Saturday, August 7, 2010

Familiar Surroundings, New Faces

After taking advantage of two long plane flights to start to catch up on my sleep debt from last year, I arrived safely in Kampala on Tuesday night.

Henry, one of the TB Research Unit drivers, picked me up and took me to the Case Western Reserve Guest House in Kololo (which Ekwaro calls the Beverly Hills of Uganda). The house is very nice, but I'm hoping to move to a place that is easier to access and less expensive as soon as possible. Because I might be working in several different places in the city, figuring out where exactly to live is a bit tricky. Right now I'm thinking somewhere in the Mengo area so that I can get to Mulago Hospital (the national referral hospital) and JCRC's offices in Mengo quickly.

CWRU House in Kololo
Until recently, all of JCRC's facilities were in Mengo, which is near the city center. However, they now have a gorgeous campus in Lubowa, which is south of Kampala on the way to Entebbe airport. The outpatient services have been moved to Lubowa, but the inpatient wards and labs are still in Mengo. There's a shuttle that runs between JCRC Mengo and JCRC Lubowa, and I need to find out if I can just take that to get to Lubowa, rather than taking several matatus (shared taxis).

On Friday, Ekwaro and I visited the JCRC offices in Lubowa for the first time in order to meet the director, Peter Mugyenyi, the deputy-directory, Cissy Kityo, and the Fogarty coordinator, Nelson Kakande. They were extremely warm and welcoming, which helped soothe some of the restlessness I had been feeling after being in country for a few days without meeting anyone from work. We also met with several other staff members, and will be having more in-depth meetings with JCRC staff over the next few weeks to learn more about JCRC's work and potential projects for this year.

The same day, we also met up with Aggrey and Brandon, the Fogarty Scholars at the Infectious Disease Institute. One of their main projects is the development of a rural cohort of HIV+ patients who will undergo cardiovascular tests (ankle-brachial index, EKG, etc.) in order to assess the cardiovascular burden of HIV and ARV treatment. It's a fantastic project developed by Fogarty Scholars last year and will be continued by scholars in the future.

Other random notes:
- After having a Blackberry for two years, typing with T9 feels really complicated.
- I have 3G mobile internet that is surprisingly fast. 4G coming soon, I'm told!
- I finally had matooke again, which I love and miss whenever I'm not in Uganda. I need to learn how to cook it this year so I can make it in the US.
- Bubbles O'Leary Irish Pub is still one of the best people-watching places I've ever been to. Some things never change. (Also, they have trivia every other Thursday!)
- Security in Kampala is much, much more stringent than before; almost every business has a metal detector now.

1 comment:

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