February 25, 2019


Days pass by, weeks pass too, and one wants to see that things are happening even if it is at a slow pace. I sound like a whinner, but I just THINK and express it!  I am happy to see those who listen and want to see what people like me are talking about. Personally, I am helpless, but I want to be hopeful. I am voicing humanitarian need on behalf of the communities whose voices are unheard. What do we need to sustain our lives with? Clean water, health, and healthy environments are the basic need of man.

                Would you like to see it for yourself why I am requesting your assistant? THINK, some of the people I met asked if I could let them help or adopt one or two young ones, NO. I want communities to be helped and taught so that they can help themselves. Helping/adopting (from a distant) only one or two individuals causes jealousies in the communities.

On twitter, I saw Mount Sinai Kyabirwa Village Surgical Center in Jinja/Uganda being constructed as I write now. I was impressed, excited to see things happening, and encourage to see Dr. Michael Marin’s (from Mount Sinai Health System) passion for finding resolution to Global Surgical shortages, by bringing surgical facility right to the Kyabirwa Village at Jinja/ Uganda.

I did not know Dr. Marin, even though we work in the same Hospital.  However, after reading the twitter, I met with him, it was a pleasure to hear him ask me what I want? My response to him was to make a difference in people’s lives, as I went on talking, he soon discovered that I have a vision like his. The difference is that he is a doctor/surgeon and I am a nurse. Dr. Marin already made things happened on many grounds! I am on the journey to make things happened.  Please stay tune…

Website is still under construction and waiting for reinstatement, which takes a month.

Please come back and visit:

Thank you,



February 7, 2019

So last week was a wonderful week, with lots of waking up (if I was sleeping). I think a lot when I am in bed, so I did not sleep that much because I was very emotional. January started with so much, and I happened to activate my dormant media sites, and I had my say. The previous week, I went to GuideStar and read this message about Lanekatuk Memorial Inc., a not for profit organization, which is under construction as of now. It read “This organization has not appeared on the IRS Business Master File in a number of months. It may have merged with another organization or ceased operations” No, this organization’s operation still stands. It will merge only when it needs to.

In addition, the website is under construction, and it will appear on GuideStar when the reinstatement is completed. This is the dream that needs to come through because it is a pursuit for making a difference in peoples lives. If you agree with me, please join me. Thank you.


January 28, 2019

I am back to expressing myself to what I believe in — “Making a difference in people’s lives.” Why? Because I am a mother, a nurse and have been making a difference in people’s life — and I am still doing it.

I am still carrying on the unfinished project, with the hope that people with the same feeling will jump with me on the wagon to make this project happen for my people in Uganda:

  1. Drill a clean water well
  2. Build a mini clinic.

When I founded Lanekatuk Memorial Incorporated — a not for profit organization — in 2010, I had just worked for only two years as a registered nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The challenges I met was the question I was asked: did I have a degree in management? and the perception that I am not being taken seriously. I thought I did not to need more management course since I took some management in my nursing class. However, I decided to go back to school. This time I obtained a Master’s degree in Health Care Administration, in 2015.

                I took a job as assistant manager in 2016. I was promised a job as a manager at the beginning of 2017 in another state, but that did not work out after I had quit my assistant manager position. I remained without a job, but volunteered for four months. I was hired as a manager for Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement and Infection Control at a Nursing Rehabilitation Facility, where I had once volunteered.  The Nursing Facility eliminated the position I had in 2018 and assigned the position to the Director of Nursing office. I remained unemployed for seven additional months, totaling 11 from 2017-2018.

Friends, if you are with me, I found it very stressful and depressing. I was looking for a job every day! I went to 10 interviews, of which in every interview I went to I thought I had the chance to be hired, but was turned down until the last interview. This delayed my plan for the organization project, which I found it very hard when talk about, even if it is a charity project, due to assumptions of greed on my part. No, I am working, I am able to pay my monthly student loan. The fact is, student loan debt accrues at a higher rate every month — I am not in the position to save the $12,000.00 I was told to have at hand to drill a clean water well for the community.

In addition, this ongoing gnawing thoughts, (please read my book “The Gnawing Thoughts” — order from Barnes and Nobles and Amazon) is the fact that when you are from an underdeveloped country living in a developed country like me, your loved ones in the community expect that you make a difference in their lives. I completely understand that, and you as a reader I think you do too, because in America we have food stamps. Even though the government is responsible for it, there are many citizens who jump in and help communities! I cannot because I don’t have enough! I need help from a person like you. Thank you.

Believe me or not, my father’s prediction when I was young happened to be true now that he is dead. On one occasion, for some reason he was upset and told us that he was preparing us to be better citizens, and with time help people around the world. In fact, my father died like a dog, after he was beaten by Joseph Kony’s rebel group. He did not get any medical attention. I am a nurse, I was not with him, none of my brothers and sisters were with him — and yes, as of now, I am shedding tears because I neither gave him my nursing therapeutic touch, nor my Total Loving Care (TLC). He was not given pain medication to reduce his pain from the beating… Well, the local well I helped him dig is what the community is still drinking water from. I will update that I have not been there to see, since the last time I was there in 2010, but I received this information via text.

I am working again, and catching up — the Gnawing Thoughts of not being able to make a difference in small community like this one is driving me crazy, the one attribute that I noted is the impact of the Not for profit Organization (NGO’S) who have been in a war zone and drilled clean water in some areas, but this particular community have been left out!!! Please THINK how you can make a difference. Contact us. Thank you.

Please visist:


October 28, 2010


Media contact:

Hida Jessie Piersma, President and Founder

Lanekatuk Memorial, Inc. Moves Forward

Tax Exempt Status to Benefit Contributors

New Hartford, New York, October 19, 2010 – Lanekatuk Memorial, Inc. announces its receipt of tax-exempt status as determined by the IRS.  The 501(c)(3) status qualifies Lanekatuk Memorial, Inc. to receive tax-deductible bequests, devises, transfers, or gifts.  As a public charity, those that sponsor Lanekatuk Memorial, Inc. can receive a federal tax deduction.

Lanekatuk Memorial, Inc. was founded in 2009 by Ugandan American Hida Jessie Piersma.  Piersma, of New Hartford, survived a long and bloody regime under Idi Amin and the LRA rebellion led by Joseph Kony in her homeland, as well as the murder of her father, Augustino Lanek-Atuk, after whom the organization is named.  Piersma has also authored her autobiography, “The Gnawing Thoughts,” which details her struggles overcoming obstacles in Uganda, immigrating to Italy, and eventually the United States.

In a recent interview Piersma stated, “My goal is to open a medical clinic and school in my old home in memory of my father.  To that end, I have founded Lanekatuk Memorial, Inc.  The war in northern Uganda is considered over, but after nearly 20 years of war and devastation, the Ugandan government is telling people to return to their villages, while in truth there is literally nothing to return home to; where 20 years ago a village once stood, now there is nothing but bush and rock.”

The mission of Lanekatuk Memorial, Inc. is to bring health, education, and social intellectual development to people whose lives were negatively impacted in the war zones of northern Uganda.

The primary aims of the organization are to provide and expand education and healthcare services, practicing sustainable development in these fields throughout northern Uganda.

Lanekatuk Memorial, Inc. maintains a website at

# # #

Hida Jessie Piersma is available for interviews.

Lanekatuk Memorial, Inc.

Hida Jessie Piersma ’08 – Profile

September 3, 2010

Utica College has posted an Alumni Profile about me on their website. Please click on the link below to view it. Thank you.

Hida Jessie Piersma ’08 – Profile.

My Journey To Uganda, Gulu

July 25, 2010

      My Journey To Uganda, Gulu                                       

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, from the pictures you see at the you will begin to feel the need of the people of the Paduny Parish. In July of 2010, I visited them and my heart was broken. The Paduny people crowded around me and asked me why they had been forgotten when their need are so great. I told them that I did not forget them that is why I wrote the book “The Gnawing Thoughts”, and Founded Lanekatuk Memorial Incorporated.

Paduny has no secure water source, a parish of 4,600 people, and the natural sources of water within the parish are drying up the well in the  picture  at the web site you will see  is the very water they are drinking now. The Paduny people need health care, the most reliable source of care is The Gulu Referral Hospital 30 Km away in Gulu city, and you will see the condition of this hospital in the pictures at the website. The sick must get there by walking, bicycling, or as many do, on the back of a motorcycle over rough and unmaintained roads. The Paduny people are in need of education, but children must walk long distances to schools that are understaffed and poorly equipped. The Paduny people need a sustainable economy, prior to Idi Amin and the war with the LRA the locals made a sustainable living through agriculture and local markets, they need help in re-establishing those markets.

As you look through these pictures, please think about the people of Paduny why they are left uncared for. Please let them know they are not forgotten and help them now. Please donate money, materials, or volunteer. Please click the DONATE button now or click the CONTACT US button to request more information.

Thank you,

Hida Jessie Piersma

Founder and President Lanekatuk Memorial, Inc.

Observer-Dispatch, By Mary Nadeau June 2010

June 8, 2010

Observer-Dispatch,  Mary Nadeau,  Interview June  2010

Why did you write the book?

One day when I was a child, it rained so hard that we could not work in the fields and I had some time to spend together with my dad. Dad showed me an old note that he had written. It read, “God has given me a gift, another girl at 11:30 pm.”  I was in fourth grade that year, so I read the note and smiled at my dad.  The next thing I decided to do was to imitate my dad by writing what I felt like writing down.

                I kept on writing from that time to the present. My writing developed and has turned out to be the focus of my life. I cannot stop thinking about how I can improve my life and my writing and make them more meaningful. These gnawing thoughts about my life have inspired me to create a book for the public that lets people learn about my feelings and experiences from my childhood up until now. Maybe they will compare it to their life to see whether they have an easier or worse life than mine.

                This is the sweet and bitter taste of my life; the pursuit of happiness and the perseverance I have always shown that makes me feel as if I raise my hand up there, close to the fully ripe fruits of the mango tree that I used to pick and eat fresh during lunch time. I always wanted and still want that feeling to come back.

Are you a nurse now? What Kind? RN? Where did you go to school for nursing? In Utica?

Currently I work as a registered nurse. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Utica College of Syracuse University in 2008.

Where do you work? And what type of nursing do you do?

                I work at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City in a very fast paced medical unit. My work is very tiring, physically and mentally but I enjoy every moment of it especially when I see my patients regain their health and return home thanking me for the care I gave to them. The patients and I both know that life is worth living.

Is your child with you here? In school? Boy? Girl?

                I have a daughter, a stepson, and a son. My daughter was born in Uganda and eventually she moved to Italy with me and then finally to America. She graduated from New Hartford Central School and went to Utica College for three years before enlisting in the Navy, were she is continuing her school at Strayer University as she serves. My stepson lives in the Utica area and my son, born in America, is currently attending New Hartford Central School and commutes regularly with my husband between New Hartford and New York City.  We consider New York City my workplace and New Hartford our home.

How have your past experiences shaped who you are today?

                The most significant influence on my life was my parents, especially my dad. Dad struggled very hard to raise five children alone through war, draught, and poverty. My dad never gave up or abandoned us at a time when most others would have left us with relatives or strangers. While I was in Italy, my dad was walking along a roadway near our village when he was attacked and beaten by rebels and then left to die. He died alone. My dad and mom both wanted me to be a nurse. I am proud of both of them and I hope they are proud of all the work I have done and what I have accomplished in my life, with my education, my work, my family, and bearing up under so many difficulties on three separate continents. I promised myself I would not give up, and I will keep on going relentlessly. This comes from my dad’s example to me and in the end the ultimate sacrifice he made for me and my siblings. His sacrifice is one of the “Gnawing Thoughts” that pushes me ever forward.

Your advice to Americans?

There are three pieces of advice I would give to Americans. The first is, don’t give up. These are relatively difficult times that Americans are finding themselves in, but they are not impossible times. Hard work and perseverance still does pay, but we may all have to work a little harder and persevere a little longer to reach our goals. The second is, better yourself. Take a class, get in shape, eat right, whatever it is you chose to do, when you better yourself you also better your country.  The third thing is once a week turn off the TV, computer, Blackberry, or whatever your particular distraction is,  and help. There are many organizations that need volunteers, like mine, Lanekatuk Memorial, or help your neighbor, help a veteran, or within your family, help each other.  These things not only help you but they help America as well.

Are you a citizen of the U.S. now? Plan to be?

When I immigrated to Italy, I retained my Ugandan citizenship. After I married my husband we discussed about whether we should live in Italy or the United States and decided on living in the United States and that I would apply for citizenship here. It was not an easy decision for me for despite all that I had been through Uganda was and shall always be “home.” One of the wonderful things about America is that I can be an American and still retain for the most part my Ugandan heritage. It took a great deal of commitment and effort from both my husband and I but in 2004, while standing in the Oneida County Executive Chambers, I raised my hand, took the oath, and became an American citizen. One amusing anecdote was that during a particular interview  from the immigration office, they took my husband and I in separately and asked us a series of questions. One of the questions they asked was “What did you have for supper last night?” I had made stake and had over cooked it.  When it was my husband’s turn the interviewer asked him, “What did you have for dinner last night?” Being a typical American male he couldn’t remember, so the interviewer helped him along and said “So what happened at dinner?” and he said, “Oh yes, the steak got burned” and everyone had a good laugh.

Any other comments?

                I have three major goals remaining that I would like to accomplish in my life time. The first is to return home and visit my father’s grave and say my final goodbyes, to thank the people who buried him, and hopefully find a little peace in that aspect of my life. The second is to continue my schooling and become a Nurse Practitioner. The third thing is to open a medical clinic and school in my old home in the memory of my father. To that end I have founded Lanekatuk Memorial, Inc., part of the proceeds from my book will go to the organization. The war in northern Uganda is considered over, but after nearly twenty years of war and devastation the Ugandan government is telling the people to return back to their villages, while in truth is there is literally nothing to return home to. Where twenty years ago a village once stood now there is nothing but bush and rock. I would ask your readers to please help. They can go to our website at for more information.

What Keeps A person Advancing?

May 26, 2010

                              What Keeps A Person Advancing?

In my book The Gnawing Thoughts,   I said that I kept on advancing towards my goals, and I am still advancing and so are you as well. Read my book, and find some of the obstacles I have overcome. Do you think that you should shut yourself up under dire circumstances? The answer is no, you should keep on moving as long as you are doing the right thing. No one should keep you from pursuing your goal which can bring about a sustainable life, a life worth living and also contribute to the greater good of the world. I believe that each individual has unique talents and that they should not be blocked from using those talents. People who block others can be compared to a chronic disease. A chronic disease can block you from living your daily routine, and even kill you at an early age. To defeat chronic disease you take medication for as long as you live. To defeat being blocked, you look for an alternate means of achieving your goals despite the obstacle in your path.

We say no to diseases by treating ourselves with medication, because if we do not the disease could kill us. It is the same as if being blocked by someone who does not want you to succeed. We remain in compliance with our medical regiment that we have been instructed to follow, but when we are taking the medication and we find that the medication we are taking is hurting us other than helping us, we discuss it with our doctor and consider trying alternate medication or methods. It is in this manner that we keep on moving with our life, without being stopped by the disease. So, if you find yourself blocked, you probably have to find a better means of unblocking yourself without causing conflict with the blocker, and you keep living side by side with your blocker, just as surviving a chronic disease. For this reason, please do not give up to evil people who may want to stop you from your goal. Other than causing conflict, you may be better off being away from the person who blocks you.

Please, if we do not like someone or what they stand for, would it not be good to leave that person alone and have nothing to do with them rather than building that inner yearning of wanting to tear that person down or looking forward to  seeing that person’s breakdown or even ending his or hers’ life? We equally deserve to live because we were equally created by God or whatever means anyone wants to believe he or she was created. Still, the ability of creative thought was instilled by miracle. Sometimes what you see around the world, or what happens to your next door neighbor takes your breath away and makes you feel like vomiting to see a person taking another’s life or world away, as if they created that life or own their world and feel they have the right to end it or take it away. Despite this, we continue to pray that the world will become a better place for everyone to live in and we continue to move on regardless of the obstacles people place in our path.

Thank you for reading my blog. Best wishes to all.

Please visit our website at:

Unseen Reality

May 10, 2010

                                         Unseen Reality

When I was finishing high school, I applied to a nursing school and after graduation, I was admitted, however, I was unable to attend because I had to nurse my baby, and there was war. When I came to America, the thoughts about nursing and making a difference in people’s lives kept on “Gnawing” at me and this contributed to my book “The Gnawing Thoughts.” I decided to begin taking classes to become a nurse, and I went back to school. I learned a lot about patient care in school and in the hospital working as a nurse assistant. By the time I graduated, I believed I was well prepared for my profession.

When I began working as a nurse, I would wonder why some patients complained that they were not satisfied with the care they were given. I soon noticed that when I walked in and introduced myself to my patients and said that I would be taking care of them for  the next twelve hours, some of my patients would tell me that they had not been seen  by anyone or given food for the whole day.

But the unseen reality is that all what is done by  healthcare personnel is focused on patient care from  registration to discharge, on a typical patient stay in the hospital about fifty people are involved in one patient’s care, and the one who spent the longest time and  advocated for the patient is the nurse. Maybe a patient is in pain, then the nurse will have to assess the patient, take the patient’s vital signs, review the chart, and if there is no scheduled medication to be given, call the doctor and relate the situation to the doctor who then will order the pain medication. Again the nurse will have to call the pharmacist, who then will have to prepare the medication, and send a pharmacy technician with the medication or if the technician is not available, then  the nurse will have to leave other patients, who may also be complaining about pain or other issues, to get the medicine.

The other unseen reality is that well meaning visitors who come to visit patients may be interfering with patient’s care. They may bring food from outside of the hospital, which may interfere with the patient’s medication the result of which of this is that the expected outcome for the patient’s care is not met, and the patient remains unsatisfied with the care, not knowing that it was due to a lack cooperation between the patient and the care givers involved around him or her. For example, a diabetic patient was sneaking candy in to the unit, and the nurses and doctors wondering why the patient’s blood sugar is not being controlled even with the coverage given.

Patients with chronic diseases need to maintain their diet and compliance to the medicine, to keep their condition under control. A common non compliance issue is with patients on antibiotics. Patients need to finish their course of antibiotic in order to shade the bacteria, but some patients when they start feeling better, they stop taking  the medication, and  when the disease reoccurs they remain unsatisfied with the patient education and care they were given.

To bring about excellence in care to the patients, the single most important thing is “listening” both the patients and the caregivers involves must listen to one another, when a patient says he or she is in pain, that patient is in pain, and when a nurse or a doctor teaches a patient about his or her confirmed diagnosis, a patient must listen and comply with the patients teaching on how to keep the disease under control. Unfortunately, some patients after leaving the hospital revert to their previous lifestyle.

As the mission statement of Lanekatuk Memorial Incorporated states, our focus is to educate, and eradicate ignorance. Most of the deaths faced in Uganda are due to ignorance and lack of resources. Anybody who is willing to donate or volunteer can contact us at:


                                               Thank you and may God bless you all.

The Gnawing Thoughts Book Signings

May 4, 2010

The Gnawing Thoughts Book signings:
June 19, 2010: Dunham Public Library
76 Main Street Whitesboro 13492
Tel. 315 -736-9734.
June 26, 2010: New Hartford Public Library
2 Library Lane
New Hartford, NY 13413
Tel 7315-733-1535

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