Today’s the day!! Can’t believe that after months of planning this moment has actually arrived. I could not be more excited to start this adventure and I can’t wait to keep you updated on my experiences and travels!
First things first, let me answer some of your dying questions. “Scheel you’re going where?” “Wait why?” “Where is Uruguay again? “Are you going to get ebola? Are you sure? I don’t care I’m quarantining you when you get back anyway.” Really, please keep em coming.
1.Where am I going?
If you haven’t caught on yet with the title of this blog….I will be spending the next year, give or take a little, in Uganda (not Uruguay, not Ukraine, UGANDA).
2.What am I doing?
For the next two and a half months I will be working in a clinic in Gulu (Northern Uganda) helping conduct research on Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD). I know, I know. Now you want to know what RHD is. Well, RHD is caused by Rheumatic Fever which results from a group A streptococcal infection (strep throat). When strep is not treated with antibiotics, like it typically is in the US, it can lead to rheumatic fever which can then cause permanent damage to the heart valves. For this study we will be comparing 50 children who present with RHD vs. 50 children who do not have RHD. We will give each child and all first degree family members an echocardiogram in addition to taking a blood sample. The ultimate goal of this study is to try and pinpoint why some kids get RHD while others do not even though most children become infected with strep at some point during their childhood.
3.Are you going to get ebola?
You’re smart. I’ll let you answer this question for yourself.
That’s it for now. Only 19 hrs of traveling between me and my new home!
Newark, NJ–>London, England–>Entebbe, Uganda
PS- Thank you to everyone who took the time to see me before I left, sent me words of encouragement or put up embarrassing photos of me on instagram. You honestly have no idea how much it meant to me and I could not be more lucky to have you all in my life!