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

Occupational gaps in Ugandan general population – my bachelors thesis

So, I am officially finished with my bachelor’s thesis! Today I did the final modifications and sent it in, and so it’s time to publish it here. It’s about occupational gaps – the difference between what you want to do and what you actually do. I wrote a basic introduction to the concepts, in Swedish, here.

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 12.30.52Click here to download the report as PDF!

The data collection was made in different parts of the country – in a marketplace, a church, at the beach, at a shopping mall and in a university area. 


First: thanks to each and every one who filled out the questionnaire. The Ugandan general population were so much friendlier and willing to help than I could ever imagine – altthough I have been here before. Webale nyo! Webale muno! Apwoyo matek!

Thanks to Johanna Dalunde Eriksson for company during data collection, for books, klumpen, and your encouraging faith in me, and Mats Utbult for pens, printing and company to Lira. Thanks to Nils Bryntesson for delivery of headphone cable and other life necessities. Thanks to Liv Thalén for SPSS and statistics assistance, and to Ellen Kendall for proofreading. TACK.

Apwoyo matek to Ponsiano Okalo for generous hospitality (thrice) and amazing help with data collection.

Webale nyo nyo nyo to Zarie, Zakia, Gertrude, Dennis and Hatim, my caretakers and friends at Kathy Gardens. Thank you for letting me go with the internet on my excursions, for all the carrying of jerrycans, for food and data collection help and everything else.

Thanks also to Mandana Fallahpour for supervision and my peers in the supervision group for support and good discussions. Thanks to Susanne Guidetti for connecting me with Gunilla and Julius, Gunilla Eriksson for OGQ and help, Andreas Montelius for statistics help, and Julius Tunga Kamwesiga for help with application for ethical approval. Tack, webale nyo!

Examensarbete: vecka 9

Sista veckan i Uganda. En väldigt fin och en väldigt jobbig vecka.
Lira <3

Lira <3

Måndag: Arbetade helt sjuuuukt flitigt med utkastet som skulle in på tisdagkväll. Fick massor gjort.

Tisdag: Insåg att utkastet skulle in på måndagkväll, inte tisdagkväll. Panikgjorde klart och skickade in.

Onsdag: Läste de andra tre grupperna i handledningsgruppens utkast och kom med kommentarer. Omarbetade mitt arbete lite utefter deras kommentarer.

Torsdag: Väntade hela dagen på min handledares kommentarer. Fick hennes kommentarer/ändringar för halva arbetet (inledning, bakgrund, metod) på kvällen. 191 kommentarer, skitmycket bakläxa – och hon har inte ens läst resultat och diskussion än. Jag blev grymt nedslagen och väldigt stressad. Och imorgon ska jag åka till Sverige, det är inte heller bra för humöret.

Fredag: Har ägnat dagen åt att kolla igenom handledarens ytterligare ändringar och kommentarer, och godkänna/fixa det som går snabbt. Har ett trettiotal större saker kvar att göra – nya stycken att skriva, definitioner att fixa, referenser att hitta, osv. Inatt ska jag åka flygplan 14 timmar, jag hoppas att jag kan få en del gjort då (jag brukar inte kunna sova på flygplan, sömnen är sällan min vän).

Framöver: Arbetet ska in på på torsdag morgon. Det blir ba till att skärpa mig fram tills dess. Tur att jag köpt fyra kilo kaffebönor från Mbale.