I started looking for summer opportunities in February. The first one that caught my eye was an opportunity to work in Tanzania to promote substance abuse prevention, domestic violence prevention, and HIV prevention in the Ilala district of Dar es Salaam. I had a couple of phone calls with the head of the project, Dr. Ziegler, and it was settled: I would be spending my summer abroad. I will be working with an amazing team based out of the Burundi Hospital that works to promote health and cultural understanding by training Christian and Muslim community leaders on a variety of health topics.
The past months since receiving my summer position flew by. They were filled with statistical significance, stakeholder analyses, polio presentations, project proposals, and lit reviews. I was granted the Thomas Francis Jr. Global Health Fellowship to help fund my work. Now, I leave for Tanzania in four days.
My first time in Africa. This continent I have heard so much about, this continent which is filled with different cultures and languages. This continent that my friends have visited, that my friends are from, that my friends tell me I will fall in love with. I know visiting one country will not even begin to give me a taste for the vast continent, filled with deserts and jungles and everything in between. But I’m sure that it will give me a desire to come back again.
In the mean time, I am left with burning questions about Tanzania. How will the community respond to me? Will I be able to accomplish the goals I have for my work? Most importantly, do they have Nutella?
I leave Seattle on June 19 on this next 11 week adventure. I need to start packing.