Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Weekly Update (Sept 11-14)

Sunday Service
Sunday morning, Chris, Sarah and I attended a local Episcopal church service. It’s ironic that it took coming all the way to Botswana to attend a service, as I’ve never in my life been. The church was located in a middle-class community on the west side of Gabs- a small yellow building with plastic chairs and an altar behind a low divider. The 30 or so church goers were most welcoming, sitting us in the very front row with our very own bibles and book of hymns. The service was even conducted in English for us, although everything was sung in Setswana. I needed help in finding passages as, again, I’ve never opened the Bible. My favorite sermon was when the preacher discussed the curse of the angels bringing a heat wave across the land, and “when this heat wave comes, there will be NO AIRCONDITIONING!”. It sounded very threatening. I had better be saved. Although I make no pretense of being religious, the atmosphere was so welcoming and provided such a nice feeling of togetherness that I think I would enjoy going to services just for the community bond. The atmosphere was, however, occasionally broken by a lizard scuttling in through the door and running across the carpet too close to my feet.

News Café
After the service, we headed over to News Café and discovered that the rumours of a free wireless connection were true! A very exiting day.

Driving Ticket
We were headed over to the Mokolodi Game Reserve to pet some cheetahs when I was asked to pull the car over because I supposedly didn’t stop at an obscure “STOP” sign that no one else was stopping at. The fine was P200, but we managed to bargain it down to P50:

Policeman: “P200 for passing the stop sign.” [big smile]
Us: “We only have P50 with us today.” [bigger smile]
Policeman: “What am I going to do with P50?” [slight look of concern]
Us: “Have a drink.”
Policeman: “A drink?” [thoughtful look] “Ok. I’ll go have a drink.” [Big smile and money placed in left pocket. We are waved on]

The cheetahs hardly looked like wild animals, but were so cute and purring!! They even rolled over and tried to play with the guide’s leg. Unfortunately, I'm having problems loading them, so I've instead put in a picture of a warthog!

Mountain Rest
Sunday evening, to give visitors Paul and Chris a taste of the ‘real Botswana’, a group of us drove over to jazz night Mountain Rest, an outdoor braai/restaurant in Gabane (recommended by Jose Hagan, Fogarty alumni). As a group of mostly Asian people, we received some stares and Ni Hao’s as we walked in. Unphased and smiling we bought our steaks, pap, and beer. We grilled the steaks on the braai outside and ate them standing up without utensils- really tough and really messy- I spent a long time flossing that evening. The atmosphere was lively with great music, and fantastic for my ego as I’ve never been asked for my phone number by so many people! It was quite the experience and I will have to go back during the day- I hear there’s a nice view there.

Gym Active
Gym Active is quite the highlight of my day. I love the aerobics classes with the techno 80s music and the mirrors that fog up from everyone sweating. Squash is also loads of fun- I almost won a game on Tuesday! I also accidentally threw my racket across the court…The running club, which the “President” has named “The Running Club Anyone Can Join”, does ~6k every Tuesday and Thursday. We also plan to join a race this weekend which is a 4k up Kgale Hill on Saturday afternoon and a 10k Sunday morning. T-shirts for everyone!

Work-wise things are going well. Recruitment is slowly continuing, although Florence, one of the nurses, is sick this week. It really makes me notice how essential she is and how useless I feel in not being able to replace her. We are planning on starting to recruit from Tebelopele, a voluntary HIV testing center which sees 70 patients a day- 70 patients! I’m salivating. I’ve also started giving out sweets to physicians and nurses who have to listen to my Acute/Early Infection Tshedimoso presentation, and I’ve found that suddenly people are much more enthusiastic about it. In fact, nurses even came to ask me specifically for a copy of my information sheet! I like to think it’s my tantalizing speeches and charismatic personality, but I do believe the sweets have something to do with it. Well, whatever it takes…

Lab-wise we are going to start sequencing env and nef on some practice samples, and setting up single genome sequencing (SGS). We have also ordered some PCR supplies- a small tube of Superscript III costs an arm and a leg and supposedly takes months to arrive. Still all very exciting!


Blogger Baan Ranong said...

Mokolodi Cheetah visit
Wonder what Geoff tkinks of it.
Of caurse, he is better looking but he's no match to Cheetah!

4:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is the same as every where. Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.

1:44 PM  

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