Friday, October 1, 2010

Malaria study and Elephant ride!!

Monday (27th) was a pretty chill day here at the mission. We were allowed to sleep in and rest up from our weekend and our classes did not meet which was such a blessing. A lot of us caught up on homework. (It is so hard to focus on studies here because I much rather be out playing with the kids or hanging out with everyone!) It was nice to be able to plan our own schedule for a day and just stay inside in our shorts (we aren't allowed to wear them outside our house because its not culturally appropriate) and be care free.
Tuesday (28th)- We had to wake up and be ready for our day trip at 7 so we actually got in sleep in a little later than normal! We went to a hospital about 3 hours away in a town called Macha. This hospital is so cool! Its one of the nicest ones that I have seen here (which would still be atrocious to Americas standard) and they actually conduct Malaria research out of their little lab. This hospital teams up with John Hopkins and sends some American students over to work in the Malaria lab. It was so neat to be able to explore the hospital and see how labs are run in Africa. It gave me a whole other perspective on medical mission work in Africa. I always thought, for some reason, that medical mission work in a developing country would be in a village and treating them there. I had never thought about setting out to cure a disease that affects a whole population here to be mission work! It really opened my eyes to so many more possibilities on the mission field. The missionary that lives in Macha and works at the hospital was actually born there because his parents were missionaries. As he got older and grew up, he went through school and became a pediatrician. He said that he got so tired of seeing Malaria being the number one killer among children in his hospital. He knew that he had to try to do something to help out so he set out for his lab. They collect mosquitoes from villages around and also take blood samples from the area. They have found that mosquito's are very smart insects. They used to feed at dusk and dawn but now that mosquito nets are used, the start to feed earlier. They have adapted their feeding schedule based upon humans schedules! The area of Macha has actually had a decrease in Malaria cases in the past 10 years or so! They have found out so much just from their little research lab and are able to teach the public about what precautions to take in order to avoid getting Malaria.
Wednesday (29th)- About 6 of us students loaded back into the cruiser to head back to Livingstone for a day. We also had to take the PA students, Tori and LeAnne, back so that they could catch their flight back home. They were with us for 6 short weeks and it was so sad to see them leave. They really became close with a lot of us here and are so fun to be around. They explained a lot of things to us in the clinic. Once we got to Livingstone, we checked into our hotel room and went to the market! We were able to purchase a few things before we walked over to The Hungry Lion for dinner. The Hungry Lion is like a KFC/Burger King. They have fried chicken and burgers. I got a hamburger which was so good!! We then walked down to this place called Wonderbake and had ice cream and coffee! I had the BEST cappuccino that I have ever had. It had such a good flavor and was very strong!
Thursday (30th)- We had to be ready for breakfast at 6 am and ready to go at 6:45. Emily, Rose and I went on an elephant back safari! It was so neat and the elephants were so adorable. Emily and I decided that we are going to adopt one and bring it home...we will just split the overage charges. We were on the elephant for about 1.5 hours and walked through a game park and the elephant even went into the Zambezi River! It was so beautiful and I think we picked the perfect time because it was dawn and the sun was gorgeous! We then fed our elephant at the end. Ours actually ate the WHOLE time. It would just stop at pull off a couple of branches from the tree and start eating. I asked the guide if the thorns hurt their trunks and he said that their skin is one and a half inches thick! For lunch, we went to this wonderful little Italian place in Livingstone. An Italian restraunt in Africa! Think of the irony. But it was so, so good! It’s a NGO (Non-Government Organization) that is supported by the Catholic church there in Livingstone and Italians actually own it. They take in troubled teens and teach them culinary arts! It’s a really neat place. AND they had gelato!!

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