UPMC Employee Recounts Life Changing Visits to Uganda

By: Kay Rahuba, N.P.

Kay Rahuba is a nurse practitioner and program director of re:solve Crisis Network, part of Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC).  Rahuba has gone on four trips with Uganda Christian Solutions, a faith-based organization that works to provide medical care, clean water and other services in the east African country.  She came back from her most recent trip at the end of March; on this visit, Rahuba went to Uganda with four other UPMC employees.

When I was young and dreaming of all the things I wanted to do when I grew up, I can honestly say mission work never made the list. Not in Pittsburgh and certainly not halfway around the world. Yet, in 2003 I found myself in Uganda on a mission team wondering what I was doing there and chastising myself for glibly saying “sure” when my friend said, “You should come.”

That trip changed my life.

I just returned from my fourth trip to Uganda at the end of March. I led a 21-member team on a three-week mission to provide free medical care, Christian education, and children’s ministries throughout the country. Our team conducted eight medical clinics providing free medical care to more than 2,700 people. Our trip was sponsored by Uganda Christian Solutions (UCS), a faith-based non-profit founded by my friend and former UPMC nurse, Nancy Denardo.

I believe my mission work in Uganda has changed me. I have learned some valuable lessons by which I now try to carry out in my life and also my work at WPIC.  I now realize that no matter how little I think I have, I have far more than the majority of people in the world. I have been offered such selfless generosity by people who have so little that I was embarrassed. I have been overwhelmed by the humility, graciousness and gentleness of people who have little reason to feel this way. I have learned it is not all about me through encountering people who care far more about others than themselves. I learned that success has nothing to do with “stuff,” it is about being in relationship with others. And I like to think I am less judgmental and a little gentler with those I encounter in my daily life and in my work at re:solve Crisis Network. As a result, I don’t see people the same way anymore. I now look at people and think, “God put that person in my path for a reason. What do I need to do to help?”
Uganda has been good for my soul.