Being awoken at 5:04am by a text from my counterpart, Dr. Nelson, is not how I intended the morning to begin. We agreed as we were leaving the office at dusk the previous evening that he would pick me up at 5:30am for our day trip to the far east districts of Tororo and Manafwa. I had set my alarm that night thinking we agreed on 5:30am, so there is no way we leave any earlier than 6:00am, but I’ll be prepared for 5:45am only because I get anxious if I’m not early. So I set my alarm to get up at 5:15am in order to be early and prepared at 5:45am for our scheduled 5:30am departure.
The text at 5:04am said “Are you awake? It is 5am.” To which I replied before getting out of bed, “Good morning. I’m awake and nearly dressed.” After throwing some water on my face to get the blood flowing and beginning the teeth brushing portion of the morning routine I glanced back down at my phone to see that he immediately responded, “In the next 25 minutes we should be at your place.” I had to give my head a shake while brushing my teeth to figure out if this was just another anxiety dream or if I was actually running late for something here in Uganda. I went back over our conversation as we were leaving work the night before in my head, ran the numbers to see where I had made an error, and continually I kept coming to the same conclusion. I should be sitting around aimlessly for at least 15 minutes this morning and not rushing out the door.
Lesson learned. Dr. Nelson is always on time and therefor I need to start getting back in that habit when I’m working with him.
Our early morning, on time departure was to ensure that we had enough time to meet with the District Health Officer in both Tororo and Manafwa, which are near the Kenyan border. Meeting with district level government is part of the process to receive access to the district before program implementation. These meetings are less than a pitch, but more of an informational discussion with the key players. If all goes well, hands shake and an MoU is signed by my organization and the district stakeholder commencing programmatic implementation.