So this week I got the chance to go with some of the staff that I work with to the northern most part of Kayunga District. I went to visit the two health centers located in Garyrya (pronounced GAL – LEE – LIA), which is a predominately fishing community located on Lake Kyoga. Lake Kyoga is a seemingly pristine lake that not only is filled by a Nile tributary, but also takes up the mammoth horizon off the shores of Garyrya.
Fishing communities are interesting to me because the lake influences their culture. There are two shifts of fisherman that go out in the early morning and evening. Most of the fish go to the bottom of the lake during the day because it gets so hot. Though I haven’t spoken of how hot Kayunga Town and my village is – let me tell you it is the hottest place I have ever lived let alone even visited. An average day here during dry season is 85 to 90 degrees and Garyrya is even hotter. People who live in the fishing communities are very hard working and from an early age start working on the water. Fishing villages are also some of the most underdeveloped and most impoverished in Uganda. Garyrya is no exception. At this point in the dry season all their rainwater tanks have filled and the community is too underdeveloped to have piped water so they rely on the water of the lake. Garyrya also has the highest HIV/AIDS infection rate in Kayunga District – around 11%, which is astronomically high. My work has been doing routine counseling and testing as well as prevention outreaches with HIV positive children and adults weekly for years. I am hoping to have more opportunities to go back to Garyrya with the Male Medical Circumcision Van as well as working with the midwife Helen, who is also a registered nurse, to do work with the pregnant mothers of Garyrya.