As they always say that there is always a solution in every problem we face every single day. So true it is.
After the week of training in First Aid and field visits, we were extremely nervous as were to go out and sensitize the community on HIV/AIDS, proper condom use and disposal. And were excited that we would be able to go to Namugongo Catholic Shrine to offer First Aid to the pilgrims from all over Uganda and beyond. Be able to visit the lake as it was in one of the areas we are to go to for field work. We were finally taken to the field in groups which now had us to be paired up led by a volunteer who was our team leader. We hit the road in our Red T-shirt printed, Uganda Red Cross Society in white. All happy, we dispatched.
So, this experience was when a year one student at the university. The first few days were fine and fun as you are being called musawo to mean doctor. But as the days went by, we started advancing towards the lake where the people were a little different. We continued though we were getting tired and burnt out. One morning a man pulled my partner by the sleeve of her T-shirt and dragged her while screaming at her why she was distributing condoms and yet unwilling to go with him. It was like that day marked that exercise and painted it black. We were labeled prostitutes, promoters of evil doings in the society. A similar incidence where one middle aged woman was on the side of the road just next to her small wattle house. She was standing akimbo as we approached her, she hungrily pointed at us and motioned as to not get closer. "Do not bother coming here, because I do not do prostitution. I wonder why young girls like you would be carrying boxes of such unclean things. Hmm...had I got a daughter like you, I would never allow her to do such disgusting thing in the name of learning. Just turn back and go elsewhere to promote your immorality of prostitution." Still standing there and lost for words, we looked at each other knowingly and went to the other houses. Some of the women who wanted to pick the condoms would fear that their husbands would come back home and beat them up that they are cheating or planning to cheat on them and most of the men we mostly met outside their homes were too shy to pick them and those who had the courage were laughed at by their peers endlessly.
It was becoming stressful as we could not enjoy our field work anymore. I sat down in a shade at a bus stop and gave aunt Anna a call as usual when at break points and explained to her our ordeal. "You are a strong girl and now you are even stronger as you are now a social worker in the making. That is how society is, you can never find a levelled ground as you will always have to skip and jump over stones and sticks and sometimes you have to first go and take off the roadblocks and get the other side to do the things you like or should. Just don't believe what those people say, you are not anything that they say you are."
What keeps me going and how I take care of myself; I pray every single day to the Lord for new strength for I know He refreshes me each moment and tell Him to use me as a vessel to make a difference in the life of someone. I meditate on the goodness of God. I sleep enough and refuse to get stress and eat my fruits and vegetables and never miss my black lemon tea to help me relax. The belief that one day I will become well off also keeps me going and hope to lend a hand one day to those who need support in life. So, with all these and the positive thinking, I am calm enough to listen to others and help them accordingly.
As for the community, lots of teaching concerning safe sex, family planning and general health is needed not only during the times students are on internship and also should go and talk to them and let them know that staffs at red cross are not doctors, the fake ones as they would say could not prescribe medication to relieve pain. A good amount of financial support is required to get more permanent field based staffs to always visit these people and sensitize, education them and find partners to support and work with such a Community to make a difference and perceive certain activities differently and believe that it is for the good of everyone and not some hidden agenda of us the they called doctors who seem so immoral in their eyes.
As an individual, I believe that the only way we can support one another in this sisterhood community, if in the same country or town, besides the words of encouragement on the platform here, we can visit the projects of one another and review them and come up with better ways to enable them stand the test of time in order to serve the community better. Such visits can be accompanied by moral support to a sister since finances may not be there. We could also just meet up in a cafe over a cup of tea and talk as sisters and encourage one another or go on a trip which does not require spending, climb the mountain, dance in the raind, laugh and cry as sometimes this is the best therapy a sister needs to revive and get up to carry on even stronger.