Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Two global health experiences in one!

We've officially begun our work here in Kampala. Last Tuesday we participated in a scavenger hunt with Nate's organization - eMi. It was right up my alley and a great way to get to know the city a bit more. Since then we have been traveling to work together in Sarah and Dan's rugged car (a must in a city with so many potholes). Without trying, we managed to find 2 orgs that are only 2 miles apart. So he drops me off about 1 mile from the Hope Clinic and then drives the other mile to eMi in time for daily prayer time. At the end of the day we meet up some how and Nate drives us to our house - a 15 minute drive. Someday I may say that I drive Nate home, but for now I am "letting" him deal with the wheel!...Driving here is ridiculously crazy, scary and unorganized.

So far we've been blessed with good health. I have had some trouble with excessive, horrible dreams at night - a common side effect of the malaria meds we're taking. For those of you who have heard about my normal dreams, this may not seem like a negative side-effect, but it is. I usually dream, but they often involve kittens and Christmas. All this has changed since Mefloquine entered my body. SO, I've decided to stop taking them. Mzungus definitely get malaria, but it is very treatable and not terribly widespread in the city.

Today I had a great afternoon at the clinic. I started a "train the trainer" nutrition program for people in various communities who are often major sources of medical information in their communities. Since Africans are often much more relational than Americans, we used our first 2-hour session simply getting to know each other. I introduced myself and right away someone said, "oh! like Alicia Keys!". Yep, exactly. Five out of the six attendees spoke English and one was willing to translate in Luganda - the most common language after English. We played nutrition games and talked about which topics would be best for the 6-week training. I was pleasantly surprised by the group's honesty and openess about what would and wouldn't work. Tomorrow I will start another class - this one is targeted towards parents and will likely focus on infant feeding, hygeine, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and diet diversity.

One last thought - I was thinking tonight how cool it is that Nate and I are here together. Our drives home are filled with stories from our days, and this makes me feel like we are both having a "double-time" experience. Working separately during the day and sharing transport, stories and food together at night is the perfect combination!

As always, thank you for your love and support! Enjoy fall for us in DC and WI (and wherever else you're reading from where fall is a beautiful season)

Love,
Alicia

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