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Our first mapping excursion

Posted by on May 30, 2011

We asked Makame and the driver, Juma, to pick us up at our house at 8 am so we wouldn’t have to bike to work then drive past our house on the way to where we would be doing the mapping on Saturday. At 8:15 we called and asked where he was. Tanya tried to tell him where we lived (there are no addresses here and everyone just goes by landmarks), but instead of listening, he just said, “I’m coming” and hung up. Finally we found them and were off.
Our first stop was at the health facility of Fuoni kibodeni, where we planned to get patients names from the medical records so we could find the houses of the malaria patients. When we got to the health facility, the health care worker couldn’t find the Malaria case record form that we needed and the outpatient record form was missing the dates of our cases. We hung around for an hour while they looked for the records to no avail. Finally, we gave up and told them to call us if they found them.

Then we went to the Fuoni health facility, where they had the patient registries for their cases. We got the names we needed and one of the health workers said she would help us find the patients. We drove down the road, stopping a few times to ask people if they knew these people. No one could help us. We asked around for three hours but no one knew where these two people lived.

As it turns out, both patients were under 5 years old and we had their names, but not their parent’s name, which turned out to be a big problem because here a whole family does not have the same last name. In Zanzibar, a son’s name is his father’s last name and his last name is his grandfather’s first name. If we thought not having addresses was difficult, not knowing the parent’s name made the situation much more challenging.

After 4 hours total everyone was tired and cranky so we decided to pack it in for the day even though we hadn’t done any mapping. I think that was the right idea. We made a game plan for the next day and week and then went home.
Tanya and I wanted to get some spices for cooking, so we decided to ride into town (yay no taxi!) and go to the market. First we had to get bike locks to we could secure our bikes though. On the way to the market, we passed by the Zantel store, which does cell phone and internet service. We stopped to ask them about internet rates, but they were closed until Monday.

The market here is unlike any shopping experience in the states. There are a bunch of booths set up on the street and in this square and you can buy just about anything, for a price (although very few things have prices on them). We wheeled our bikes around looking for a place that sold locks before just asking someone where to get one. Everyone here is very nice and helpful, so we quickly had four guys running around getting us bike locks. The only ones they had are these stainless steel wires wrapped in plastic but that’s what everyone uses so hopefully our bikes won’t get stolen. Oh, and there are no metal posts to tie your bike to; you just lock the back wheel to the frame and hope.

That accomplished, we went in search of spices, which is not hard when you’re on The Spice Islands. The spices are incredibly cheap here and I will be stocking up on some before heading home. I also needed shampoo but couldn’t find anything that was a good price.

The market quickly became overwhelming so we left and headed to a shop Tanya knew that had some other things we wanted. Back at home we hung out and watched a bit of TV then got the internet running with our new portable modems and airtime.

Overall, it was a productive day, although the second half much more so than the first.

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