It certainly did pass by quickly, this month of July. Long anticipated and fully enjoyed the month of Meriam’s visit flew by.
She arrived on July 1 very early in the morning at Entebbe airport. She slept in, and I somehow did. I had slept some before getting to the airport at 3am. Yes, Meriam arrived but not so her suitcase. That had stayed behind in Istanbul. And while Turkish Airlines had told her that it would arrive the next day it did not, and we left for Arua without her suitcase. Time was short and she wanted to make the most of her time in Congo.
The trip to Arua went fine and we stayed overnight at the home of other AIM missionaries. That day and the next before we left I had to do some errands and at 2.30pm we were at the place to depart for Adi. However, just when we arrived a heavy rainstorm started that lasted for more than an hour. This delayed packing the truck so we only left around 5.30pm. Fortunately we had met one of my HIV positive friend with her baby. And it was a looooong trip. We only arrived in Adi at midnight Uganda time.
The next day we visited the hospital but for the rest we rested, as we did during the weekend as well. It was raining a lot. Monday we went to the hospital around 9.30am and decided on Meriam’s program for the three weeks that she would be here. The first week she would follow the work in the internal ward, intensive care, surgical ward, maternity and ante-natal clinics, operating theatre. The second week would be in pediatrics and the third in the maternity.
She had a great time, and especially enjoyed the maternity. The first day at the maternity was difficult though as two of the three babies born that day were born dead, one by c-section. The live baby was born by c-section.
The third weekend in Congo we planned for a visit to another hospital, around 20km further away in Abedju. We went there by motorbikes. There were not many patients, but the woman who was there on Saturday for a delivery had a c-section Sunday morning and twins were born in our presence. I also must tell that I got malaria while there and spent the Saturday in bed.
Monday was the start of Meriam’s week at maternity and I spent another day sick in bed. However, I was soon feeling well and was even able to give blood to a very sick boy on Friday. Meriam did some deliveries, helped by the nurses. And enjoyed it thoroughly. Several babies were named Meriam, Miriam, Miriamu and even some Annemarie or Ana Marie. Also Meriam was asked to name others.
The first trip into Congo was long and also the trip out was long. We got stuck ourselves for one full hour. However, we made it to Arua and the next day we had a lift with the Central Region leaders to Kampala. We could see some animals, although the elephants didn’t show themselves.
Another thing, Meriam’s suitcase did not arrive the same day as she did but two weeks later, when she was in Adi, on July 16, she could finally open her suitcase again. Thanks to the staff of AIM and Matoke Inn. We brought the real ‘stroopwafels’ (caramel waffles) back and shared them with Matoke staff.