Here from our very own, PRC Nurses, Gayle and her recent trip To Uganda.
She had the unique opportunity to share God’s love and perform ultrasounds on pregnant Ugandan women.
Last month I had an extraordinary visit to Uganda. My initial intent was to spend time with my longtime friend, who has served in Uganda with African Renewal Ministries for the past seven years, as well as to help out at Loving Hearts Babies Home which is overseen by arm. Growing up, I believed working in an orphanage in Africa was God’s plan for my life. If this was all I had done during my stay in Africa, I would have felt incredibly blessed.
But it turned out God had much more for me to do. After doing ultrasounds through PRC for fourteen plus years, I had the amazing experience of doing ultrasounds half-way across the world on pregnant Ugandan women!
When Dr. Martin, a local doctor connected to Loving Hearts Babies, learned of my upcoming visit, he asked if I would be willing to do pregnancy ultrasounds at Wentz on a fifteen year old, disused machine from China and to teach his staff how to use the machine. He also asked if PRC knew of a newer ultrasound machine that some – one may be willing to donate. You would have thought they had won the lottery when they found out we would be gifting them with our ultrasound machine, which wasn’t being used because of the recent closure of the Broadway Center. Dr. Martin and the rest of his team had been “praying fervently” for a newer machine for years and he later told me “anything newer than ten years old is like brand new to us!”
The issue then became paying for the shipment of the machine. This was a big obstacle, but within a few weeks, all the funding came in locally. And that says a lot. I have been there and have seen firsthand the extreme poverty most Ugandans live in; to be able to raise over $4,000 locally can only be explained as miraculous!
My “first day on the job” at Wentz Medical Center was incredible. What stood out to me was the sincerity of the staff and their love for Christ and for their patients; the simplicity of the care they provided was given with such tenderness.
I had the privilege of performing ultrasounds on about eight women that day and several more on a following day. Some woman came who were not necessarily happy about being pregnant. While abortion is not legal in Uganda, illegal abortions are common. There are so many sad stories. Many babies are abandoned following birth. What a joy seeing frowns change to smiles and even giggles as women saw their baby squirming about and little hearts beating on the ultrasound screen.
One day, I had the great adventure of being escorted via a wooden fishing boat across a lake to a village, accompanied by the Wentz ultrasound machine. The journey there and the whole visit was a definite highlight of my trip. While there, I performed twenty-seven ultrasounds back-to-back on pregnant village women! I scanned women who had never seen an ultrasound before.
Another day, I had the privilege to tour a government-run hospital in Kampala. Oh my, we have so much to be thankful for here in the usa. Women who had literally just given birth were lining the hallway, lying on the hard linoleum floor, holding their newborn babies. These women have just six hours following birth before they are discharged and sent on their way to fend for themselves. Eighty babies are born each day and nearly half are premature. The hospital did have a NICU, but even there two to four babies had to share one incubator.
Dr. Martin told me that many of these babies will be abandoned by their mothers once they leave the hospital. He said “the kind ones” will leave their baby at the hospital, at a church or police station. But many will be left on the road, in a plastic bag, a box, a trashcan, or a pit latrine. He went on to say that the ultrasound machine PRC has donated to Wentz Medical Center will “revolutionize our practice and I believe we will see many more babies allowed to live.”
-PRC Ultrasound Nurse, Gayle Everhart, RN