There was no power at the house when I got up this morning which normally wouldn’t have been a problem except there’s very low water pressure when there’s no power and I finished the last of my bread and planned on making oatmeal for breakfast. Of course, there was no way to heat the water so I settled for some roti (a flat bread sort of like a tortilla) and raisins.
Salome and I planned to go to one of the clinics in the western suburbs first thing in the morning to screen some patients for our study so she picked me up from my house at 7:30 and we were off.
All TB patients go to a clinic early in the morning to receive their drug treatment (directly observed therapy, or DOT) so it was not an inconvenience to them to stick around for a few more minutes to talk to us. We (or rather Salome in Shona) spoke to 11 patients over the course of an hour and 2 were eligible for the study so we enrolled them. Things went much smoother and faster than earlier in the week and we were done before 11 am.
Afterward, Salome dropped me off at the office while she went to deliver the specimens to the lab and to drop her car off at home.
While she was gone, Lovemore (a professor at the University of Zimbabwe and my sponsor here) came by to introduce me to Michele Tang, a doctor from Stanford who is planning a study with BRTI and UZ. There were having a meeting with some other doctors at the hospital and asked if I could come so I could sort out my visa issue with the dean’s office (when I arrived I got a tourist visa but I need a student visa). Lovemore was very nice and took us out to lunch but there wasn’t much time so we went to Pizza Inn, a fast food place that serves individual pizzas and sodas.
I sat in on their meeting then Lovemore took me to the dean’s office to get a receipt for my student fee and to get the necessary paperwork. By that time it was late in the afternoon so we agreed to go to the immigration office on Monday. Afterward Lovemore dropped me off at home which was really nice since it was out of his way.
Since it was still early and there was still no power, I took a walk to the post office and mailed post cards (be on the lookout in a few weeks!).
I was really fed up with my housing situation since I was starting to feel unsafe there knowing that people were entering my room while I was gone so I called Jake to see if I could stay with him for a few days. He said that was fine but he was going out to dinner with some colleagues and could only pick me up in a few minutes. So I quickly packed up all of my belongings (I don’t have that much) and threw everything into my bag and told the landlord I was leaving. It just happened that he had guests over for dinner (what are the chances) so I told him I would come back on Sunday to sort out the rent.
I was picked up by Jake and Mark, a guy from the University of Colorado, Denver, who is here evaluating the program that Jake is participating in and we went to the Book Café for dinner and to hear the live music. We were later joined by Dave, the older professor we went to Great Zimbabwe with, and we had a great evening eating, drinking and enjoying the traditional African music featuring the mbari, an instrument with metal keys that is played with the thumbs, and watching the dancing going on. It was a great evening.
Jake lives on the U of Zimbabwe campus in a 4 bedroom house by himself. The place is pretty big for one person and is nice by Zim standards. I can’t stay here for long since I don’t have permission from the university, but it’s great for a few days while I find something else.
It was really nice to have someone to talk to in the evening and to be able to sit in the living room and watch a bit of TV with. Oh, and unless you have cable, there are only two TV channels here: one which is mostly government propaganda and the other which plays bad soap operas, Zim music videos (with very poor production quality) and a few shows from South Africa.