Revolutionizing Spine Care…Changing Lives

Uganda Spine Surgery Mission 2016 Team One: Day 6&7

After a relatively productive week, Team One took the opportunity to relax a little over the weekend and have some fun.

Michelle was kind enough to lead all of us through a yoga/pilates class on the front lawn both Saturday and Sunday, and luckily no one was attacked by any Marabou storks. These garish-looking birds have up to a 12-foot wingspan and are plentiful around the hotel grounds. They are scavengers and have a proclivity for eaten human garbage (including whole shoes and pieces of metal). They will allegedly attack if you play dead.


One of the many not-so-majestic Marabou storks that lurch around the front of the hotel.

Drs. Leiberman and Hisey rounded with myself, Stanley and Michelle Saturday morning, when we discharged our first few patients of this year’s trip (somewhat of a milestone for us). The rest of the group shopped for groceries at a nearby market place, where they discovered a number of interesting food items, including a Nile perch that one gentleman was butchering. The steaks were enormous.


Nile perch steaks.



A little more familiar to us: whole roasted tilapia – which we eat on an almost daily basis.



These children at the market approached Sherri to ask if she was a fairy; I’m not entirely sure I know the answer myself.

After morning rounds, several of us lounged by the pool for a number of hours. Brian even made some guacamole by the poolside. Later we took a team trip to one of the nicer establishments in the nearby area for dinner – the Igongo Hotel, where we were treated to some lovely barbeque (and yes, some whole tilapia as well). A young couple happened to be holding a wedding ceremony at the hotel that night, and we even danced with a few of them. One of the attendees liked Sherri so much that she even helped herself to Sherri’s cocktail.

Dennis (our driver for the evening): “She is not alone.”

  • A colloquialism used to describe an individual who is particularly inebriated.




I can finally cross wedding crashing in Africa off my bucket list.



The team relaxing at Igongo.

On Sunday, we rounded again, discharging several more patients before heading off to a lovely church service with Stanley.



Drs. Leiberman and Hisey reviewing the CT of one of our scoliosis patients on Sunday rounds. Note the matching reading glasses.



Michelle bonding with one of our pediatric scoliosis patients. The kids seem to love her. She is the one with the lollipop bag, after all.


Stanley’s church, where we attended a beautiful morning service.


In our Sunday best.



While some of us went to church with Stanley, Dr Hisey attended his own “church” – which means, of course, that he went to play soccer. He bought a soccer ball at the local grocery and had fun with some of the youngsters at a nearby soccer field.

After church, we made a trek out to lake Mburo national park, where we took a little safari, spotting zebras, giraffes, impala and other wildlife. We even took a boat tour of the lake, where a large number of hippos and crocs dwell.


Spine Team One looking good in our safety gear on the hippo pontoon tour at Lake Mburo.

We returned home from the lake just in time to see another large, white bus pulling into the driveway. Dr. Holman, Jordan, Alvina and Johann were on board with many more supplies and a fresh look about them. Fresh meat had arrived! We greeted them and helped them unload before dinner.

Johann had one of the best lessons that day:

Johann: “I though Mbarara was close to the airport.”

Quote of the day:

Michelle: “You can never go wrong doing what’s right.”


Sunset view one the hippo boat tour.

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