We loved Uganda. The people were beautiful and it was spring all year round. It was 5000 feet above sea level on the equator, so you can imagine the weather. It was beautiful. We spent 10 years there. My husband was the only surgeon in the hospital, doing everything for one million people. He couldn’t refuse surgery to anyone who needed it. But former Ugandan President Idi Amin did not want his political rival’s people treated, only his people. Amin was cruel and absolutely revolting, even to look at. I believe he had syphilis, that’s why his brain got wonky. My husband used to hide the names of Amin’s enemies he treated. But the other doctors said to him ‘You have to get out of this country’. I said to my husband, ‘I’ve got a good general practice and we don’t know whether we’ll like Australia. You go first, and I’ll join you later’. But when the situation became bad, he didn’t feel safe leaving me behind. We had to leave for the airport at one o’clock, but I was working right up to the end. He had to drag me away. I started crying in the car, and then the children started to cry because their mum was crying. We left a lot of money behind but that doesn’t matter. Two weeks later, there was the general exodus. All the Asians had to leave. Friends we left behind asked, ‘Did you know something beforehand?’. But we didn’t. It was just luck. From 1974 up until today, I’ve been practising at the same practice in Wyoming, NSW. I still have a few patients who first came to see me the day we opened the practice.

Dr Kanta Ahluwalia
Wyoming, NSW