Thursday, August 20, 2009


We learned all about the entomological side of things this week. That means we looked at a whole bunch of dead and living mosquitoes and learned all about what this facility is doing in research. It was so bazaar. I would walk up to a cage of mosquitoes, breathe, and they would all flock to the side of the cage closest to the heat from my breath. Gross. And weird that something so small can cause so much pain and death for so many. But Tanzania just received over 100 million US dollars from WHO to help get bed nets to everyone, so that is awesome news. One of WHO's directors visited this research facility run by the same people at a different location a few weeks ago and was very impressed. She says she looks forward to coming back in 2015 and celebrating the end of malaria deaths in Tanzania. Me too!

We went on rounds (kind of) with medical students on Wednesday in the hospital. I spoke with a lot of different people with all sorts of different ailments from burns to malaria to fractures. All ages. There was a painting on the wall of starving children with big red X's through them, followed by a picture of a smiling fat baby and instructions on how to get food for your kids. Probably not something I would see in the US! It is culturally normal for people to just hold hands here, but it was still kind of odd for me to be walking around this busy hospital with my male med student translator holding my hand. A typical day here is usually classes taught by the hospital doctors and researchers, and visiting the hospital wards or going and talking to kids at a nearby school.

Yesterday we went to the local mosque and spoke with the Imam and some of his assistants. They were very kind to us. He told us how he knew the mosque would be happy to help with health care needs for the community, like distributing bed nets, and they would be willing to work with the local catholic church, but they had never been asked by anyone to do so. There is so much potential there for effective change and inter-religious collaboration. It is exciting. And we took a super awesome/incredibly akward group picture afterwards that included the men and women separated by a huge amount of space and the assistant Imam staring straight at the ground. You will have to see it at some point. It kind of makes you uncomfortable just looking at it. We laughed for a long time.

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