MAIN PHOTO: Part of the Kisiizi Falls monument depicts the transformation brought by the Church of Uganda hospital. Many more mothers and babies had the chance of a healthy start.
Ann Moore has been working as a nurse at Kisiizi Hospital, Uganda, since 1996, splitting her time between the special care baby unit and the school of nursing. She is now retiring from CMS and on a recent visit to the office spoke to us about the people and relationships that shaped her time at Kisiizi – and about the privilege of seeing the whole story.
It’s been such a privilege being part of the lives of people at Kisiizi. One of the most interesting and moving things about my work over the past 23 years is that I have seen people grow up who were in a quite a bad way as babies and young children, and they are often now working or training as nurses as well as doing other interesting things.
One little boy, we’ll call him Derek, was on the children’s ward when he was about 18 months old. His mother had died and his father just couldn’t really look after him. It left Derek fairly emotionally deprived. However, one of the couples in the hospital said “Well we’ll look after him.” So, they did and got some support through our orphan support scheme. Fast forward two decades to Derek becoming an adult: he wanted to give something back and decided to train to become a nurse and has recently qualified.
Then there is Joseph. His mother’s wedding was the first one I attended in Kisiizi so that goes back a long time. Joseph was a premature baby and he was a little bit sick but I’ve seen him grow up and he’s now a student nurse in the Kisiizi school of nursing.
There was also Paul, who is now working in the tourism industry. I first met Paul when he was eight after he came in following an unfortunate accident. He was with his friends and they wanted to see if trousers would burn and Paul had petrol on his trousers… you can imagine what happened next. I remember him being so sick with dreadful burns and we took him outside after some time and he looked around as if he’d forgotten the rest of the world existed.
So, I have seen the whole thread, almost like a patchwork quilt of the good and the bad, together forming a rich fabric of life. One particular family have got three beautiful little girls but the little girls are more beautiful because I know what went on before. The parents had two children previously that died and the husband was married to a previous wife who had also died. And so, to share in the joy of the new wife and these new children was really special.
I think being there for so long, you get to see the whole story. Another child I remember was called into the outpatient department after being burnt and they couldn’t get a cannula into him. We couldn’t either and as we were taking him to theatre for the procedure, he stopped breathing and we had to resuscitate him twice. And for the next three months we saw this poor child really suffering. However, he eventually he got better and went home. It was more exciting though when his grandmother came with another child and told us how well this little boy was doing. I think that I only saw the final chapter written because I had stayed on at Kisiizi.
And so as I prepare to retire, I feel that my legacy will be one of deep compassion for children, and that Kisiizi is now in a better place because of all the things we initiated.
Mission is, for me, that wherever you are, Jesus is the driving force behind everything.