Karamoja Handbook

Quick Links
Work of the Mission
Contact Information
Application Process
Preparing to Come
Karamoja Life
Money Matters
Guidelines for AYPC Workers
Guidelines for Construction Workers


Dear friends of Uganda and the OPUM:

Thank you for your interest in the Lord’s work in Nakaale. The Orthodox Presbyterian Uganda Mission has been in Uganda for over ten years, serving Christ through the ministries of word and deed. In the pages that follow, you will learn about the ministries presently operating in Nakaale, our northern outpost. You will also discover things you need to know as you consider visiting and serving with us.

When you finish reading this handbook, please fill out the form inserted as a separate sheet. This will verify for us that you have read the handbook and agree to live under the regulations therein. Please sign and submit it to the Mission soon after you arrive.

Yours in Christian service and love,

The Orthodox Presbyterian Uganda Mission
Nakaale Station


Contact with the Mission

  • Request and submit application and medical form
  • Wait for Mission invitation
  • Schedule trip in consultation with Mission. Do NOT purchase tickets before approval is given from Mission.
  • Read “OPUM Karamoja Visitors’ Handbook” and “Health Advice for Travel to Uganda”
  • Submit agreement form [can be done when you arrive]

To Obtain Before Departure

  • Passport—be sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your arrival in Uganda or you may be refused entrance. [Note: Plan to get your entrance visa upon arrival at the Entebbe airport.]
  • Travel Insurance [Only from approved insurance company!]
  • Appropriate vaccinations
  • Malaria prophylaxis

Packing [Some categories for your use. Please refer to more complete lists that appears below.]

  • Everyday clothing
  • Work clothing
  • Sunday clothing
  • Footwear
  • Construction/Clinic clothing
  • Bathing suit
  • Jacket/sweatshirt
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat/cap
  • Flashlight/headlight
  • Gatorade-type drink mix
  • Toiletries
  • Water bottle
  • Backpack
  • Electronics
  • Special medications
  • Insect Repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Special foods
  • Malaria prophylaxis
  • Ear plugs
  • Hiking boots/shoes

The Work of the Mission

The Orthodox Presbyterian Uganda Mission has been operating in Uganda since 1995 and in the Karamoja region since 2000. The goal of the Mission is to labor, with the grace given by Christ, to establish an indigenous church that is self-supporting, self-governing and self-propagating. The gospel of Christ is at the center of all we do. In addition to the preaching and teaching of God’s Word, there exists a robust diaconal work designed to adorn and support the propagation of the gospel we profess.

Among the regular activities you will observe in Nakaale and its neighboring villages are the following:

  • Sunday morning services
  • Bible studies held in the villages
  • Occasional week-long gospel outreach projects
  • Regular medical/gospel outreach meetings
  • Various construction projects which provide vocational training for Karimojong men
  • A farm worked by members of our Mission along with our Karimojong neighbors who are paid in food for their labors
  • Other diaconal involvement with our community such as well-drilling and repair
  • The work of Akisyon a Yesu Presbyterian Clinic [see statement below]

Akisyon a Yesu Presbyterian Clinic exists to deliver quality medical care in the name and for the glory of Jesus Christ in support of the ministry of the Orthodox Presbyterian Uganda Mission and its goals. Since 2002, AYPC has helped thousands of patients in and around Nakaale Village, Nakapiripirit District. The parties overseeing the work believe that the medical and spiritual care given by the Clinic bring honor to Jesus, the Great Physician, and adornment to His gospel.

You can see that there is much to do in Nakaale. In addition to the regular activities of the Mission, visitors may be interested in helping out in other ways.

  • Assisting in the education of the Mission children
  • Clerical work such as photocopying and word processing
  • General cleaning and maintenance of the Mission facilities

Your interest in and prayer for our work is a great encouragement to us.

Contact Information

Here is a list of the missionaries along with contact information.

Feel free to contact individual missionaries about aspects of the work that interest you. For general questions about the Mission and all correspondence relating to the application process, contact Sunshine Okken.
Please carry some phone numbers with you (in your carry-on bag) in case you become stranded.


For our reference and your safety while you are here, please fill out the application and medical form available upon request, and return via email to Sunshine Okken. Please fill out the Emergency Medical Form and return via email to Dr. Jim Knox.

In addition to the application, we require reference letters affirming the fitness of candidates for short-term service. In the case of adults, a letter from a pastor or elder from the church where the applicant is a member will be required. In the case of minors, letters from a pastor or elder from the church where the applicant is a member (this should not be a family member) and a letter from one parent will be required.

Once the application and reference letters are received, the Mission will meet and discuss them. You will then be informed whether or not your application is approved. If approved, scheduling information will be sent to you. It is very important that you wait until you are invited by the Mission before you purchase airline tickets! It is possible that the dates you suggest will not work for us, or that our guest facilities are full and your trip will have to be postponed. Every visitor will be assigned an overseeing missionary, chosen according to the kind of activities each visitor hopes to participate in.

Once you are approved, you may make arrangements to come.



Please see “Money Matters” on page 24.


You will need a valid passport from your native country to enter Uganda. Make sure your passport is valid for six months beyond your return date.

You will buy your Ugandan entry visa when you arrive in the Entebbe airport. Please show a copy of your travel itinerary to the official and insist that your visa will cover the duration of your stay in country. Make sure that you have a new $50 bill available in your carry-on bag with your passport in order to purchase the visa in the airport!

While a Ugandan visa typically costs $50, there is a possibility that you would have to purchase multiple visas if you are not issued a visa that covers your entire length of stay in uganda. Therefore, please be prepared to have up to $150 available for visa expenses.

Travel Insurance

Most health insurance plans in the USA do not cover such things as medical coverage abroad or emergency medical evacuation. The cost for these things can be immense. Therefore, please speak to Doug Smith at SmithFinancial@verizon.net or 412.262.9010 for further information and to obtain coverage. Please do not obtain your own form of insurance. The OPUM requires proof of travel insurance; please have the card available for us to see at the airport in Entebbe when you arrive (if not already emailed to Dr. Jim).

Credentials for work in the clinic

The Ministry of Health (MOH) in Uganda has certain regulations for work in a health center. If you are planning to work in the clinic, please contact Dr. Jim early on so that there is time to register with the MOH.

Your Flight

Planes fly into Entebbe Airport, where you will be met by a representative of the Mission. You will not be expected to travel to Nakaale by public transportation, which is unreliable and can be unsafe. Out of consideration for the missionaries who will have a full day of travel to get to the airport, please do not schedule any flights that will arrive or depart on a Saturday, Sunday, or Monday.


Uganda requires foreign drivers to have an International Driver’s License (IDL), but in fact you probably will not be driving here. If you want to have an IDL in the event that you will be asked to drive, you can purchase one from AAA. If you are interested and have particular skills, please contact Bob Wright about operating construction vehicles while you are here.


Consult your doctor and/or local health department as well as Dr. Jim to see which vaccinations you need. You are responsible to find the status of your routine immunizations, but please refer to the document, “Health Advice for Travel to Uganda” for the vaccinations required for travel to a tropical country. Please take this form to your doctor, and please talk to Dr. Jim.


Some visitors have said that coming to Karamoja is like going to Bible camp—bring bug spray, summer clothes, a Bible and a flashlight. That is a good start, but there is more you need to know.

Many visitors use action packers/Contico black storage boxes or large Rubbermaid containers for luggage rather than suitcases. Such containers are more durable and generally have a larger capacity. Some of them are made precisely to the maximum size specifications issued by the airlines. You will want to secure your baggage with duct tape, zip ties, or even screws as baggage handlers have been known to open pieces. Remember to ask your airline about current baggage allowances and weight limits.


We will arrange for a Karimojong woman to do your laundry, Monday-Saturday, so do not pack a lot. The wash is all done by hand in cold water, but the process can be fairly hard on delicate materials. Bring such delicate articles at some risk. We recommend sturdy clothes that will hold up under the vigor of the washing process. Mark your clothes clearly so they can be easily sorted. Karamoja is a dusty, dirty place, so do not expect your whites to retain their whiteness entirely.

Climate and Wardrobe

The hottest time of the year is what is called the dry season which generally extends from November through February. The morning hours are cool and clear, with the midday sun bringing the temperature into the 100s. In the evening the temperatures drop to the 70s or even 60s. March through October is the rainy season. The temperatures are cooler at 75-95 degrees. Nighttime temperatures are in the 60s. You can judge the kind of clothing you will need for such temperatures, but here is a list of recommended articles:

For all visitors

  • Tee-shirts/short-sleeved shirts
  • 2 or 3 pairs of knee-length shorts
  • Sandals/flip-flops
  • Wide-brimmed hat or cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Walking/hiking shoes
  • Hiking boots/shoes
  • Sweatshirt/cardigan and sweatpants for cooler evenings
  • Light jacket—windbreaker/rain jacket/poncho
  • Lightweight socks
  • Bathing suit
  • Headscarves/bandanas
  • Rubber boots during the rainy season [can be purchased in country for about $10]

Additional articles for women

1 or 2 dresses/skirt outfits for Sunday worship and visits to town. Women are generally expected to wear dresses, skirts, capris or long pants in towns, but on the mission compound shorts are fine. Cloth wraps to wear over shorts can be purchased for a few dollars in town as well.

Additional articles for construction workers

  • More socks
  • Heavy shoes/work boots
  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • 1 pair of jeans or workpants
  • A long sleeve shirt for long days in the sun

Check with Bob for advice on any specialty clothing or equipment [i.e. welding gear] that might be needed during your stay.

Church clothes

Attire for worship in Nakaale is what would be considered fairly casual in North America—a decent shirt and trousers for men, a dress or skirt and blouse for women.

N.B. Please read carefully and be prepared to abide by the dress code adopted by the Mission, found below this page!

Other items to bring

  • Flashlight/headlamp/book light and batteries
  • Basic medications like Tylenol, Pepto-Bismol, motion sickness meds, allergy medications/decongestants
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Water bottle
  • Small backpack
  • Duct tape for sealing luggage before departure
  • Small photo album of your family/friends/hometown to show us [and our African neighbors]
  • Camera and accessories
  • Sunscreen and chapstick [with sunscreen]
  • Insect repellent with DEET
  • Regular toiletries
  • Ear plugs, if you are a light sleeper
  • Gatorade-type drink mixes

Other suggested [though less important] items

  • Mercuroclear
  • Laptop (optional, but only one per team, please)
  • Sun shower for warm water

Items requiring electricity

[See “Water, Plumbing, and Electricity” below]


If you have favorite snacks [i.e. granola bars, cheese and cracker packets, favorite candies or drink mixes, decaf beverages, artificial sweeteners], bring them along. They may not be available here. Anything that may leak should be packed in Ziplocs. If you have special dietary needs due to health conditions [diabetes, celiac, hypoglycemia, etc.] please bring ALL the food items you will need, as they are probably not available in country. In addition, please inform us of these dietary requirements and any food allergies.

Karamoja Life

Location and Facilities

Karamoja is the northeastern region of Uganda. Nakaale is the name of a little village just outside the trading center of Namalu. If you’re looking at a map, Nakaale is in Nakapiripirit District, South Karamoja,roughly halfway between Mbale city (3rd largest city in Uganda, where the other station of the OP Uganda Mission is located), and Moroto town.

Weather and road conditions have a significant effect on travel times. It takes 2-7 hours to travel from Mbale to Nakaale; 7-13 hours from Entebbe/Kampala to Nakaale.

There are three fenced residential compounds for missionaries. Visitors will stay on one of these compounds, with access to bathrooms/latrines, showers [but no hot water, brrrr!], and kitchen/living areas.

Our clinic is on the main road where you turn off to approach our homes, a few minutes’ walk from the main compound. We meet for worship under an open building along the small road leading onto the property, between the clinic and the missionaries’ homes.

Use of Mission facilities and equipment

Please be very careful with all mission property. Repairs and replacement can be very expensive, especially for items only available in the U.S. Always ask before using anything. Some items are the missionaries’ personal belongings and should not be used without the owners’ permission. Other things may be owned by the Mission, but require special instruction that may not be immediately evident even to an experienced person.

Please do not try to repair anything without first checking with Bob.

The stoves and refrigerators are all run on propane. Before you use any appliance, ask a missionary for instruction. In order to conserve propane, open and shut the refrigerator quickly and only as necessary.

Whenever you leave your room or hut, please lock your door.

Community Living

So that everyone can enjoy the community spaces, please follow a few simple principles:

  • Keep your belongings and space clean and tidy
  • Avoid clutter in common areas
  • Wash and store dishes immediately after use
  • Coordinate the use of the kitchen with other visitors
  • Be generous and considerate as you share the use of equipment and space
  • Quiet hours are after 10 PM and before 7 AM
  • Consult the missionaries about quiet hours in the morning and evening
  • Use discretion and deference with respect to the music, reading materials and movies you want to use. Young children make use of common areas, so please consult missionary parents if you think an item is questionable.
  • Do not lend anything from the house to anybody without the permission of the missionaries
  • Do not ask the staff to do additional work for you. Our workers have a full load of regular duties, but will not want to refuse your request. In exceptional cases, secure the permission of the missionaries before asking.

It is customary in East Africa to call “hodi!” (hoe-dee) outside a person’s house or door to ask if you can come in. The host then replies “karibu!” (carry-boo, meaning “welcome”) and the visitor enters. This is also the practice of the missionaries in Nakaale.

Water, Plumbing, and Electricity

There are some unique aspects to the use of utilities in Karamoja that all visitors need to consider. We ask that you abide by the following guidelines to insure the best provisions for the most.

Please conserve water, especially on cloudy days, because our water pumps run on solar energy. Turn off lights when not needed.

Do not flush paper products of any kind down the toilets. Even toilet paper is to be placed in a small trash can next to the toilet.

Avoid letting food [especially rice] go down the sink drains. Table scraps can be given to the pets. Dishwater should be strained through a sieve.

Please ask before using the power outlets. The power here is 240V, and adaptors are provided at the mission. The solar/ wind power we use must be conserved, or it will not last through the day and night. This means that high demand items, such as those that use resistance coils to generate heat, may not be used. Leave your coffee makers, hair dryers and irons at home. Charging batteries can drain the system, so ask permission from the missionaries about how and when to plug in your laptop or other chargeable items. The best time to charge is generally 10 am – 2 pm. Show all electrical items to Bob before plugging them in to confirm their usability with our system.


The email/internet access is unpredictable in Karamoja. It comes through a wireless modem and is very slow compared to U.S. standards. Limited Wi-Fi access will be available for visitors (not like American Wi-Fi in speed or reliability!)

There is cell phone coverage here and even a visitors’ phone available for your use. Discuss with the missionaries about purchasing airtime to make calls to the States if necessary. It costs about $0.10 per minute to call the USA from a Ugandan phone. Please discuss with the missionaries the process for receiving calls and to figure out the time zone differences.

Interacting with the Karimojong

Most people within Karamoja like to greet others and appreciate being greeted as well. As you are walking along, you may pass people who will say a quick ‘ejok’ or ‘ejok nooi’ (hello/good/very good – all meaning basically ‘hi’). Feel free to shake hands, or simply lift your hand[s] and say “ejok” [pronounced “eh-JAWK”].

It is also a major part of Karimojong culture to ask for things. Total strangers will plead with you for your shoes, clothes, money, soap, sugar, you name it. People will try to get you to commit to paying their children’s school fees. Please do not give/sell anything to people, or commit to giving/selling anything. You can answer people who say ‘kingarakinai’ (‘assist me’) with ‘mam’ (sounds like “mom,” and means “no”). Do not use the word “Maybe,” as this is the same as saying, “Yes.” Do not give out telephone numbers, email addresses or other personal information.

We do not advise buying anything—souvenirs, crafts, clothing, or even food—without first consulting a missionary as to the fair market price. Prices in Africa are generally negotiable, with the “starting price” being EXTREMELY high for Westerners.


Karamoja is considered a high risk area by most Ugandans and by the U.S. Embassy. This is largely because of the practice of raiding for cattle. In recent times, the raiding has been minimal; even what has taken place in our district has not presented an immediate threat to the missionaries. The government of Uganda has undertaken a long-term disarmament operation throughout Karamoja through which many [but surely not all] guns have been removed.

We take a number of precautions to minimize risk. We do not keep any livestock on our compounds. We do not travel at night. We listen for reports of ambushes and raids and adjust our travel plans accordingly. We have night guards on all four Mission compounds. You will find that things are generally quiet, but you may occasionally hear gunfire at night. If you do, do not go outside to investigate.

There is a certain amount of petty theft here. As much as possible, be alert to the whereabouts of your belongings, especially when you travel. Always lock car doors, even when the car is moving. Do not leave valuables in vehicles. Do not leave money or other valuables lying around the living compounds. When you are in town, keep your wallet and handbag secure. Ask the missionaries about storing your money and documents in a safe until you need them. Always remember to lock your room or hut.

In Karamoja there are often episodes of violence among the community members. Martial law often occurs. If violence is witnessed, do not go to help or to break up a fight. Report such violence to adult members of the mission.

Critters and Varmints

Most of the small animal life in Nakaale is completely harmless. You may see any of a variety of creatures: rats, mice, cockroaches, termites, ants, scorpions, to name a few. Harmless geckos can be seen climbing on the walls. The scorpions have a very painful sting, and some ants bite, but otherwise, most pests are harmless.

You should know that there are snakes, and many of them are poisonous—some deadly. You should also know that no missionary or guest has ever been bitten by a snake.

To minimize your risk of snakebite or other unpleasant encounter with local vermin, the general recommendation is simply not to put your hands or feet anywhere you can’t see clearly. Here are some other suggestions:

  • Don’t get out of bed in the dark (use a flashlight or book light to check the floor first)
  • Dump out shoes or boots before putting them on (toads love sneakers)
  • Shake out clothes which were on the floor before putting them on (scorpions can climb into them)
  • Don’t walk in tall grass
  • Don’t reach in or around rocks, piles of wood, brush, or things covered with tarps, with bare hands – push them apart first with a long stick
  • Don’t climb trees
  • Don’t walk around outside in the dark without a light

Snakes are seldom seen in the houses. If you see one [probably small and thin but potentially poisonous] move out of striking distance and find someone else to kill it. The word for snake in Karimojong is “emun” (pronounced “eh-MOON”). If you shout “EMUN!” or “SNAKE!” you will attract every Karimojong within earshot to come and kill it.

There are bees in Nakaale, so if you are allergic, please take note. Be sure to bring your own medications and/or Epi-pen.

Stay away from strange dogs. The compound dogs have had their shots, but village dogs most likely have not. Dogs are treated very harshly by the Karimojong, so they may not be friendly. As a rule, keep your distance from unfamiliar dogs and cats.

Health Issues

Most of our visitors enjoy good health during their trip here. Even those who contract malaria often find it to be like the flu. We do take the health risks here very seriously, however, and will do our best to try to make sure you are well during your stay with us and when you go home as well.

Preparing your own meals [or enjoying the meals of missionary families] will minimize the risk of contracting food-borne diseases. If you do get an amoeba or some other parasite, the right medications are readily available at our clinic. We recommend that you not eat or drink in the Karimojong villages. Whenever you come inside, wash your hands, especially if you have been shaking hands with others.

There is malaria in Karamoja, but most people contract mild cases, especially if they take prophylaxis. The available treatment is effective and purges the system of parasites so that patients need not fear recurrence down the line. Malaria becomes serious when left untreated, so early detection and treatment are crucial. All visitors must take prophylactic medications! They work to prevent malaria, or at least reduce the severity of the case should malaria come. When you leave, make sure to take malaria treatments with you to use if malaria shows up while you are at home.

Please refer to the document, “Health Advice for Travel to Uganda,” for advice about malaria prophylaxis.

While you are in Karamoja, the following practical preventive measures can be helpful:

  • Sleep under a mosquito net (provided by mission)
  • Avoid the outdoors at night
  • Spray your rooms with an insecticide an hour or two before bed
  • Use insect repellent [with DEET]

If you feel poorly please make use of the Clinic and Dr. Jim. It is important that all visitors follow the medical advice of the missionaries and clinic staff. Do not self medicate. Do not refuse to take the medications prescribed if you contract an illness.

The symptoms for malaria are varied. You may feel unusual neck or back pain, chills, fever spikes, overall achiness, diarrhea or vomiting. If you feel just a “little off,” it is better to be tested promptly than risk letting the illness worsen. Most medications you might need are in stock at the clinic pharmacy and are very inexpensive. The usual charge for a visit to our clinic is about $2.00.

Do not drink tap water anywhere in Uganda except in the homes of missionaries in Karamoja who affirm its safety. Bottled water is readily available most everywhere. Avoid eating food served in African homes.

Please be very careful about any wounds you may get, however small. They can become infected very quickly. Construction workers should be especially careful since even small cuts may quickly become serious. Make sure you cover wounds so they aren’t touched by any flies, and take note of their condition each day. It is important to shower with lots of soap. This will not only clean the skin; it will also help to remove bacteria that can cause infections. Watch out for any increase in pain, redness, or swelling.

Money Matters

Before you come, make sure to get crisp, $100 bills, minted in the year 2006 or later. Older bills may be rejected when you try to exchange them for Uganda shillings, or at best they will draw a lower exchange rate. The same may be true if your bills are overly worn or wrinkled. Smaller bills and travelers’ checks will also draw a lower rate, so stick with new, crisp $100 bills. Please travel with a Visa credit debit card [MasterCard is seldom accepted]. While they are not accepted in most shops in Uganda, it is good to have it for emergencies while travelling [and they may be used at Ugandan ATMs].

Costs before your arrival

  • Passport: $150
  • Vaccinations: $200-$700(depending upon insurance coverage)
  • Travel insurance: $30/week
  • Malaria prophylaxis: Depends on duration of stay and type of prophylaxis used.
  • Airfare: $1100-$2500

(*These are all approximate costs. If possible, try to get as many vaccines as possible from the local health department. The health department is usually cheaper. Confirm this with your insurance. Yellow Fever shots can only be received at certified travel clinics [see:www.cdc.gov], however.)

Costs while you are here

Each individual should plan to bring funds in the following amounts:

  • Room and Half Board $10/day
  • Transport to and from airport $150
  • Additional food supplies $25/week
  • Hotels [arrival/departure] $150
  • Restaurant meals [arrival/departure] $25-$30
  • Registering with the Ministry of Health (clinic workers only) $50-$200
  • Malaria testing and medications [for departure] $10
  • Miscellaneous $100-$400

Room and half board include shared accommodation, daily laundry service, daily lunch [generally rice and beans], some evening meals with missionary families, and propane/diesel for fridge and outlet power. You will be able to purchase in country your own supplies for breakfast, some evening meals, Sunday meals, and snack foods and beverages.

The Miscellaneous category could include such things as in-country travel, a possible visa extension, souvenirs, money for an overnight in London (if you fly with British Airways), etc.

If you are coming with a team of 5 or more, expect to prepare more meals yourselves. The Mission has a kitchen with plenty of room for supplies, along with a stove and small refrigerator—all for the use of our visitors.


Nakaale Station Dress Code

Modest attire is important for everyone! Please be careful that your tee shirts or other clothes do not have pictures or sayings which might be offensive, including those that advertise alcoholic beverages. To be frank, we will tell you to put something else on if we think what you are wearing is unsuitable. If you are not sure if a certain garment meets the dress code, leave it at home.

For women: In East Africa it is considered extremely immodest for women or girls to wear clothing which reveals the thigh. Therefore, shorts for women should come close to the knees and generally should only be worn on mission premises. Skirts or dresses should be below the knees. Also, for everyone’s sake, both Africans and Westerners, girls and women should not wear revealing tops or dresses; nothing should be formfitting or low-cut. No spaghetti straps or immodest tank tops. Skirts, shorts, capris, and pants should also not be low-rise.

Think frumpy when you pick your clothes to bring here, even if you expect the weather to be hot. It is really just as comfortable to wear a lightweight, loose tee shirt as it is to wear a more revealing top. Also please bring only the most modest bathing suit you can find, one piece or one which covers the midsection, and not high-cut or low-cut.

For men and boys: Remember that underwear is supposed to be under, so shorts and trousers should fit at the waist. When engaging in any ministry activities (such as preaching, leading devotions at the medical clinic, teaching in the local schools, or ministering in churches), men should wear trousers rather than shorts.

Rules of Conduct

Karamoja is a wonderful, but dangerous place. Relating to the Karimojong people involves risk, the measure of which is not entirely known to the members of the Mission. The following rules of conduct are meant to secure, by the grace and providence of God, the protection of the Mission’s guests and fellow laborers in the vineyard of our Lord, and to provide the meaningful instruction and fellowship necessary for fruitful gospel ministry.

For All Missionary Associates and Visitors

  • Live and work under the direction and authority of the Mission
  • Everyone is expected to be at their assigned work site on a daily basis unless given permission by their missionary of oversight
  • Your missionary of oversight must know of your whereabouts during working hours
  • Whenever you leave your compound after working hours, inform an adult member of the Mission who lives at your compound.
  • Attend Lord’s Day worship [a.m. and p.m.] and Wednesday fellowship
  • Engage in ministries other than those for which you were appointed [or those which are in keeping with the purpose of your visit] only as approved by the Mission
  • Do not leave the living/Clinic compounds without an approved escort
  • Return to resident compounds each night by 7:00 p.m., unless otherwise arranged with the Mission
  • Do not remain in any of the villages overnight
  • Do not give gifts or sell things to the Karimojong. Giving material assistance [clothes, money, school fees, etc.] is not always beneficial to the poor in Karamoja
  • Secure permission of the Mission before inviting guests into the resident houses or onto the resident compounds
  • No visitor should drink or purchase alcoholic beverages off the mission living compounds unless under the oversight of an adult mission member.

For Single Missionary Associates and Visitors

  • Abide by the rules for all visitors and missionary associates [above]
  • Do not accept gifts from, a Karimojong person of opposite gender
  • Do not establish a dating relationship with a fellow worker without consultation with the Mission. All flirtatious behavior and coarse jesting is forbidden.

Guidelines for Working at Akisyon a Yesu [Compassion of Jesus] Presbyterian Clinic [AYPC]

AYPC exists to glorify God in the delivery of quality medical care in the name of Jesus Christ. All visiting clinic workers must act and live accordingly. Adherence to the policies and regulations of the Uganda Ministry of Health will be expected. Deviation from these may result in negative repercussions for AYPC, its staff, and the visitor himself.


Meet with Dr. Jim Knox after your arrival to discuss your credentials, experience and expectations, so that you can receive appropriate assignments. Feel free to bring all questions and concerns to Dr. Jim.

If you do not have medical credentials, remember that you are a learner and must take orders and suggestions from those who have greater knowledge and experience. Never involve yourself in medical care or procedures [diagnosis, treatment, IVs, injections] without the oversight of qualified staff. Never prescribe medications, unless you are licensed to do so.

Our staff respects Westerners and will assume that all who come to the Clinic have much training and experience. Please know your limitations and do not exceed your level of training or ability. The clinic workers are very willing to teach you and love to explain the Clinic’s way of treatment. Allow them to teach you—it will be a great experience!

Freely speak of Christ as you work. We want people to be well and to know Jesus. There are no legal restrictions binding the religious speech of medical workers.

Clinic Dress code

Scrubs are suggested, but not required.

Men: Dress pants or blue jeans. Polo shirts, button down shirts, or nice tee shirts [without questionable pictures or writing] are all acceptable. As you choose your wardrobe, be mindful of the heat. You will get dirty, so do not expect your whites to remain white. All clothing should be clean, and not torn or frayed. Wear comfortable shoes such as sandals or tennis shoes. You will be working on hard concrete floors and may have to contend with water and mud, so comfort is very important.

Women: Dress pants, blue jeans, capris, knee length skirts or longer skirts or dresses. Tee shirts, polo shirts, and blouses should be modest, not low-cut or form fitting. You do not want to worry about inappropriate exposure should you need to bend or kneel in your care for patients.

Things you can bring

Stethoscope/Equipment: We have a basic stethoscope model here, but you may bring one. Ask before bringing other pieces of equipment. Some things may require batteries or power sources that are not available here.

Books: Medical books on tropical diseases and treatment for the East Africa and sub-Sahara area are always helpful. Please know that we are always looking for additions to our Clinic library, but ask if that particular book would be useful to us before you purchase or bring it.

Construction/Maintenance Workers’ Guidelines

Your safety is important to us, as well as the safety of our equipment, so we ask you to be extra careful with everything you use here. When tools break, it is a hardship for us because of the difficulty to fix or replace them. Spare parts are sometimes impossible to find in Uganda.

Remember to ask first before taking out any tools or operating any equipment. Also please be sure to keep an eye on everything you’re using so it doesn’t get stolen. When you are finished with a tool, immediately put it back where it belongs. Do not let any tool leave the construction compound unless a responsible person has it. Do not loan tools to anyone without Bob Wright’s permission. If there are any Karimojong people hanging around the worksite, especially children, please keep them away from the equipment, for everybody’s safety.

Even the most experienced workers can make mistakes. Please ask if you have any questions before operating anything—trucks, tractors, trailers, generators, and power tools especially. Some of our tools are from the U.S. and are 110 volt, but some are African or European and are 220/240 volt. If you’re not sure, ask before you plug it in!

If you prefer to bring your own personal tools, feel free to do so. Large or heavy items might be a burden to you to pack in your luggage, but small things are great to have here as well. Our nearest GOOD hardware store is in the U.S.!

It is important for you to dress in ways appropriate to the work you will be doing. Consult the clothing recommendations for construction workers above.



Thank you for taking time to read our handbook. We hope that its contents will help you prepare for your visit. We are looking forward to meeting you and working with you for the glory of Christ and the increase of His kingdom in Karamoja.

Your missionary friends of the OPUM

Last Updated: June, 2015


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