Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Trying to come back from Uganda

So this is not the post that I had expected to write when I first sat here after getting back from this visit to Uganda. But this is the post that needs to be written first. Mostly because someday (10 years from now? Maybe longer.) I hope to look back and be able to laugh at this trip. But that day is not now.
Waiting in the truck with the kids
Monday morning in Gulu. I'm up a 5am because I want to get a quick run in, finish packing, clean up the guest house and still have a bit of time with my niece and nephew before we need to head to the tiny Gulu airstrip at 8am. 
At least I got plenty of extra time sitting in the car with them playing cards while we waited for the MAF plane that was nearly two hours late. 
Finally the 8 seater prop plane landed in Gulu, unloaded a few people, loaded me and my regulation 25 pound bag and we're off. But this is a shuttle plane. It has two other stops futher north before we can head to upcountry to where I'll catch my international flights home later in the evening.  
Trying to show the mud and potholes
The first tiny dirt runway that we need to drop an aid worker off at looks very muddy and full of ruts and mud puddles from the air. We buzz it again at a lower elevation and it doesn't look any better. But on the third pass the pilot goes for it and somehow managed to keep us upright and not slide off the end into the brush. Thought that landing was not for the faint of heart or weak of faith getting back off the ground proved easier. Until we got to our third stop. Picking up three physicians from the very remote Kalongo hospital in Acholi. Getting onto the ground there was the easy part. As we buzzed the run way to clear the cattle off, hundreds (not exaggerating) of children ran to the airstrip to watch this event that only happens a few times a year.  
Too many hours in this tiny tin can
As we prepared for take-off the pilot chased the kids away from the plane and began to taxi.  But the kids quickly crowded back onto the airfield to watch what was going to happen. So he slowed back down, rolled to the far end and tried coming back at it from the other way. But there were children crowding onto to the airstrip from one end to the other, all trying to see what was going on. He didn't have a clear runway.  So the plane was shut down, and he got out and tried chasing them all away again.  But by now they thought it was a hilarious game and just keep crowding closer and closer and it was obvious that it just wasn't going to fly. Literally or figuratively. One of the passengers called up to the hospital and they send down and ambulance and several men with whips who finally "convinced" the children to stay back while the plane took off. But the whole mess took an hour or more. Finally on our way to Kampala across practically the whole length of the country north to south.
Even though my plane was hours late landing in Kampla the driver was ready and waiting for me. He drove me the two hours (stupid Kampla traffic!) to Entebbe. 
This isn't even when all the actual adventure started. The car hire dropped me at a restaurant to fill the little remaining time before I needed to head to the airport (btw uganda friends, Faze 3 has a free shuttle). At 9:30 pm I arrived to the KLM gate to check in. Cleared immigration, then security. At 10:30 the plane arrived at the gate.  At 1130 they announced a delay but at midnight we began boarding. Unfortunately, what felt like moments after everyone was on, we had to collect our stuff and get back off. It was explained that when the plane put down in Kigali the landing gear broke. It got worse when they landed in Entebbe and now the maintenance staff was unable to repair sufficiently to land in Amsterdam. They had a few other things they wanted to try but we had to disembark before they could try further repairs. Back to the waiting room. At 2am the announcement came over that the plane would not be fixed tonight. 
Luggage loaded into bus windows
Passport check lines, AGAIN.
We would be assisted to hotels to wait. But we had to go back through immigration and have our passports unstamped.  Then go to baggage claim and wait for our stuff to come back off the carousel. Then we were herded out to three waiting buses that were obviously not large enough for all of us and all of our luggage. I believe it was past 3am before I got to a hotel where there was one receptionist trying to check all of us in. While in line we were all discussing if we thought we would need to return to the airport in the morning?  Would there be a return shuttle?  How would we receive communication from KLM?  At this point we had heard nothing more and weren't sure what to think. I finally got a room, had a quick shower and set my alarm for 7am.  Upon getting up I found signs in the lobby and confirmed with others from the flight that we were expected back at the airport at 8pm and were planning to depart right after the regularly scheduled KLM midnight flight. So we now had 13 hours of waiting….
It felt strange to be stranded in Entebbe all by myself but I had not had hardly any down time the whole trip to it was a nice opportunity to have some quiet time to pray and journal and just sit quietly. It was actually very cool and rainy all that day. I was feeling pretty exhausted but blamed it on our terrible night and the very full previous day.

Around 7pm most of the passengers started regathering in the lobby to head back to the airport. We knew the shuttles would take a while and our directions said check-in at 8pm. Well, at 8pm at the airport it quickly became obvious that the airport staff had no idea what to do with us. Entebbe airport is international but still tiny. Their regular flights were still going out and we were told to “queue up!” over and over again but the room was packed, 100+ degrees and there was really no where for us to go. We all stood around until at least 10:30 pm when they finally started checking us in.  At this point, I was feeling nauseated and dizzy but thought it had to do with standing for hours without anything to drink or eat. Finally checking in.  Back through passport control. Back through security. As soon as the other midnight KLM flight left they directed us back into that waiting room that we had spent most of the previous night in. It has a bathroom and plastic chairs but nothing else. Then we sat. And sat. At around 1am people started demanding an update. We were told "technical difficulties". 2am an airport staffer came out and explained that the part they thought they needed came on the 10pm incoming arrival from Amsterdam and had been installed but wasn’t ready to go yet.  It was also about this time that it became rather obvious to me that I had malaria. I’ve been around this block before and when the joint aches, nausea, and stabbing head pain all merged at the same time all I could do was pray. I was laying on the ground trying to not vomit on myself or anyone around me. The bathroom is still a third world bathroom and not somewhere I wanted to hang out. At 3 am still no sign of boarding. And no more info was forthcoming.  
Mob forming
People were getting beyond restless and angry. This is a huge international flight. We were not allowed to leave this waiting area. We had all been at the airport since 8pm today and also 12 hours the previous night. Around 4am an actual mob started to form. I was WhatsApping with my brother Nick at the time when people started yelling, grabbing the security guards that were blocking the door, and demanding water, information, to be allowed to leave. Within minutes military police started crowding into the room with their large rifles and military gear.  They started yelling to us that this flight was completely canceled, we had to leave. To find different ways home. There are probably 10 flights a day that leave this airport, only about 5 that go to places that would have connecting flights (Like the flight to Juba or Mogadishu are useless to us).  That is 700+ people, learning at 4am that they need to get a flight to Nairobi or Addis Ababa or Cairo in order to get another flight into the developed world. There are not words to describe the feeling in the room at that moment. The military police presence was actually necessary.
Personally, at this point I was barely hanging on. My fever was higher that it had ever been. I couldn’t think. We were being directed back through immigration, security and baggage one more time. Back out to the parking lot for buses. One might think that as this is the second time this has needed to happen in two days that it might even be smoother the second time around.  They would be wrong.  This time it was nearly 6am. The busses that were free the day before at 3am now had other work to do. We had seen no KLM representatives since they checked us in a 11pm the night before so they were not making arrangements. The upside was the hotels were ready to have us back. They had almost finished cleaning all our rooms when they began to check us back into them.
At this point I had a major dilemma. I knew I needed a malaria test and treatment. I needed hydration and fever control. I also had not slept more than three uninterrupted hours since Sunday night and it was now 7am Tuesday morning. I set an alarm to wake up in a few hours to get a boda ride out to a pharmacy and get malaria test and treatment. For better or worse it was good that I didn’t sleep too many hours Tuesday morning because when I work up at 10 I had a message from KLM that I could be on the early afternoon flight to Johannesburg if I wanted it.  I managed to connect with their service representative to arrange the additional connections from South Africa, back to the US, Atlanta, then on to Detroit.  That seemed like it was all going to work. Now to deal with this fever, headache and incessant nausea. 
Boda to pharmacy
I dragged my achy, feverish body out to the road and onto a motorcycle.  At least the pharmacy was near. Got the malaria testing kits, which are supposed to take 20 minutes to read and I had a positive within 5 and got a course of treatment. 
Positive for malaria
I rushed back to the hotel, tried to eat something with my first does of Artequin and promptly threw up.  I wasn’t even really keeping down fluids which meant I was now 12 hours since last being appropriately hydrated. But it was noon so I had to check out of the hotel and head back to the airport. Getting more than a little sick of that place.  Back through security for what felt like the 100th time.  The SA flight  agents were confused when they pulled up my flight information but I managed to explain the whole situation to them. Then the immigration officer wanted to know why my passport had been stamped and cancelled so many times. He held me for nearly 20 minutes while he waited for his superior.  They had a conversation in Lugandan which I obviously didn’t follow but was finally allowed through.
Hit a personal rather low point while waiting for the gate which was not yet boarding my flight. I hurt so badly that I had to lay back down on the floor.  My chills had reached the point that my teeth were chattering and I couldn’t stop shivering.  I had friends in Uganda encouraging me to stay and get further treatment. It was not necessarily bad advice but none of them were all that near to Entebbe.   Which meant if I stayed that I had to cancel all the flight arrangements I’d made,  figure out how to get my checked bag back, have ANOTHER conversation with passport control, find a driver to get me to a guest house but by  now I was out of shillings which meant I also needed an ATM. And all because of my Ugandan sim card situation I could only use my phone when there was wifi which is surprisingly limited in most places in Uganda.   It wasn’t a bad suggestion, but it just seemed impossible to manage by myself. I needed the path of least resistance and as I was on the floor in front of the gate to board the SA flight that was it. Amazingly that flight was announced on time. We took off and I immediately fell asleep. I don’t remember hardly any of that 8 hour flight and I woke up as we landed feeling slightly better.  But realized just how dehydrated I was becoming as I tried to stand and between the dizziness and overwhelming fatigue thought I was going to faceplant while coming down the stairs to go into the terminal.

I did manage to navigate that airport, though it is cloudy in my mind. I managed security again and somehow found my next gate. I got some juice and tried but was completely unsuccessful at keeping it down. At least the toilets in Joburg are nicer than in Entebbe.
I know this story is already too long but we are getting near the end. Mostly because it is at this point I had a pretty steady delirium going on.  I know at some point I discovered that this flight I was about to board was 16+ hours long and I cried real tears which was a waste of precious fluids but I just didn’t feel like I could do it. But I boarded the plane. Then threw up practically minutes after sitting down. The up side of that is the flight attendants took on look at me, had a conversation in Afrikaans, then asked me if I would move closer to the bathrooms. At least this got me an aisle seat.  They did bring me lots of water and sprite, little of which I kept down and plenty of warm blankets. I did manage at some point in this flight to get down the second dose of Artequin.  And mostly slept.  I honestly don’t remember Atlanta at all. I had to have been there and found my gate to Detroit. I even had to clear customs, collect my checked bag and recheck it because it is here now, but I don’t remember it.  Then a few more hours on a plane. Finally 11 am on Thursday morning I arrived in Detroit and was picked up by my parents. A few hours drive back to Grand Rapids with me prone in the back of the van. After leaving from “home” in Gulu 8am Monday morning and including factoring in 8 time zones that is 52 solid hours of travel.  I tried to re-hydrate Friday and took my last dose of Artequin but still was too sick.  Tried to get my PCP to write a prescription but sadly ended up in ER for a few liters of fluid and some meds anyway.
So that’s it. I’m home now. Headed back to work today….. someday I’ll process all the rest of the trip but I think I’m still just recovering from this portion first.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Broken missionary

This is hard. Bear with me. I’m trying to articulate, to force down into words the past few years, the events that have me now sitting here in Michigan, still reeling a bit, still trying to process. But even months later some of this stuff is still hard to talk about. Not events specifically. Just the accumulation.  The heaviness from swallowing days, months, years of sadness, anger and depression, suppressing feelings of powerlessness, frustration and emptiness because they hurt too much to process.  Because I was afraid that feeling them meant I didn’t really trust God.  Or maybe eventually I wasn’t trusting His sovereignty. Or worse, His goodness.
In the past months I’ve been given words for some of it, which help a little. Compassion fatigue, burnout, even clinical depression. Which initially made me angry. Angry at God. I was doing HIS work, how did he let this happen?!?  Angry at myself. If I have faith, how did I let this happen?!?  But the definitions gave me a place to start in recovering, even forced me to admit that I needed recovery.
Some of the biggest challenges: How do I explain how my faith was pushed to the breaking point?  How does one advocate for themselves when they are hurting so badly they can’t even recognize what they need?  How to learn again to be content in all circumstances? To deal with shame and guilt. To reconcile the cognitive dissonance between what I know to be true but what feels true.
So, I’m just asking for more grace, more time.  I’m still pretty wrecked. But at least I’m acknowledging it now.  I’m going back through the past two year’s posts that I wrote and never shared. Some of it is still not for sharing. But maybe some of it will get posted. We’ll see.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019


(Oct 22, 2018)
This blog nailed it for me.  I've been searching for, hurting for, longing for community since day one back on US soil.

Sabbath Rest

(Oct 20, 2017)
At the Obule youth conference I spent some time teaching about Sabbath rest. I feel like I need to write about it again because it seems like a big lesson God is trying to teach me.  I mostly write here to process and occasionally I post it for you to read.  I hope this one helps you and proved easier for you swallow, and more importantly do more than just change your thinking, than it was for me.

Sabbath isn't a formula. It isn't a list of does/ don'ts. It is a relationship.  It is the creation of a sanctuary in time to be with God. It is the pushing back the noise of the world in order to better hear God.
It is a gift. The gift of rest to restless people. If we look at the traditional Jewish sabbath.....
Sabbath, is a time to remember and observe and celebrate and anticipate. Remembering God's deliverance. Celebrating Jesus' work on the cross. Anticipating someday having full Sabbath rest in heaven. Looking at these things that God alone can do.  But in addition to those it reminds us of who we are in perspective to God. God did rest. He did not have to. But we do. So God led the way. He stopped, rested and invited us to do the same. Sabbath rest is imitating God's own rest in order that we might become more like God while yet seeing that we are not God. 

At the conference I asked the kids to try to describe to me the difference between noise and music. Considering kids in Soroti see and do this on a regular basis, they understand, possibly better than I,  the key rhythm plays.  Rhythm is knowing when to be on, and when to be off. When to make noise and when to be still. God gave us an innate desire for rhythm. Both in music and the rest of life. six day on, one off. Six on, one off. Or rather, one off, six on. One off, six on.

But is begins to feel like a burden laid on us.  We begin to see it as a day stolen from us rather than a gift we are blessed with!

Sabbath is not dependent upon our readiness to stop. We do not stop because we are finished. We do not stop because we have completed our phone calls, finished our project, gotten through this stack of messages or sent this report that is due tomorrow. We stop because it is time to stop....Sabbath liberates us from the need to be finished. Sabbath says: "Stop now." - Wayne Muller

Hold fast

(Oct 19, 2017)
Where to begin..... I head back to Uganda in 7 days. Really feeling the pressure today of things that "have to" get done. Yet, just still trying to do one day at a time. Not demanding to know what the future holds. Just trusting God. Learning to lean into Him in a different way. I want to write about "my plan" for the coming weeks and months. But the truth is I just don't know what they will look like. I need to be done in Soroti, but just for a while or indefinitely?  What does that mean the next few weeks will hold? What do I tell you my faithful supporters? How do I serve God well in this season?
Maybe that is where I wanted to start this post, I feel sad, bewildered and insecure. 
So I'm just hanging on to the truths that God does his best work in the dark, in our weakness.  And I know He has reminded me over and over lately that I'm anchored firmly in Him. No matter which country, what job description, even in this time that feels a bit dark and stormy. 
Image result for anchor
I'll finish with this quote from John Piper: "What Christ bought for us when he died was not the freedom from having to hold fast but the enabling power to hold fast. What he bought was not the nullification of our wills as though we didn't have to hold fast, but the empowering of our wills because we want to hold fast. What he bought was not the canceling of the commandment to hold fast but the fulfillment of the commandment to hold fast."

A song that is speaking to me: He will hold me fast


(July 10, 2017) I've been struggling with this mental picture of my work in Uganda. Like I have this handful of eggs. My job is to keep the eggs.  I put some more eggs in my hands. Too many to hold. And I started to fumble them. Some got broken and I feel really bad. And God also added some eggs. More got broken. I feel weary and overwhelmed trying to keep from dropping these eggs. And they just keep breaking. I got to the point where I said "I just can't do it anymore! God, aren't you watching?  Your eggs are breaking!  I thought you were going to help me with this! These are your eggs right?! Don't you care?!" And now I'm sitting here crying and wondering what I did wrong. I want to be an egg holder but am not sure how anymore.  I hate all the broken eggs, the times I could have done better. And God looks at me and says "But I wanted an omelet." Part of my problem is I'm trying to hold eggs alone. I need a team. Part of it is expectations I place on myself. No one never breaks eggs. And not only can God use broken eggs. He wants them broken sometimes.

This feels like a deep valley. Not as dark as three weeks ago. I think I can see the sky. But I'm still not clear of the way out. I want to make a plan. To try to start climbing. But I've been told to just sit in the valley for awhile. And part of me is saying What about the eggs?  I'm an egg holder, it is my job. And another part of me is saying I actually don't even like eggs. Maybe it is time to hold something else for awhile.

I know God uses dark places. I've been reminded of that a lot lately. So just bear with me. God is doing some work.

Sitting in Mbarara with a truck that won't run.....

(Jan, 13, 2017)
Where to begin this morning?  So many thoughts and frustrations and nearly overwhelming feelings running around in my head. Sitting in Mbarara with a truck that won't run.....

Right now I'm resonating with "Even if" by MercyMe
Right now I just can't...... What will I say if I'm held to the flame like I am right now?  I know you are able but sometimes you don't.  Give me the strength to stand.... I know the sorrow and pain would just go away if you just said the word....

And "Stay"  by BigDaddyWeave
Give me what it takes to stay. Break my heart with what breaks yours until you're all I'm living for. Show me what it takes not just to believe but to stay.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Will you pray for me?

Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor, water and natureWell, would you look at that. This blog is still here. I though I'd neglected it to death by now.  But, here it is and I'm headed back to Uganda tomorrow so seems like I should revive it.  I know I've talked to very few of you (as if I have any readers left) about this trip. But mostly because that is all that it is, a quick trip. But if you are actually still reading, I do want to try to update you. Hence this blog revival. Wow, I'm writing in circles. It's like I'm out of practice with this blogging thing.... mostly it's because I don't know what to write, I guess.

I loved being part of what God was doing in Obulle and most days I was up for the challenges of life in Soroti. But then suddenly it all seemed like too much. And I couldn't do it anymore. I tried to tell myself that a break was all I needed. But I'm finally at peace (sort-of) with the fact that I can't go back to Soroti and do what I was doing.  I may someday live in Uganda again but the work will have to be on a medical team and look a lot different.  I thought by now I'd have a plan for that. But I still don't know where that is or what it will look like.  I think God is still saying not yet.

There is a quote by C.S. Lewis in his book "A Grief Observed" after the death of his wife where he is talking about a feeling, that many have, in the midst of suffering, of how quiet God can be.
But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence.” 
I have felt this so strongly for so many months now.  In Uganda some of the problem was my own suffering and grief from the hardships that just come with being a missionary, but some of it was also being constantly surrounded by other's grief and loss. Young babies and children dying of illness that are so preventable, nothing I could do for debilitating, painful injuries and disease. The endless hunger and hopelessness that the poor, vulnerable and neglected of my adopted home struggled with daily.  Being in a position that I knew God put me in, a having resources to offer, but still feeling like what I was offering was a drip in the ocean. And calling on him, desperate, wanting to help people.  AND WHY WASN'T HE ANSWERING ME?!?
I got angry at God. Why was I hurting so much and he wasn't answering?! Why couldn't I do more?  Was I trying to work in my own strength?! I didn't want to be, but felt like I didn't have the strength to make it through the challenges of the days.  And He is a God of endless strength. So the disconnect had to be on my end, right?
Even after being away from it for a year now I still get mired down in hopelessness and discouragement more often than I'd like to admit. I don't even like to confess that because of the shame that always comes with it. But that is a topic for another post (or seven.)

Tomorrow I'm climbing on plane. I'm packed, international driver's license in hand, several currencies in pocket. Physically ready. But scared. Sad. Afraid. However, I really, really want to do this at the same time. Will you please pray?
I'm not even sure what to ask you to pray. I'd love to come back at the end of this short trip with a clear idea in mind of a place God is calling me to serve (or even a possibility or two that are divinely ordained, or even at least a sense I'm supposed to be living again in Uganda in the near future). But I'm not sure that is from the Holy Spirit. I need to learn again to trust, listen, wait. Be content in these circumstances. Be satisfied in God alone.  Thanks.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

So I really want to update this blog, not really because I have anything to share but it has been nearly 3 months so it seems like it is time.

I'm working regularly at Saint Mary's freestanding ER. I'd forgotten the joys of flu season... though it still isn't as bad a malaria season.

Rather than read my random ramblings anymore I'm just going to post some pictures from my brief visit to Uganda in December. Enjoy!


For my birthday I was given a jackfruit. It was a 20 pound fruit that took us literally hours to clean and prepare. Jackfruit is currently popular in the US as a "super food", though Ugandans just see it as a cheap staple. Usually it is just eaten raw but I'd wanted to try some other things with it We had so much that made four different recipes.  The pie was my favorite. We also marinated and stirfried it and BBQ even more. We were all a bit sick of it and I'm pretty sure there was still some left even after three meals and giving it away to 20+ people. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

My favorite christmas tradition

Decorating cookies!
One hot afternoon in Gulu we decorated several dozen cookies for them to eat but also to let their Ugandan friends experience for the first time!

Making salsa in Gulu

Christina, the kids and I spent several hours chopping, slicing and simmering in her small 100+ degree kitchen, You can kind of tell in these pictures how sweaty we all are. However, at the end of all our hard work we had 14 sealed jars of salsa (and a few bowls for dinner) to show for it. Hopefully it lasts them a few weeks!

Just a few more pictures

Making snowflakes to stay cool.

Izaac made dozens of snowflakes. We had them hanging all over the house.

Friday, November 3, 2017


Going from this to this might take me more than a week or two of orientation.  But I'm glad I have a job. I'm also glad for well trained co-workers and actual physicians calling the shots. I'm glad for adequate pain control for my patients so quickly. And what feels like unlimited resources. (Actual lab work?! A CT scan within 30 minutes of arrival?! ) I don't think we are in Kansas anymore Toto!
In other news I'm trying to stop carrying a water bottle in my bag all the time. Did you know you can get clean, safe, free water practically anywhere here?! And I think I can take my Leatherman out of my bag too. I haven't used it in weeks. So I guess that means I can also stop carrying it around. But we've been through so much together.....

Thursday, October 26, 2017

October Newsletter

Well, in the HTML publishing the newsletter is there. But seems like it isn't actually there. So maybe it is easier to just follow this link?  By the way, if anyone knows how to help me actually make this embedded feel free to let me know.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Always thinking about Uganda.

I've been I've trying to send this last newsletter out for a while now but I realized part of why this is proving to be so difficult is how final it feels. (Side note: If you didn't get my newsletter and would like to let me know, otherwise I'll try to put it on a post tomorrow.)
Anyway, I'm having trouble right now with these things that feel so permanent. When I first arrived back in MI I had to purchase a few things but I realized that in the back of my head I was always thinking these will go back to Uganda with me whenever I go, for example running shoes or underwear. But now I need to start to get some winter things, or other things that I'll never need in Uganda. Like a belt.
I desperately need one here for the pants I had in storage but none of my Ugandan skirts have belt loops.  So I'm having a terrible time bringing myself to purchase one. I'm using a piece of paracord right now, which I think is fine, but my mother rolls her eyes at every time she sees it and if even she is judging my fashion choices I guess I might need to reconsider.
Same with warm clothes. And work uniforms. Seems like I can go back to work at Saints Mercy Health with the 2.5 old uniforms I have remaining from eight years ago, right?
This block is for pretty much anything I need to purchase that I won't ever need in Uganda. Which is the same issue as this newsletter. I'm having such a hard time bringing myself to do it. To admit that I can stop thinking about returning to Uganda for a bit. To stop having Uganda impact all my decisions, purchases, etc...  But I want to know when I'm going back. I want to have a date, even if it is six months down the road. Because this all feels so permanent.  And I really don't like it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Medical scams

A missionary friend just shared this video, discussing one of the many problems facing health care in Uganda. The video discusses how Chinese "clinics" are opening up around Uganda, telling people they can diagnosis and treat all their problems but are nothing more than scams offering fake but believable (for uneducated, inexperienced people) diagnostic testing and very expensive supplements as though they are medicine. This news reporter is right on.  She doesn't address the problem in locations outside of the capital where it is far worse because people have even less understanding of physiology and disease.
I've encountered these "clinics" in Soroti, not run by Chinese, but by Ugandans who are part of the scam. The patient gets hooked up to a "machine" which is nothing more than an electrical tester, and gets a very thorough and very bogus diagnosis. The practitioner then gives them a list of "medicines" that the patient "has to" take.  One family spent more than 500,000 for this (keep in mind that this is about $140.00 for a family that probably makes less than $20.00 a month) went home with a bottle of weeds. (and not the good kind of weed)
 But people are attracted to the testing and the confidence.  I often had to tell people the testing they needed was not available to them or that there was actually no treatment possible. (The best laboratory is 8 hours away by bus for my patients and even that lab can't reliably do things like liver enzymes or ABGs at all. There are about 5 CT machines in the whole country and one MRI. There are  only two places in the country people can receive chemo so needless to say we don't treat much cancer.  And people don't understand that there is no fix for things like cerebral palsy or downs syndrome.) People want to grab on to hope, no matter how unrealistic is is and this huge scam really preys on the most poor, most desperate and most uneducated.