Orientation part 1 + “cheese and babymarrow pizza”

Today I started orientation. Ali and I met with Dr. Luzze for a bit, and he explained our responsibilities, learning goals, mentors, and peripheral related activities. All of it sounded exciting to me. Additionally, Ali and I will lead journal clubs (explained later to non-medicine folks) later in the fall. We met with Miriam next and then sister Juliet. Note to self: sister does not mean nun. It means nurse. A few laughs directed at me ensued when I asked after reading the day’s schedule if we were meeting a nun later in the day! At the Tb clinic Juliet gave us a tour and explained the processes of Tb/HIV screening, vitals, informed consent and counseling, evaluation, and treatment. The research protocols have inclusion and exclusion criteria that are ascertained at the outset of patient presentation to the clinic. Some patients, donned with facemasks, were receiving health education on Tb while we received the tour. The patient intake room had UV lights throughout it, presumably to kill air-floating Mycobacterium tuberculosis (the causative agent of tuberculosis). The clinic staff members were very kind in taking time out of their busy day to explain things to us. I will be working in this clinic. We had 2 hour orientation meetings in the afternoon, and I learned about the research studies in more depth and started to get an idea how to select a research question to pursue.


Everyday when I come to the office at the hospital, I pass through a walkway of the Ugandan children’s cancer ward, the only one in the country. I saw what I later found out was Burkitt’s lymphoma (a lymphoma correlated with EBV infection found very rarely outside Africa) in the jaw (appears like a very swollen jaw/tumor in the jaw area) in a few of the children. Two Brazilian hematologists training in hematology in the US are staying at the guesthouse and told us tonight some stories I have not the heart to write on the blog just now in terms of the health consequences of resource-constrained settings in the cancer ward. The sick children smile at me every day with their beautiful white teeth.


Ali took me to the medical school canteen for lunch. I had tea, fried cassava, matoke (mashed, cooked bananas), and samosas. Ali and I ate for about $1.60 for the two of us. Lunch will be had here again.


My friend Marc from Yale Divinity School has a friend working in Fort Portal (western Uganda) in an orphanage for children living with HIV. Matt, the hematologists Ana and Luciano, and I met her and her entourage from Fort Portal in town for dinner. I had a scrumptious pizza at an Italian restaurant clearly popular with expats. Ok, I know. I had deep dish Gino’s East exactly one week ago in Chicago. But really, can you pass up pizza when it’s rarer outside the US? And it was decent pizza at that. Also on that note, there was a pizza that had just the following ingredients listed: “cheese and babymarrow.” None of us even wanted to know that meant and none of asked for or about it.


My small victories of the day included: (1) buying a cell phone for $37 since T-Mobile failed to give me the SIM unlock code yet; (2) befriending Stephen, a taxi driver in the city who charges below average rates for the Fogarty students and who will eventually help me find a good used car to buy when the time comes; and (3) walking around Wandegeya community and getting excited about getting my own place so I can buy the local fruits and veggies to prepare!


P.S. Monkeys play in the trees outside my bedroom window, and there are these giant grotesque birds the size of toddlers that look like storks bred with vultures and pelicans. They cannot keep their mouths shut, and they eat garbage. Do not pet them.


One Response to “Orientation part 1 + “cheese and babymarrow pizza””

  1. Becky Says:

    Pictures? We need pictures! 🙂

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