As Sheila and I were talking outside - this woman came up over the horizon in the most beautiful long satin full length white dress carrying her baby on her hip and a satchel in her other hand. She was a vision of beauty! I was blown away.....
She had walked hours up the dirt roads to have her post-malarial check up. Both she and her daughter had had malaria.
She even had a bracelet that matched her earrings!
She carried this health card inside her satchel - she was so organized and on the ball...taking such good care of herself and her daughter.
We saw almost 4 generations (3rd generation was heavily pregnant) living here. They had a sleeping hut as well as a cooking hut. I loved listening to them talk and watch how they interacted with us. Oh...and almost forgot - when we came up to their home they had the radio blasting. You won't believe the song they were listening to......Poker Face!!! I almost died. I just couldn't believe that all the way here in Uganda, half way across the world, this family was listening to the very same music that I hear on the radio everyday. It was surreal. They listen to our music - but how incredibly different our lives are. If they only knew....
I love this series of photos. I feel so lucky that this family was open and let us stay a while, chat, interview and photograph them.
Some images of the batwa family that lived in the hut.
This mother had taken this baby to the Health Centre a week or so ago, but wasn't planning on going back until she had visited the traditional healer. The Batwa still believe in the power of the traditional healers and will believe more in their powers than doctors. We were told that the traditional healers would make knife marks down the chest, draw blood and then add other blood to the child's blood to make the child better.
At first I found this hard to believe, but later at other visits, I saw first hand the chests of grown women who had clearly been to the traditional doctor numerous times. Their entire chests from above their breasts was scar tissue.
Patrick then took us on a tour of the hills behind the Byumba Health Centre where many Batwa live. Here is a home we saw below the centre on the mountainside. This family slept and did their cooking all in this hut. Many others had a seperate hut for cooking - and many of their sleeping huts had currogated steel roofs to protect them from the rain.
These paintings were all the exterior of the Health Center. Very powerful tools for educating and preventing so many common problems (malnutrion, HIV, family planning, malaria).
My favorite is the one below which shows the burden of a large family on a Ugandan man. See the sweat coming off his face? If you look closely you can see his wife, many children (one girl who has her period - meaning that he'll have to supply her with cloths, one baby with the runs - meaning sickness) and the food he will have to supply. The message is "a smaller family is a wealthier family" (or something along those lines).
That's Patrick explaining this painting of a family getting HIV testing.
Sheila and I headed out to Byumba Health Centre for the day. There was a family planning clinic there - putting depro-vera inserts in the upper arms of women - 5 years of birth control!
It was about an hour and half drive - mostly on dirt roads that looked more like river beds than roads. This Health Centre is apart of Bwindi and staffed by Patrick and Julius. Patrick spent the large part of the day explaining in great detail all they do here. They work so hard and are so proud of what they do!