Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Africa Update!

It's definitely time for an update, but I have a good reason for the delay.  Unfortunately I caught I stomach flu last weekend and was vomiting, nauseous, and lay in bed for about 2 days with no energy.  I went to the doctor though and got some meds and I have made a full recovery.  It was so bad the day I went to the doctor I had to sit down and rest during the 100m walk from the doctor's office to the pharmacy to pick up my presciption!  Anyways.. I am alive and well.  

So lots has been going on with the diet study and I have been jumping in and helping out as much as possible.  The picture below is me in the field collecting stool samples (not me) of the subject and doing breath tests, questionnaires etc etc. 

 Above is a picture of the 3 subjects (sitting on the ground) and two of the people helping me collect data.

This picture below is a different day out in the field doing HIV, BP and diabetes screening.  We went to the most amazing community way out in the countryside.  I got to drive the 4x4 out here and there were a few hills I wasn't sure if I would get up!  It was so beautiful with a mountain right behind all the huts that I decided to hike up!!  Two ladies joined me but they only made it half way and then I ran the rest of the way and took pictures from the top.  It took 40 minutes to get to the top and the view was amazing!!  This picture below is one of the ladies who lives in the community we were doing the screening at.  She really wanted her picture taken.  All of the community members love it when you ask for their picture so I don't feel shy about bringing out my camera anymore.  Lots of the women put clay on their faces to protect them from the sun.
 The picture below is some of the community members whom we screened.
 It still fascinates me how all the women carry things on their heads so easily.  This is three community members arriving at the screening site.
 This picture below is me half way up the mountain.  The two ladies I was with stopped at this point so we got some great photos.  The view was incredible.
 Here are the two women who came with me.  I was so impressed they made it this far, and also so impressed they expressed interest in coming!!
 The view from the top! 

 This is just a pretty picture of the road out of the community from the back of the 4x4 on our way home.
 Last weekend we went to the Umpholozi Game Reserve.  This was my first safari so despite vomiting a few times it was incredible.  I went with Kate and 2 girls from England who run a charity and raise money for Kate to give out food every month.  They were incredible women and young (28 and 30) so we had a great time.  This is a picture of me leaning out the window of Kate's car at the end of our game drive the first night.  We saw so many animals - giraffes, wild dog (very rare), vultures, white rhino, warthog, zebras, lots of elephants, crocodiles, turtles, buck,  and baboons. 
 We were in and amongst about 10 elephants, including babies!  Kate had her foot on the gas ready to accelerate out of there if any of them showed interest in flipping our cars!  We were trying to be still and be "one with the car," but that's always difficult with a 2 year old and 5 year old in the car haha!!
 This giraffe was so close I thought he was going to put his head in my window! 
Since the weekend I have been very involved with the diet study.  A team has arrived from Edmonton (small world) for the diet study.  Gita is the lead lady and has a PhD in nutritional epidemiology.  They have been out in the field collecting 24 hour recall data on 80 community members.  They ask them to recall everything they ate the day before.  I have inputed all the data into an excel spreadsheet for them and will be doing as much as I can to help with their research during my time left here.  I find it fascinating and am excited to learn more about what they do.  I may even have my name published on a few papers by the time I leave here!!

My battery is dying so I am going to end this here.  I hope it makes sense I was typing fast!!

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