I finally have a stable connection to the internet here in Uganda. At last. The past few days I have barely had any internet; just enough to check emails. But even in this day and age, sacrificing the Internet is a small price to pay for the experience and fun I’m getting in return. It is festive season here in Uganda as Christmas just passed but New Year’s is still ahead. Many of the doctors in Mulago hospital have left for the holidays while some remain to make rounds. The doctor I work with, Dr. Opoka, has left for the holidays and is vacationing in the northern part of Uganda with his family. Mr. Augustine, the head of the Epilepsy Support Association of Uganda, and his staff have left on their annual Christmas/New Year’s holidays also. As a result, I have had about a week to myself to relax and enjoy East Africa. I would love to post some pictures with this blog update, but the internet connection is so slow here that I decided to bypass my laptop and just go to a cybercafe. I will post pictures once I get back in the states, or at least, once I get a better internet connection.
It has been amazing working with Dr. Opoka and his research team. I had the opportunity to work with children this time as well, helping Dr. Opoka’s staff deliver cognitive tests to children recovering from cerebral malaria. Quite sadly however, cerebral malaria is proving to be a deadly disease and seeing the children in hospitals has taken a toll on me. Just a few days ago, I was in Mulago hospital conversing with a child about how the disease has been detrimental to him. I was shocked to hear that even a child as young as he was knew just how far reaching the consequences were if the disease wasn’t treated in time. Mr. Augustine also spoke of how epileptic children have a remarkable and clear understanding of their condition and the consequences of the disease.
As for the “add on” study that I will be conducting, I have decided to conduct it the in first week of January. I will just ask opinion based questions to the parents of the children suffering from cerebral malaria about epilepsy. Hopefully, some correlation can be drawn between having exposure to Western medicine or hospitals can change their opinions about a disease that is traditionally viewed as an untreatable mental disorder/disease.
But for now, it is a festive and holiday season in Uganda (also election season). The people here are celebrating and awaiting 2011 eagerly with preparations being made everywhere. So I will try to enjoy this week here before getting back to work come January 2nd.
P.S. I might add that there have been a few tremors here in Uganda. There was one last night which completely shocked me since I didn’t know that there were earthquakes in Africa as well!