This is my first blog entry. I usually don’t think my life is so exciting to warrant anyone reading about on a daily basis, but since I’m about to embark on two months of adventure, I thought I’d give this a try.
For those of you who don’t know, I’m going to Zanzibar on Thursday and I’ll be there for two months, studying malaria. Specifically, I’ll be traveling around the island (Zanzibar is off the east coast of Africa and is part of Tanzania) finding people who came to certain clinics last year and this year with a diagnosis of malaria. For last year’s cases, we have data on day the person came to the clinic, which clinic, their sex and age. My 3 fellow students and I will then go to the clinics, search through their records, get the person’s name and village they live in then compile all of that info. Once we have a list of villages, we’ll go to each one, and with the help of an interpreter (they speak Swahili) and the village elder (Sheha in Swahili) we’ll find the people’s houses and take GPS way points at each house. The goal is to create maps of the island over time to look at where the cases of malaria are occurring and to help inform the government of measures to be taken to decrease cases. At least that’s the theory anyway. As is the case with any research, we’ll see how that goes.
I still have three days until I leave, so I haven’t really started packing yet, but there are small piles of things spread through the house that have been getting bigger lately and I should probably start putting those small piles into one big pile. I started taking my anti-malarial medicine (mefloquin) on Saturday (This trip, I’m sure I’ll need it!) and I stocked up on DEET and lemon eucalyptus spray as well as sunscreen. I even took the extra precaution and sprayed my new skirts with the anti-mosquito permethrin. Hopefully, I won’t get malaria.
Speaking of new skirts: I had to buy some because women dress more conservatively there. 95% of Zanzibaris are Muslim, but as a white person, they don’t expect me to cover my hair or anything. But it’s not wise to wear tank tops (which is killin’ me) or skirts/shorts above the knee. Hence, the new clothes.
And now it’s time to savor the last few days in America by watching movies on my wide screen TV, having Little Star pizza and hanging out with my friends.