National Geographic : 1980 Jul
"Resuscitation gear!" Dr. Kimala cried. We hurried past the boy's mother. "Please, he's my last son," she pleaded. "Let's not lose him," Dr. Kimala said. SsFor ten minutes we worked on the boy. Then, just when all hope seemed lost, his young heart leaped into life under my hands. Later Dr. Kimala said, "It's not just that war is hell, but that the fires of this hell last so long after the guns are silenced." He looked at me imploringly. "Our gov ernment asks the outside world for two bil lion dollars to help us through this terrible time. But other nations look for some sign of stability here before they are willing to help. Yet how can we have stability without assis tance? Must we ask the dying to wait until help arrives? "Our staff can barely afford to work here. The government salary for doctors is only about 3,000 shillings a month. That's about $400 U. S. But eggs cost nearly ten dollars a dozen. Soap is a dollar a bar. Magendo-the black market-is everywhere. Everybody tries to find the money to survive. If a patient wants to go from emergency to X ray, he has HIS WAS NOT THE UGANDA I remembered. We didn't see many smiles in the capital,Kampala. Amin was gone, yes, but the Tanzanian bakombozi-liberators remained (above), an army in our midst. With foreign troops in our streets, armed gangs everywhere, bandits terrorizingthe night, and frequent government shake-ups, it was hard to tell who was in control,if anyone. People were more worried aboutsimple survival at a time when necessities sold at luxury prices on the flourishing magendo, the black market. Kampala residents (left) waited to turn in old money for new-without Amin's picture. But the new currency was hardly more stable than the old. After dusk people stayed behind locked doors with weapons ready in case of attack by the kondos, marauders, who murderand pillage after dark. We hired Tiko (right) to guard our apartmentdoor at night. But would a bow and arrow stand up againsta submachinegun? Tiko said, if he shot first, it would.