Equator.preview Fitting wheelchair.preview Jamie and Denis working hard in the workshop.preview Jamie teaching OT tech Jackson at kagando.preview Kagando view from guest house.preview Pre wheelchair fitting Stroke patient.preview With Denis and Ken.previewThese thoughts from Jamie Currie (Occupational Therapist from Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital), who is assisting and teaching some of the therapists at Kagando hospital.  He is out there with Dom Hazell (physio) and Charlotte McGrath (dietician).  They are being funded by Interface.

‘Well, what can I say?  There is no way you could ever prepare for such a beautiful country, but also with such poverty and need for help.  Our journey was long and tiring but also interesting, especially the journey from the airport which was through a thunder storm at a level I have never seen before.  We arrived at the first guest house at 2am and had to be up at 6.30am for the taxi to Andrew and Sarah Hodges house, so not much sleep.  The journey to Kagando was interesting and I didn’t want to sleep as there was so much to see on route.  We had a look around the hospital when we arrived and bumped into Ken on our way back which was good.’

Monday 3rd November:

‘Our first day – well what a humbling experience.  We introduced ourselves in church this morning and Dom gave a great short speech.  We had a tour and then were in the clinic – a mix of back pain, OA knees and spines, and strokes.  It was a little chaotic, but we tried to restructure it a little to involve more teaching, rather than just seeing the patients for them.  This afternoon I did some teaching with the OT technician, and then all three of us worked with a ninety year old deaf stroke patient with dementia.  Challenging, as he spoke no English either.  He was two years post stroke and was being transferred with threee nurses picking him up and putting him into a wheelchair.  We managed to stand him four times and demonstrated a safe transfer technique to the OT technician.  His wife cried and the nurses were impressed!  We are going to reinforce this technique on the wards tomorrow.  We are doing a wheelchair clinic tomorrow (Tuesday 4th Nov) for children with Cerebral Palsy.

We went with Ken up to a waterfall in the mountains tonight and met a priest in a nearby village.  He has invited us for dinner on Tuesday night, so that should be interesting.

Thank you for this amazing opportunity.  I have such mixed emotions from fear to joy – it’s all a bit overwhelming.’

Tuesday 4th November

‘What a day!  We have managed to find a WiFi spot at the midwifery school, so we’ve added some photos on facebook.  Today we built five wheelchairs from a box of bits to fully functioning specialist seating devices for some children with Cerebral Palsy.  Also two specialised cots.  It could have been a lot more efficient, but it was as fulfilling as it was frustrating.  Having said that, there is no lack of enthusiasm and practical application from all the staff here.  Ken arranged for us to build the wheelchairs and then set them up, which was probably easier for me than for Dom and Charlotte, but they both got stuck in and did an excellent job.  When I say easier… more from a mechanical point of view than setting up, as it’s been a while….!

Fourth power cut tonight, so texting this to you in the dark!  Dom and I are giving a presentation tomorrow morning in church with an upper limb / hand surgeon from Derby.  He’s very nice and we have had some interesting chats.  We are going to present on wrist fractures and injuries, so at least I should be OK with that.  A bit scary though!  We have a case study who is coming along (she has a wrist fracture).  Dom and I have not met her or seen her notes, so it could be challenging.

I’ll try and update you again tomorrow. Jamie’