Sorry for the delay-this week has been absolutely crazy (topped off with a stomach bug last night) so I haven’t had too much free time to type this up.

We saw 30 families this week, which is absolutely amazing! We have been averaging around 10-12 per week and were able to accomplish that number in one day! Organized chaos would probably be the best way to describe the week but nonetheless we were able to pull it off. In addition everything was done properly and efficiently (per African standards) which is an added bonus. The study is definitely winding down and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. These next 2 weeks will be devoted to perfecting our numbers/matching them with controls and then in 3 weeks I’ll be headed home!

On Tuesday afternoon we headed to Gulu Prison Primary School to recruit the last of our controls. Yes I know that this sounds awful so let me clarify. A lot of schools here are “prison schools” because in order to attract workers to the prisons they need to have a school close by for their children. In addition some of the children have parents who are actually inmates in the prison. In my opinion the school was very nice, just much more confined/enclosed than St. Mauritz-guess this has something to do with it being right next to the prison. I think my favorite part about going to the schools is watching Twalib interact with the children. He always pushes them to get good grades and to go to secondary school. I think some of these children have had really rough childhoods and just simply need someone to believe in them.

After seeing 12 families on Wednesday we headed to the Immaculate Heart convent to screen some of the local nuns. Our arrival was even sweeter because the guy that opened the gate for us was wearing a Virginia Tech maroon effect shirt! As I mentioned before, the headmistress at St. Mauritz is a nun at this convent and had asked if we would be willing to screen the other sisters. We happily agreed and were told that there would be roughly 20 nuns to screen. Yea…okay. When we arrived there were 50 nuns waiting in a line to be screened. Although it had been an extremely long day, we all agreed that you can’t say no to a nun. It’s physically impossible. We ended up staying until about 8:30 at night until every nun was seen. Thankfully out of all 50 nuns that we saw only 3 of them had abnormalities. Unfortunately one of the younger nuns has RHD and will have to come to the clinic for monthly injections.


The holiest echo screening there ever was


One of nuns getting her blood pressure taken

On Thursday we saw 10 more families, which put an end to our extremely successful week. Unfortunately I must have eaten something bad on Wednesday (although I have no idea what) because I had horrible stomach pains and a fever on Thursday afternoon. When I left work on Thursday I must have been pretty pale since all of the nurses told me “you look whiter than you usually do.” In a setting like this, especially when you have a fever, your mind immediately goes to “ I must have malaria, typhoid etc…” Twalib went into full dad mode and I woke up to 4 missed calls, 2text messages and one of our nurses whom he sent to go check on me knocking on my door. After my dinner of sprite and a single saltine cracker I have to say that I feel 90% better today. Getting sick is inevitable in this environment but I have been extremely fortunate that each time I have been sick it is very short lived.

Tomorrow I will be heading to Kidepo bright and early! Our plan is to get there in time to do a game drive in the afternoon and then to wake up really early on Sunday in hopes of seeing some lions. I’ll let you know how it goes!