Nele Grapentin

On assignment as a nurse in Uganda

Nele Grapentin (Cap Anamur nurse) on rounds at Kiryandongo Hospital.
Nele Grapentin (Cap Anamur nurse) on rounds at Kiryandongo Hospital.

Name

Nele Grapentin

Age

29 years old

Profession

Nurse

Country of operation

Uganda

Duration of mission

6 months

My everyday life in the project

In the project, you become an all-rounder pretty quickly. In the emergency room (and other wards as needed) at the hospital in Kiryandongo, I was able to support the team with my expertise as a nurse. It was especially important to also work with the national physicians and the nursing team. In addition, there were also some management tasks such as organizing medications for the hospital.
In addition, the hospital has to provide capacities in case of outbreaks or epidemics (such as the current measles epidemic), and has to organize the necessary equipment for isolation wards in cooperation with the responsible health authorities.

Nele Grapentin (Cap Anamur nurse) with waiting people at the registration and examination of refugees
Fact-finding tour to Panyadoli Hills refugee camp, home to 56,000 refugees from South Sudan and Congo - here Nele Grapentin (Cap Anamur nurse) with people waiting to register and examine refugees at Healthcenter 2.

My spare time at the project:

In my free time I read a lot (preferably by Herman Hesse), wrote by myself or listened to music (the music of Aretha Franklin and Sam Smith were my constant companions). I also enjoyed walking and going to the market in Kiryandongo. One can move relatively freely in Uganda and thus get to know the people, country and culture better.

I also enjoyed sitting together with my colleagues. It is nice to exchange ideas, to reflect together on what we have experienced after an exhausting day and also to be able to laugh together.

I particularly appreciated:

The openness, goodwill and gratitude of people towards you.
The laughter of mothers and children and especially the curiosity of children!

Being as a community with Cap Anamur and national colleagues. The solidarity in difficult situations and to know that you are not alone.

Sometimes the silence of Kiryandongo and the chirping of birds. The flora and fauna of Uganda. Everything is beautiful and green, here.

Project visit by Yasmin Hiller (left, Cap Anamur project coordinator) - on the way to Kiryandongo Hospital with Nele Grapentin (center, Cap Anamur nurse) - here talking to a staff member.
Project visit by Yasmin Hiller (left, Cap Anamur project coordinator) - on the way to Kiryandongo Hospital with Nele Grapentin (center, Cap Anamur nurse) - here talking to a staff member.

I especcially missed:

I can’t really say that I missed much, here. Uganda is wonderful, the food is great and I get along well with my colleagues. Of course, I miss my family and friends, but I had frequent contact with home and that was incredibly good for me. In fact, I also miss my home Berlin from time to time. Then I think “longingly” of my favorite cafe or my favorite place.

My plans for the future:

I would love to do more outreach for Cap Anamur and make a much bigger impact. Other than that, I could also see myself doing my Master’s in Public Health.

Nele Grapentin (Cap Anamur nurse) plays with a child in the courtyard of Healthcenter 2.
Nele Grapentin (Cap Anamur nurse) plays with a child in the courtyard of Healthcenter 2.

My best memories of my time on the project:

There are many wonderful memories but what always gets me emotional and makes me realize the reason I’m doing this is when a patient is recovering from a serious illness. Especially when these brave little children get better. You try to do the best you can with the few resources you have. And then to see a little child who has malaria, pneumonia, malnutrition or measles start to laugh again are the most beautiful moments for me.

I am also always moved by the strength of the women. They are the pillar of any family and most of the responsibility lies on their shoulders. I would like to see women in Uganda get more respect and become more aware of their strong voice, and also get the chance to use it. What I take away from my experiences is that gender equality is not a given right and much more needs to be done for women and girls in Africa.

Mitarbeiter-Porträts