We told Makame to meet at our house at 8 am to get to the Bubweni Misufini health facility by 8:30, the time he said we would arrive. He and the driver picked us up at 8:20 so we were a bit late. When we got to the health facility, there were people everyone, which is unusual for a Saturday. Then we learned that there was a community health meeting going on that day that Makame failed to mention. All of the doctors, health care workers and the district supervisor were busy getting ready for their own activities but were kind enough to help us with finding the names we needed. I felt so bad disturbing them though. If Tanya and I had known, we would have gone there a different day.
The doctor had all of the patient records that we needed but we noticed that all of the resident villages in their records were different than the ones we had recorded. We were confident it was the same person, but confused as to why the information was different.
The fortunate part was that all of the village elders were there so we had a lot of people helping to figure out where these people live. Unfortunately, they didn’t know all of the names on our list. We had about 9 names from three different general areas we were looking for. We found one pretty easily, which was great. We found a young girl with the same name as one of our patients, but the wrong age and malaria diagnosis. We walked or sat around a lot of villages while the children stared at us and the adults tried to think of all of their neighbor’s children. It was hot and sweaty. I drank half a liter of water and was still thirsty. We were out all morning and I got hungry around 11. I don’t know what I would have done without the glucose biscuits!
Overall, this rural area was no easier to map than the urban areas of last weekend. We only found two of the 9 cases, which was quite disappointing. The Zanzibar countryside is very pretty and we got to see some amazing landscapes.
The project itself is not going so well and the bit of data we are collecting is costing a lot of money and may not add a lot of value in the end. At points I feel like I am wasting my time here. I am learning a lot, which is great, but I’m not sure my contributions will be meaningful.
We were pretty bummed and tired in the afternoon and it rained a bit so we hung out at home, reading and napping which was great.
In the evening, we went to Kristina and Deler’s for dinner. They are two researchers from Sweden who are working on malaria projects on other parts of the island. Tanya got to know them last summer and I have met them several times now. They are very nice and fun and cooked a feast for the ten of us they invited over. It was an enjoyable evening talking to new people and getting to know them but the music was too loud and it was hard to hear and I really wanted to go home at 11 but didn’t want to walk by myself so I had to wait until midnight when we could get a ride. I’m glad I went and was social, but because I wake up to the call to prayer at 5 am every day and get up at 6-6:30, I was very tired by the end and probably not very good company.