Archive for ‘Travel’

September 11, 2011

Sad happenings in Zanzibar

This is freaky: Tanzania ship sinks, nearly 200 bodies recovered. The ferry that carries people between Dar es Salaam and Pemba capsized, leaving around 200 people dead. These ships are frequently overcrowded because they are the cheapest way of traveling between Zanzibar and the mainland. And to top it off, a few weeks ago three bars in Stone Town, Zanzibar was torched by people protesting the serving of alcohol.

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August 16, 2011

The “face of schisto” – why do we need to see it to believe?

I’ve avoided my computer for long enough, I suppose, since returning home. After a long month of driving and flying I’m finally in the US again and feeling back to normal after some jet lag and family time.

My fatigue may have been due to the fact that I spent my last few days abroad with my butt barely on the seat, off-roading it on the rockiest roads known to man (or me) as we looked at schools on Unguja to be included in the elimination program.

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August 1, 2011

Mzungus taking photos of toilets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday I tagged along as researchers David Rollinson (Natural History Museum) and Steffi Knopp (Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute) drove the island to visit 23 of the 45 schools that will be included in the elimination program. Each school will be placed in one of the three arms of the study: treatment only, treatment and behavior change, or treatment and snail control.

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July 29, 2011

Tokomeza Kichocho!

Yesterday I learned that Zanzibarians don’t mess around when the second Vice President of Zanzibar (yes, there are more than one) comes to visit. The launch of ZEST has been building for months, and yesterday it culminated in dancing, singing, speeches and laughter. T-shirts and hats were even made just for the occasion.

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July 27, 2011

I couldn’t leave out the mini-safari…

I spent the weekend in Nakuru, sight seeing and visiting the national park at Lake Nakuru. I also spent some time at the elephant orphanage and giraffe center in Nairobi.

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July 27, 2011

Four days of traveling later…

I have finally settled down in one spot after days of driving and flying. There’s been a complete change of scenery; I am now on the island of Pemba, the less developed of the two main islands that make up Zanzibar.

Pemba. Control your drooling.

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July 21, 2011

Owning your health – The community’s role in schistosomiasis control

SCORE is a giant. All of its different projects require immense amounts of manpower, more villages to study than can be found, and the cooperation of those being tested and treated. It seems like all the larger studies have smaller studies tacked on; for the major drug interventions going on in several countries at once, some have subtle morbidity studies attached.

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July 18, 2011

This was my weekend… how was yours?

Everything’s bigger in Kenya, forget Texas.

This weekend was full of walking. Walking and eating.

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July 15, 2011

Almost eaten alive by children

I made it out to the field yesterday with the two study coordinators and a field team. We traveled to two schools about 45 minutes from Kisumu, both in remote areas with dirt and rocks for a road leading up to them. The children at one school get porridge on treatment day, and are generally excited for the treat. So when we drove up, they had bellies full of porridge and were hanging off every edifice I could see, as well as crowding around the ground watching us pull in.

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July 13, 2011

On to the good stuff – Kisumu, Kenya

Kenya is at the same time just what I was expecting and not at all what I thought it would be. The one thing I can’t get used to is all the people. They’re everywhere. Everyone either walks or bikes here, making the city seem larger than it is. Vehicles are reserved for public transportation, wealthier residents and foreigners. Even New York City doesn’t seem as lively as Kisumu because the streets are constantly invaded by people crossing, bikes swerving everywhere and figures walking down dirt paths on the edges of badly paved roads.

I keep asking myself what it is that makes my eyes strain from trying to take everything in. It’s not beauty; Lake Victoria and the nature surrounding Kisumu are stunning, while the town itself is not. But somehow it demands just as much attention as an ancient Italian city. Every building, even the tiniest shack, has words and illustrations and slogans painted on. Just walking down the street is an experience; children yell “How are you? How are you?” and tiny hands reach out for contact. I’ve also shook more hands in three days than I ever have in my life. At first I was a little leery (I hate handshakes anyway, too many germs), but I feel welcome no matter where I am or who I’m meeting, which you just don’t find in the US. And tilapia. LOTS of tilapia. I’m surprised I haven’t sprouted scales yet from all the fish I’ve eaten out of Lake Victoria.

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