Postcard from a week in Uganda

Last week I had a short, intense visit back to Uganda. It was a week of firsts: first occupational therapy congress, first time doing an oral presentation at a congress, first time in Gulu, first time on a boda-boda (I’m sorry mom).

The OTARG congress was very interesting and I learnt alot. Highlights included a talk on OT and politics, another on treatment for kids with neurodevelopmental conditions in Rwanda, and Julius Kamwesigas presentation on his research of the use of mobile phones as assistive technology among stroke patients and their caretakers in Uganda. The results showed that the mobile phone was used as an extension to the body, used for example for structuring routines, enabling communication and participating in activities. It also enabled the caretakers to feel secure. These results reminded me so very much of what I’ve seen among my patients (kids with neurodevelopmental conditions, such as adhd and autism, in Sweden), which is so fascinating.  I would love to read more studies about the use of mobile phones as assistive technology among different patient groups!

After the congress I went to Gulu with my dear friend Ponsiano, the psychologist I met at Mulago mental health ward my first time in Uganda. We arrived late at night with the bus and this is when I had my first boda-boda (motorcycle) ride in Uganda – breaking my promise to my mom to avoid them. However, there really were no cars available and the man who was supposed to pick us had to drive a nun to the hospital. I really can’t argue with his priorities there…


Ponsiano took me to Murchison Falls national park for a lovely lunch, looking at hippos hanging out mostly under water in the Nile. We also hung out with the people he lives with in Gulu: a priest, a seminarian, and a kitten. Even though I should probably have gotten used to it by now, I still get this unreal feeling when eating breakfast with two catholic priests and one priest-student and one of the topics of conversation is breast-feeding in public (they were very upset by the fact that many europeans think that you should cover up or do it in restrooms), and the laughs are loud and many. I also have to mention one of my favourite things about Uganda again: the certainty that there will be some vegetarian food to eat. Everywhere. Always. With beans, and peas, vegetables and stews of amaranthus spinach. Lovely.



The week ended too soon, but on my last day Ponsiano drove me all the way to the airport in his car – lovingly called “the wheelbarrow”. It was an all-day adventure, and a really nice way to get to see more of the road. We gave some maize to some of the baboons sitting on the road by the Nile. I love monkeys and I fear them.


Now I’m back in Sweden. I hope I’ll be able to go back to Uganda again this spring, and hopefully longer than a week. I’m really happy for this week though, thanks to everyone I met <3