As part of our study we want to recruit patients from all over Harare so we don’t have a biased sample. Therefore we’d like to recruit patients from all of the poly-clinics in town (there are about 20) so we picked out the 6 that typically see the most TB patients and we decided to visit each one and describe the study, with our letter of introduction from the ministry. We decided to print study flyers to leave at each clinic to remind the doctors and nurses of our inclusion and exclusion criteria and contact information. We thought we could just distribute these on our own, but Salome made some calls and found out we had to get the flyer approved by MRCZ. If only we had known just a few days before! We could have included it in our packet. So we printed another cover letter and made two copies then headed down to the office to submit it. There was only one person there and she told us everyone else was at a forum and would be gone for the rest of the day. A bit of a strike out there, but there’s always Monday.
I spent the rest of the day working on making this database and making plans for the next week.
At 4 pm we had a Skype call with John scheduled. A 9 hour time difference is difficult to schedule around. It was well before normal working hours for him and after hours for us since everyone leaves at 4 pm on Fridays. Salome stayed for 20 minutes but then she headed home to her family while I stayed and talked to John. A lot had happened since he left and we still had a lot to do so we talked for nearly 2 hours. Most of that was business but we chatted about personal stuff for about 20 minutes at the end. It was nice to hear that my work is appreciated. I think John is very glad I am here organizing everything.
By the time I we were done and I packed up for the evening it was nearly 6 pm and the office was deserted. I didn’t feel like going straight back and spending another evening locked in my room so I walked to an area where I heard there was a mall to check out some of the shops. What I found was a series of grocery stores next to each other with a take away Chinese restaurant thrown in for good measure. Not exactly what I had in mind. I wandered the aisles for a little while to compare prices and waste some time. As it turns out, there are good fruits and vegetables in Zimbabwe; they are just not at the stores that are close to where I stay! I was not feeling inspired to cook, but I bought some yogurt and granola to tide me over for a few days.
I took a taxi home since it was dark and I spent my Friday night reading “The Hobbit” and went to sleep quite early since I only got 4 hours of sleep the night before.