“For me, my goal is to provide medical services to others” Emily remarks, with her eyes scanning the hospital grounds that surround her. Emily studies midwifery and is currently finishing her first year at Lacor Hospital Nursing School. She has thought about transferring into a nursing program, as the midwifery program at Lacor is quite young, but one thing is certain: Emily wants to improve the health of those around her. “For me, all along I was depending on others, after five years from now I should be helping others, especially at St. Jude. They did so much for me. I should help them, find a way to help them in return.”
Emily has been studying to practice medicine for some time. Like Gloria, Emily attended St. Mary’s Aboke for secondary school where she spent her A level (last two years of secondary school) specializing in biology and chemistry. She especially enjoyed chemistry from S2-S6 and often rose to the top of the class. Her favorite was organic chemistry. She also enjoyed biology “because [it] concerned our bodies… [it is] real, on the ground” in a way that she feels other subjects are not. The immediacy of biology fueled her passion for the subject, and her presence at Lacor stands testament to this.
Emily has a long history with St. Jude since she joined when she was only in nursery school. Spending most of her earliest years at St. Jude, she identifies heavily with the Home as the source of her success. As part of St. Jude’s resettlement program - where St. Jude attempts, when possible, to reunite children staying at the Home with their extended family - Emily returned to her grandfather’s care when she was in P5, around 2003. Many children entered St. Jude as a result of their families being separated during the war. By 2003, her grandfather was able to take care of her again. Reunification, however, does not mean that the connection to St. Jude also disappears. St. Jude, through an international donor, continued to pay for her secondary fees at St. Mary’s Aboke. The project, however, only supported students during their tenure at secondary school and not any further. This is where Rationale stepped in.
(“Let us learn to transform our society” - Sign at St. Mary’s Aboke)
Emily hopes to work in a hospital after she completes her studies. Studying at Lacor provides her with the opportunity to develop medical skills through hands-on training. Students keep a record of the work that they do in the ward, counting for up to 30% of their total grade. They may take the histories of patients, prep the patient for the nurse or doctor, or provide other forms of support for the hospital. They also have a demonstration room where exercises place students right in the middle of medical practice.
When asked about her plans for a family she offers a small laugh. “I will not be ready for a family in five years… I think maybe in ten years I will be married with a family, still working in a hospital.” She adds, “I should also be able to respond to you. There is no way I can forget about the sacrifice you in America did for me to support my studies. If there is anything I can do for you, I would want to be settled and able to help you by this time.”
Emily is not just a prolific student; she also likes to have fun. She was the leader of the Acholi traditional dance group at St. Mary’s Aboke and was recognized as one of the very best dancers at the school. She also enjoys drumming and often goes to the homes in her village to teach traditional drumming to the community. Her favorite style of music is contemporary hip-hop and she names Brandy, Rhianna, Ne-Yo, and Eminem - especially “I’m not Afraid” - as some of her favorites.
Emily is very social and isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She says she looks forward to being a part of Rationale’s scholarship program because many other programs “just collect names” without building “that better relationship” that she has always hoped for. “It is important that those in the US get to know me,” she insists, increasingly resolute in her words. She is surprised when I tell her about our car wash fundraiser happening next weekend. “You mean the Americans, you, will be the ones washing the cars?” After I assure her that this is the case, she smiles. “That sacrifice is so good.”
We’re incredibly happy to have Emily be a part of the project, and look forward to her future as a medical professional!