An Interview With...
Michèle Ball | February 26, 2015
Registered Nurse Amanda Jones went to Lukomera in November, with friends from New Life Church, Romsey. Here, she talks to Michèle Ball about her experience.
MB: What made you decide to go to Uganda with ServeDirect?
AJ: I’d watched from a distance as the charity was birthed and grown over the years, and thought, ‘one day I’ll go.’ As the kids are now older, 2014 was perfect timing to take the plunge and my new husband Steve could hold the fort.
MB: What did you do when you got there?
AJ: I was involved with teaching good hand-washing techniques using gel and ultra violet light, which the students found fascinating! Hopefully this helped reinforce the difference that soap and water can make to reduce diarrhoea and vomiting.
MB: What did you enjoy the most?
AJ: Seeing baby Felix come into the world as I was being given a guided tour of The Rock Health Centre on day one! This ended up being a very difficult birth with limited medical supplies but Praise God, mum, who was only 15, and baby pulled through.
MB: And the least?
AJ: The smell of the boys’ latrines!
MB: Were you worried about standing in front of a class?
AJ: A bit! But soon relaxed as I realised the young people were keen to engage in the lesson and very curious to know more about the UK and our culture.
MB: Was there anything you wish you’d known before going?
AJ: We were well prepared with an itinerary and were responsible for planning our own teaching time plus getting resources, so this helped us swing into action after a couple of day’s acclimatisation.
MB: How did your faith in God help you with the team trip?
AJ: 100% during Felix’s arrival as this showed how fragile life and death situations are in under-developed countries. During the whole [emergency transfer] experience I was, to an extent, out of my comfort zone so relied on God’s help tremendously.
MB: Would you like to go back?
AJ: Yes, and am trying to persuade my family to go too! I feel a strong affinity to The Rock, with my nursing background and was so impressed with the skills of the nurses who took responsibility for many complex situations. As my particular interest is around improving health outcomes, I found it so satisfying to go in to the local community to offer prayer and some basic provisions like underwear, toothpaste, and baby clothes.
MB: What would you do differently, if anything?
AJ: I’d like to spend more time in the community and with The Rock nurses, as these community visits brought home how resourceful people can be, yet witnessing the hard realities of living with little money, possibly poor health and limited education.
MB: What advice would you give to someone thinking about going to Uganda with ServeDirect?
AJ: Talk to as many people you can who’ve already been; go on the website to get a feel for the area and projects. Then go for it!