Back in the USA with Mangos on my Mind

While in Africa I had the most delicious mangos!  My first full day in Masindi we went to the villages where we were going to be doing the interviews to discuss the project and procedure with the Village Leader.  It took about 45 minutes over very bumpy dirt roads to get to the first village and then another 15-20 minutes further to get to the second village.  All of these talks went great, but by the end it was well after lunchtime and I was kind of hungry.  Just then, though, the leader had a tray of mangos brought to us fresh from the tree.  I have had mango before cut up in a fruit salad and I enjoy the flavor as part of a fruit drink or frozen ice, but I have never peeled and eaten a whole mango.  Well, I not only ate one but probably ate about 3 mangos that afternoon.  I made a sticky, juicy mess and got it all over my skirt and face but it sure was delicious.  The picture here shows the tray of mangos along with some of the Busoga Trust staff.

Steven, Irene, and Ned with the yummy mangos in Iranda (Busoga Trust staff from left to right)

The beautiful lush green area is under the mango tree is where we sat and talked.  One of my colleagues has a picture of me with mango all over my face and if it turned out, I will post it at a later time.  Ever since I left Africa, though, I’ve been craving mango and a few days ago I found some at my local grocery store. The picture below is what is left of the mango I ate this morning and I have to say I was a little neater since I had both a plate, a sharp knife, and a napkin.  It was also delicious and brought back those fond memories.

There is not much left of the mango I ate this morning. The purse in the background was made in Karagwe, Tanzania

Hello all!  Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to the blog.  My time in London with my husband was great and full of site-seeing.  We arrived back in the US last week but I had to jump right back into work and have been busy trying to get caught up with work and my sleep.  (Not actually doing that great with either, though.)  One of the things that I really benefitted from in Africa was getting more sleep.  Since it is near the equator, there was basically only about 12 hours of daylight.  It would get light around 6:30 am and start to get dark around 6 pm or so and become night by 7:30 pm.  Since I usually got tired out during the day and didn’t have TV or the Internet to grab my attention, I did a great job of keeping up with my journal and then getting to sleep at a decent hour.  Now that I’m back in the US I seem to be falling back into some bad habits like working on my computer in front of the TV until late and still getting up early to go to the hospital- my clinical practice site- to be with my pharmacy students.  This, I have got to change.  My time spent in Africa was more focused on the tasks at hand (doing the research, meeting with people about my project, etc) rather than going through all of my email or trying to work on many projects at once.  Now that I’m back, I feel like my attention is even more scattered than before.  There are things that I really want to work on and take care of related to the Africa trip (go thru the research data, organize photos, share more information on my blog, get back in contact with the people I met so I can keep the conversations going, talk to my friends and colleagues about the trip…) but I’m back in my world of work, and email, and regular life and trying to juggle it all is difficult.  So, I will just have to be patient with myself and take care of one task at a time and hope that others can be understanding as well.

Speaking of patience, I think I did learn a little bit about this from my African experiences and put it to use this morning as I waited for my breakfast order at Sheetz.  (This is a little food shop at a gas station where you place your order via a computer touch screen and then it is prepared quickly while you wait and you can take it on the road to eat as you drive.)  Anyway, as I walked into Sheetz I noticed right away that it seemed pretty busy but I just placed my order because I was hungry.  As I waited I simply stood there thinking- mostly thinking about Africa and Mangos- but not being bothered at all by the time passing.  Soon I heard someone else’s order number called but then overheard the server apologize for the long wait.  In my head I thought that the person must have placed an unusual order or something and had waited quite awhile. Then next my number was called and I received the same apology.  I smiled and said it wasn’t a problem but as I walked away I was thinking that I didn’t really wait that long at all- it had probably only been no more than 7 or 8 min- maybe not that long.  This made me think about how many times I saw people in Tanzania or Uganda waiting very long times for much more important things than fast-food.  They would walk a mile to the clinic just to wait for a few hours to be seen by the nurse and then sometimes to find out that the medication was out of stock.  The only choice at that point is to find money to pay for it at a local pharmacy or walk to a free clinic the next day that was farther away in hope that they would have it in stock. Since the first option was not really an option for many of the poor villagers, trying other clinics was usually done.  This obviously delays treatment and certainly impacts their ability to do their daily work, but I wonder how often an illness gets worse or a child suffers even more due to lack of medication??

About kbohan

Professor and Founding Chair, Department of Pharmacy Practice Binghamton University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Binghamton, NY USA
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