Wardrobes and white coats

One of the things we have spent a lot of time discussing since we’ve got here is clothing! At home, I know what is appropriate for me to wear for work, and I have my usual clothes that I would wear for hanging out with friends or an evening out so it doesn’t involve a lot of thought on a daily basis. But in trying to fit into a new culture this is something we have had to put more consideration in to. I haven’t wanted to cause any offence or create unnecessary barriers, particularly with patients or colleagues as we are dealing with sensitive topics or learning to work as part of a new team. So you will often find Kath and I asking each other what we are wearing, do we think we need our shoulders or knees covered for today’s activity/location, how smart should we be, or does it matter if we wear trousers or a skirt/dress.

For example, people usually wear their “Sunday best” to Church. This isn’t to show off and doesn’t seem to be isolating to those who have less; some people have one smart outfit they wear each week. But it is a sign that worshipping together on a Sunday is important and a key part of the week so effort is made to reflect this. So I’m already planning my outfit for Easter Sunday!

For work, the general rule is dress smartly and no short skirts/dresses so not that different to home except its a lot hotter! But one of the key things we learnt was the importance of having a white coat…. Since I’ve been a doctor, I’ve never worn a white coat. It no longer seems part of our culture in the UK so when we arrived and were asked where ours were, it seemed quite old fashioned to me or like something from Grey’s Anatomy! But the team explained this was important here, to help staff and patients know who the doctors were and therefore who to go to for help or decisions. One of the junior doctors told me that if they turned up to work without one, they would be chased off the ward to find it because it would be a sign of tardiness or unprofessionalism. So off we went to get some including embroidery for our names & roles. And although it can make me even warmer when walking between wards in the sun, I am loving all the pockets!

Wearing our new white coats for ward round

One of my favourite things about Ugandans’ clothing is the bright colours the woman wear! Kitenge is the traditional fabric worn, usually made into beautiful dresses or skirts in amazing vibrant colourful patterns. This seemed like an essential addition to our Ugandan wardrobe so we took ourselves off to Kampala Fair to have dresses fitted. These were done so quickly that we were able to wear them for a children’s palliative care workshop we attended last week which went down really well with our Ugandan colleagues who loved seeing us wear their traditional cloth. I suspect it won’t be our last Kitenge outfit here….

15 responses to “Wardrobes and white coats”

  1. Bless you Kate! I smiled broadly when I read the ‘Sunday best’ part. I remember being asked what the occasion was when I first went to City Church because I was dressed in my Sunday best! Over time, I found myself dressing up for Church in whatever decent clothing I found on the morning.

    Listen, you are doing a fantastic work out there in Uganda. There must be a lot to take in and adjust to, and we are praying for God’s grace and wisdom for you in all you do.

    Much love from Nigeria! β€οΈβ€οΈπŸ‡³πŸ‡¬

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha I know, think it will take time to get used to dressing in jeans for Church when I get back!
      Thank you Fadoo, really appreciate your support and prayers. Lots of love to the four of you xx

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  2. Really enjoyed reading this Kate- brought back lots of African memories. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow loving the outfits very colourful. Sounds like an amazing experience so far enjoy the white coats don’t delevlop some of the traits associated with them mind πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€ 😜

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  4. LOVE the Kitenge!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ha ha definitely wear your white coat to church first Sunday back in Newcastle Kate!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So enjoy sharing your experiences,definitely broadening my horizons -keep them coming !X

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is brilliant! I love the dresses you had made, they are so beautiful. Thanks for the blog, it’s REALLY interesting x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh Kate that was brill reading you should right a book. And including pictures is great can’t wait for the next installment

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great to read your stories. The fabric looks brilliant – so vibrant. Pleased you are having a great time

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Glad you are settling in and what a lovely thought to pay attention to your attire . I remember mum saying that as a child she as always dressed in her Sunday best for church !

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    1. I’ve already got my Easter Sunday dress ready!

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  11. Looking good Kate. Fab fabric, lovely dress. Thanks for sharing. Sending love.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Kate, love reading your updates. Your dress looks great πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Really enjoying reading your blog Kate – and you look fantastic in your new dress!

    Liked by 1 person

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