now pays the school fees for her 4 step siblings, her brother Jonathon has been in several times to helpus set up the computer and he graduated last year in graphic design and he is helping other young people. Ruth and Jonathon's mother is a wonderful woman who is the cleaner at the clinic and makes probably less than $100.00/ month. She came by to-night and in 3 weeks is going to take us out to her village about 45 KM away.

The clinic has been very welcoming and are planning days for us to go out into the community where we visit the patients who are too ill to come in. I enjoy the work so much, We will also spend some days with what is called Community Based Home Care. It is the closest to the Public Health practice I loved so much while working. On these clinics I am the pharmacist and fill the prescriptions made out by the nurses. ( well I never did that while working in Canada !!)

A Dr. in Vancouver who has been very supportive of Abey's 2 orphanages, or as he prefers to call them "homes" sent me out with a huge sports bag (48 lbs) full of musical instruments, a lap top, 2 back packs and many articles of clothing. The boys came by to pick them up on Thur. night and the looks on their faces was so great. We took lots of pictures and I will see that Andrew sees them when I return home. He also sent money to one of them to take us out to dinner last night. so it was chicken and chips night.

To-day we went to the Sanyo Babies Home to help feed the babies. There are now 50 some little ones there from birth to 4 years of age. It is a well run orphanage and we will go there when we can on Saturdays.

Another visiter to-day was Felisita. Some of you will remeber me telling about her last year. She was the young girl whom I helped during her labour and was able to get attention to her in time to save both her and her babies life. Well Simon is now 18 mo. old, walking and talking and fortuately HIV free.Felisita was fortunate to get the mother -to-babe medication during her pregnancy to help her baby. Unfortunately every mother here does not get pre-natal care and babies are still born already infected with this dreadful disease.

I sat with a 36 year old Ugandan woman on the plane from London to Uganda and she expressed with dismay that she feels there is a complacency now among her age group who feel that with the anti retro viral drugs available there is not the need to be more responsible. That makes me sad.

I remember as a child the fear of polio,and in my first year in Public Health we got the vaccine and now we do not hear of polio, at least in most of the world. Sometimes I wonder if some day my grandchildren will be able to say "Our grandmother used to go to Africa to help people with a terrible disease calle Aids and now we do not have it anymore" Do you suppose that will ever happen? I pray so.

Well now I feel I have rambled on too long. Just know that I am well and happy.

I send much love to you all and many hugs and kisses to my family