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Today, Hanneke, Ouke and little Anna leave their life in Kumi for good and return to their homeland of Holland. They will be sadly missed especially by Anna’s class mates. Hanneke leaves a thriving bakery and Ouke has developed the farm and reformed the hospital power systems as well as being in charge of the construction of the new operating theatre. They have certainly left their mark on Kumi Hospital and I wish them well in their adjustment to a European life after about five or six years here.

Having made our farewells, I left with Peter and Harriet for Mbale to visit Kamlesh who has the engineering works where our tricycles are made. We have had some ordered for months now and sometimes he needs a nudge. Our waiting list has increased and I am hoping that doubling our order from ten to twenty will give him the incentive to get a move on! He has promised ten by the beginning of June.

However, before reaching Mbale, we stopped by at Kachumbala as Okerenyang had asked us to meet up with his clan sister who had given birth to a CP baby and who wanted help. We were pleased to see that the year old was not severely brain damaged and so we reassured the mother and referred her to Mbale physiotherapy department for an exercise programme.

The main roads bypassing the centre of Mbale have been transformed to provide a smooth-flowing traffic system and even with a set of sophisticated traffic lights. However, the centre is as chaotic as ever. I needed some ledger books so we had to battle with the motorcycles and cars which always necessitates great skill. A march led by a brass band for the graduation of the students from the Mbale School of Hygiene delayed our progress as well as queues and queues of boda bodas. It was with relief that we left the town to drive to Kamacha where we were to visit the primary school where Stella and Tom are teachers.

We did not realise that an organised day had been prepared for us with many of the school’s 1,300 schoolchildren sitting in the shade of a large tree and the school committee joining us to give short (thankfully) speeches followed by a tour of the grounds mainly to see the construction of the eco-latrines being funded by the parents. The main purpose of our visit was to distribute AFRIpads to the newly formed Girl Guide group. (Stella was the founder of the Girl Guides at Adesso School next to the hospital and has subsequently been moved to Kamacha P/S) The girls have yet to get their uniforms but they presented themselves well with marching, dancing and games. With the bags containing AFRIpads given out, we retired to P1 classroom where there were no desks to be given a light lunch. Farewells until the next time were made and we returned to the hospital where I had a few issues to attend to.

With little time for a rest, I showered and changed for meeting my dear friends, John and Consolate, at North East Villa where I needed to provisionally book rooms for the Interplast UK team in October. We ate under the stars which made identifying the actual food a bit difficult but I think I worked out what each item of food piled high on the plate was.

So the day had been good and now I have only one weekend, Monday in Soroti visiting my school children and then I start my journey home.


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