Monday, September 20, 2010


I'm still nesting. Brandon and I moved into an apartment a few weeks ago, but it's taken some time for me to fully unpack, get organized, and make the place feel more like a home. Since this apartment is probably the nicest place I've ever lived besides my parents' house, I'm not complaining too much. I bought a couple of paintings late last week, which gave the place a bit of color and personality.

My room

My room


Living room

Dining room

Also, in terms of settling in, I got an office at the JCRC Mengo campus today. Though I enjoy having the flexibility to work from home, internet cafes, or various places at Mulago, I'm looking forward to having a particular place to sit and do work every day. I'm also hoping that it pushes me to work a bit more, rather than getting caught up in watching more 'Mad Men' episodes. Now, I just need to be able to find a few boda drivers that don't get lost on the way to the JCRC from Kamwokya.

In terms of my research work on HIV in older adults, I have lots of ideas, but actually putting together a dataset that makes some sense is proving to be a quite a challenge, as I should have anticipated. Nothing insurmountable, I think, and in a sense, figuring out how to overcome that challenge is the whole point of this year anyways. My PI from the US comes into town later this week, and I'm looking forward to getting his perspective on some of the ideas I've been working on.

One of the highlights of last week was an advocacy training for HIV/AIDS activists on how to use the upcoming elections to secure commitments from potential lawmakers. There were lots of similarities with the birddogging/advocacy training sessions that Health GAP  and AMSA activists hold in the US, so it was really cool to see what resonated with activists here, what needed to be adapted, the differences in barriers to effective birddogging, etc. It was also really nice to spend a day with advocacy-oriented people. With all my research work, I miss having friends and colleagues around who have that particular streak of vibrancy, set of priorities, and grounded perspective.

Another big part of last week was trying to figure out how to digitize documents in the Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MUCHS) Library. I'm interested in the project in order to make the knowledge generated by scholars here available to students, faculty, and researchers in Uganda and around the world. Makerere is one of the preeminent centers of medical education in Africa, so this is a pretty serious amount of knowledge that's lying unused and largely inaccessible. The project is currently facing a major hurdle: all of the theses are bound, and they only have access to one flat-bed scanner. Almost a dozen people back home have been helping me get in touch with people who have experience in this field, and all of those contacts have been very helpful so far. I'm getting a better idea of what we'll need to do/build to speed up the scanning process. Now I've got to convince people/organizations to help me find the equipment or money to buy equipment (probably around $500-$800).

Oh, and I went to The Royal Ascot Goat Races, and sat in the VIP section, thanks to some friends (and friends of friends).

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