Our Volunteers: Edith and Lawrence volunteering in Uganda

Archdiocese of Tororo

The Catholic Archdiocese of Tororo oversees a large area in Eastern Uganda, including border regions with Kenya and Tanzania. The Archdiocese manages many education and health services over the Eastern region which often have inadequate government services available to them, particularly for rural communities.

A family seeks treatment at St Anthony's hospital
Tororo Archdiocese placed a request with Palms Australia for a volunteer accountant to work with their finance staff to improve its financial systems to ensure they are best able to serve the people of Eastern Uganda.

St Anthony’s Hospital

St Anthony’s Hospital is one of the many services of the Archdiocese. It is a large hospital which fills an essential role in Uganda’s health system. St Anthony’s takes referrals from Mbale, Buseia, Iganga and even across the border in Kenya, from government hospitals which are either not as capable of providing certain services or are unwilling if the patient cannot afford treatment.

At present, St Anthony’s does what it can for the people of Tororo, but placed a request with Palms Australia to send a doctor who would assist improve the services available to its many patients.

Edith and Lawrence

Edith and Lawrence, from Sydney, have volunteered to work for Tororo.

Edith has six years experience as an accountant, including in a senior role with a major pharmaceutical company. She has overseen a broad range of financial issues and has mentored junior staff members.

Lawrence is a qualified doctor with experience in many areas relevant to St Anthony’s Tororo, including Obstetrics, Palliative care, Cardiology, Paediatrics and Emergency.

Both Edith and Lawrence are actively involved in their local communities and are committed to contributing to social justice in the world. They were first engaged with Palms, in Palms’ Encounter: Timor-Leste in 2010.

Palms Australia, the Archdiocese of Tororo and St Anthony’s Hospital believe they are very well suited to the positions; however, Palms Australia needs your assistance to cover the costs associated with sending and supporting Edith and Lawrence. Please use the donation link on the right hand side of this web-page to contribute.

Returning home

May 14, 2013

Re-entry groupLawrence and I had been home from Uganda for well over 6 months and had thrown ourselves back into work and study. We relished in the luxury of regular running water, hot showers and sleeping without having to hide in our mosquito nets, but I didn’t think we experienced major culture shock from coming home. When we were invited to the re-entry weekend, I wasn’t sure who was going to be there or what to expect; but remembering the usefulness of the orientation week, I decided to trust in the ‘Palms process’.

Over the course of two and a half days, as we had the chance to hear the other returned volunteers’ stories, I felt humbled by John’s achievements, inspired by Kathy’s resilience, empathy with Carmel missing those she left behind and intrigued as I listened to some of my own experiences told through Lawrence’s eyes. As Sister Marlene guided us through our reflections, I realised that in the rush to settle back into every day life, I had boxed up and put aside my Ugandan experience.

It was refreshing to bring out the photos and share these again, and also cathartic to vent, discuss, and ponder issues that the others in the group had also gone through. I found that I was sometimes hesitant to fully explore some of the local issues we encountered with family and friends, for fear of causing misunderstanding. However, with the other returned volunteers, there was a safe and responsive group where we were able to have these discussions about our experiences.

As we wrapped up the weekend, I realised that I had been given a rare chance to relive and reflect on my time in Uganda during the re-entry weekend – I did not expect to get as much out of it as I did. Thank you to the Australian Bishop’s Conference for supporting this weekend, I hope others might also take up this opportunity when they return, even if they don’t think they need it!

Edith and Lawrence Chan volunteered in Uganda with Palms Australia in 2012.

Sometimes it’s just about saving lives

March 2, 2012

The boy looked a lot better today, albeit still with some pallor and severe malaria, but I think he will continue to improve. I remembered thinking yesterday that this one success of saving that child’s life would make my trip here all worthwhile.

Click here to read the full article

Orientation Course #92

August 29, 2011

There is something very rewarding about watching such a group interact, sharing their own expertise while working through Palms’ cross-cultural program, refined over 50 years.

Click here to read the full article

More articles

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Population: 32,369,558

Area: 241,038 sq. km.

Median Age: 15

Literacy: 66.8 %

Languages: English, Luganda, various Niger-Congo and Nilo-Saharan languages, Swahili, Arabic

Uganda is a geographically and culturally diverse nation. The South Eastern part of the country is dominated by Lake Victoria, which flows into the White Nile before it winds through Sudan and Egypt. Other large lakes are located in the West and centre of the country. In the 1970s, Uganda was famous for human rights […]

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Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do. - Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe