I’ve been aware of neglecting the blog for a while. And now that I want to write, I am not sure that I know what to say. My head feels congested, as if it is stuffed with mashed matoke. There’s no room for the thoughts to get an airing or become clear, to me, let alone to anyone else.
I think I am just exhausted. We’ve been back here for two and a half months since our visit to the UK for my mother-in-law’s funeral. I haven’t had more than a day off each week. My evenings have been crammed full with projects for the hospital and my days with the wards and with meetings. Our mealtimes are shared with others – there have been crowds of visitors at the guest house in the last few weeks – and the family needs me in all the other moments. Brian and I have been a tag team, trying to make sure that the girls have care and attention, whilst we try and get our respective projects tied up (*****). I need to stop and find space to breathe, and our relationship needs a bit more time as well.
This is all the challenge of entering a transitional phase. We are bringing things to their closure here, and that means reflecting on what we have done, and what gaps there remain that we had hoped or tried to fill. We struggle with the concept of leaving here where life feels lived so intensely and so fulfilling.
Yet we have committments back in Britain which we can no longer ignore. The result is that, rather than being quite so un-questioningly immersed in the hospital’s routines, a bit of my outsider-observer self has crept back, a nagging, sometimes critical voice.
For example, we had a hospital data quality meeting yesterday. It is a great thing that every month, the hospital key staff stop and review all the data collected , look at anomalies, scrutinise trends. It is very laudible and valuable to collect and to analyse this data set. But the meeting takes ages. Maybe it is having done it ten times now, maybe it is because I am focussed on the time things take, maybe because my brain is moving towards another place. But this time, I found the fact that it went on for so long pretty unbearable. There were 16 people in the room, the meeting took four hours. That’s 64 staff-hours…. a full working week. Surely there must be a more efficient way of completing this task? But who am I to say, as soon, it won’t be my problem. Hmmm….. I really don’t know what to make of these feelings. I know, too, that my current state of mind and my tiredness make me less patient and less tolerant.
Only a week ago, I was in a state of energy and great happiness. Last Sunday, we had a morning getting showered (it takes that long when the hot water needs to be boiled in a kettle), we had a lovely walk in an atmospheric storm, we felt at home amongst the hills and in the nearby valley that have become familiar to us in the past month. We shopped for fabrics, our friends came for tea. A day full of the riches of our life here. And we thought at that time, ‘’how can we ever imagine leaving this place and this community?’’
We probably need a break, and thankfully, this coming week, we will be going on holiday as a family, to explore a bit of Western Uganda further afield than we have ventured so far.