I had a restful night that was only slightly disturbed by the 5am prayer call from the local mosque… Richard, Katja and myself grabbed breakfast at our hotel and chatted about the plans for the day. The first challenge of the day was negotiating the traffic on our way over to meet with Cerdic Hall (from the Butabika-East London Link) in the Wellbeing Hall at the Mulago campus of Makerere University. Cerdic has been visiting Uganda over the last 2 weeks. Cerdic and I spent the morning co-facilitating a contextual behavioural workshop with staff from Butabika Hospital. Our session was intended as a follow-up from an introductory session that Cerdic did with the staff about 10 days ago. As I learned during my first visit to Butabika hospital last August, the staff at Butabika are doing an incredible job under a great deal of pressure.
In addition to his support for the staff at Butabika, Cerdic has been very involved in supporting the Heartsounds project – which focuses on supporting people with a lived experience of mental health difficulties to be involved as peer support workers. Cerdic recently completed a chapter on this project for the textbook that we are editing on Global Mental Health. It was great to catch up with him and to co-facilitate the session for the Butabika staff.
We immediately got on the road north to Lira. We left Kampala at 12.45pm before arriving in Lira at 6.00pm. Despite initial good progress, the pace of travel slowed somewhat the further north that we went. This was due to major road works taking place. Julius our drive did a great job of negotiating pot-holes and the various lane closures. Rosco, Richard, Katja and myself spent the time chatting about a variety of topics including intercultural communication, transgenerational trauma and of course the research project that we are undertaking in Lira. As rural Uganda streamed by our windows and the red earth lining the road stretched out in front of us, we also practiced some Lango words. Lango is the language spoken by people living in the Lira district. Importat words that picked up were – ‘to think’ (Tamo, paro) and ‘emotions’ (cuny atingere). There was also some time for dozing during the trip. The highlight of the journey was seeing the mighty Karuma river. We also got to see a troop of baboons nonchalantly sitting by the road side, grooming each other. We received a warm welcome at the Pauline Hotel where we will be based for the duration of the research project. It has been a busy 2 days of travelling. Sleep is calling.