National Geographic : 1980 Jul
the other elders in the old Baganda way. Then we were assaulted with questions. "What happened? You were so late! We thought you might be hurt or that the ba kombozi [liberators] had stopped you!" Bishop Theodoros Nankyama, who had made arrangements for us, stepped in. "Quickly! It's already 8:30. Let's unload and get you to your rooms at the university before the kondos come out." At last, in our small campus flat at nearby Makerere University, we collapsed into bed. About 3 a.m. strange sounds tore me from heavy sleep-a woman's screams, the gruff shouts of men, machine-gun fire. Fi nally, silence again. I wondered what I would find at the hospital in the morning. Horrors in a House of Healing "Guard your nose," Dr. Adam Kimala cautioned as we inspected the wards of Kampala's Mulago Hospital. Once one of Africa's finest-largely funded by the Brit ish as an independence gift in 1962-it had deteriorated appallingly under Amin. The emergency ward was a disaster: sixty beds, most without mattresses and sheets, for a hundred bloody, dirty patients. One doctor and three nurses were on duty. Patients were everywhere, lined up for clinics, sleeping on the floor. A putrid smell from the lavatory raked my nostrils. "We haven't had running water regularly since Amin's middle years," Dr. Kimala ex plained. "And soap is rarely available." "No penicillin," a passing nurse sighed. "And yesterday no blood for surgery," Dr. Kimala added. "Today a little is available. But no tetanus toxoid. My God, we've lost dozens to tetanus alone." He put his hand on my arm. "Did you hear the shooting last night around three?" He nodded toward a young girl on one of the beds, a doll clutched in one hand, her arm and chest bandaged, her leg in traction. "Men in uniform came to her house and killed her mother and brother last night. We've lived with violence a long time. But children? Who can shoot children?" A nurse came up, her face tired, drawn. "Doctor-down the hall-that young boy-a cardiac arrest. ... "