Expectations versus Experiences I: an entry from ME!

I finally have gotten on the internet at the hospital so below is an entry from me! I will try to upload an image but am not sure the internet is capable of that. All is going very well and I think of people back home often. I hope you are getting a little taste of Africa through my messages. 🙂

As I prepared for this journey, I thought about what I’d see and experience here in Africa. My comments below will compare those ideas to what I have found so far.

1. Temperature: Although I knew the average temperature would be between 63-85 F, I still thought it would be very hot. I expected to have to liberally apply sunscreen all the time- I even bought SPF 50 and 70. Actually, the weather is just about perfect here in Karagwe, Tanzania. It is cool in the evening and morning, almost enough for a jacket. During the day it is sunny with low humidity. Last Sunday, I don’t even think it got higher than about 72 F. Although it is the dry season, we actually had a downpour for about 1 hour the other day. I’m told, though, that this is unusual.
2. Food: I had been told from my friend who lived in Uganda that they eat a lot of meats with sauces and a substance called “matoke” which is mashed plantains. Here in Tanzania, the food has been delicious and abundant. I am certainly not going hungry. We are served 2 -3 starches each day (rice, noodles, and mashed potatoes or plaintains) along with a meat and vegetable stew-like mixture. The fruit has been so wonderful! They pick the pineapples when they are fresh so they are the best I’ve ever had. I’m also enjoying the papaya.

On Tuesday, 14Jun, I worked in the pharmacy again and learned about their record keeping and also helped to fill prescriptions. In the first 5 hours we filled 171 prescriptions and although I can’t really compare that to a US retail pharmacy because I haven’t worked in community pharmacy for years but I think this is a fair amount. I also was taken on a detailed tour of their laboratory facilities and was able to view a malaria blood smear. The technician explained how they can determine the difference between the types of malaria and this was a Plasmodium falciparum infection, which is the most common type in Karagwe. I tried to find a physician to observe in the afternoon but they were all out of sight. I’ll try again tomorrow.

About kbohan

Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice Binghamton University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Binghamton, NY USA
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5 Responses to Expectations versus Experiences I: an entry from ME!

  1. Tina Koerber says:

    Great Experiences – I love to read your postings.


  2. Denise Heikinen says:

    Thanks Karen for these inside views.
    Your cousin Denise


  3. Judy Kristeller says:

    I’ve enjoyed readying your blog. Glad things are going well. Judy K


  4. Denise Heikinen says:

    I just learned the First Lady is also making a trip to Africa and will be keeping a blog. http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/06/16/follow-first-ladys-trip-africa?utm_source=061711&utm_medium=blog&utm_campaign=daily


  5. judy Heikkinen says:

    Karen, ‘sounds like things are going well. I am making cole slaw right now and John is coooking up smoked meats like crazy. We will miss you tomorrow Love, Mom


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