Uganda - meeting with another culture

Feb 18, 2017, Patricia Hartung, Pre-medicine

6 weeks have passed and my internship as a pre-medic student at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital has ended. I can now just look back on a lot of amazing experiences, say goodbye to sweet traveling companions and bring the many experiences I’ve gained over time here in Uganda with me home to little Denmark.

There is no doubt that I have learned and observed a lot on the many exciting departments in the hospital. The large public hospital offers opportunities that can not be found at home and I have really gained a lot of professional knowledge and have reaffirmed how much I would like to study medicine and help people in the future. In addition, the different weekends have been the perfect break from the daily routines and it has been so nice to experience this beautiful country along with good friends and dedicated guides.

The really special thing about this trip, is that you will be located in the middle of Ugandan culture. No tourists, no superficial giant hotels, no big international restaurants – just a clean and raw Uganda. Some of the things I’ve been feeling the most in this country, and which made the most impression on me, are undoubtedly the hospitality and the open minded people you meet. Almost everyone smiles and says hello to you on the street, and you can easily talk to the people. On a small spontaneous walk in the local area, I and some others from the group met our now good friend Mr. Nelson. We quickly got to talk to him, and afterwards we met his family and were invited into his nice little house. He showed us the area, telling a lot of exciting facts about the community. His hospitality and friendliness was extraordinary. After several visits to Mr. Nelson and the family, the others had to return home to Denmark while I stayed here for 2 weeks more. Therefore, I chose to introduce him to the next internship team and our beautiful coordinator Ruth. We invited Mr. Nelson and the family home for dinner in Trymedics house, where we had a nice evening.

So, if you’re ready to meet new people and come close to the culture, you should definitely not be afraid to open your mouth and being outgoing – you definitely learn more about the surroundings and, not least, yourself, by being welcoming and give back to people!

The hospitality also showed itself at the hospital, where some of our mentors invited us all for a wedding the last weekend. One of the midwife was getting married and there was a huge ceremony and party. It was a good opportunity to get close to the culture in Uganda once again, and we were all excited about the very intimate event.. After we had almost emptied the local dress retailer, we arrived at the most beautiful reception with far too much food, magnificent decorations and day long entertainment (certainly also the evening as well as the night long). It was festive and fun to see how the African rhythms shone as bridesmaids and boys danced up to their seats to the entertainment of all the guests. We could certainly learn something from this amazing atmosphere back in Denmark!

I just want to stop saying – if you want a great learning, cultural and, not least, different experience, then go on an internship in Uganda. You will NEVER regret. I regret nothing at all from this unforgettable stay, except that I did not dare to take last step and and bungee jump over the White Nile! 😉

See you again Africa – Patricia (Pre-Medicine student)

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