Starting right where Sydney left off, I, too, just had my first experience going into the field. As Sydney mentioned, each of us will get a chance to tag along for a site visit to a sub-county, and after spending thirty days in Kenya, it was finally my turn! I accompanied Breandan, Jennifer, and Purity to the Nyando sub-county. After meeting with the MoH representative at Ahero Hospital, we conducted site visits for Ahero and four other hospitals in the county. As I quietly took notes, I couldn’t help but notice the passion and dedication of every director, community volunteer, doctor, administrator, and healthcare provider. Unlike the privatized systems in the U.S., the healthcare system in Kisumu relies heavily on community involvement. As a global health research team, it is our responsibility to work closely with the community, and our meetings have created a collaborative space where all parties are enthusiastic about our proposed project.


Our collaborative efforts aren’t limited to the field. Melat, Sydney, and I have become masters of meal planning! During our weekly meetings, we carefully go over the budget, plan all the meals for the following week, and create our shopping list. We’ve even compiled our own cookbook and have a list of our all-time favorites! Melat’s fried rice and Sydney’s curry are simply AMAZING!! Without Sydney’s lists and Melat’s talent for handling raw chicken, our dinners would be a disaster. One of my proudest achievements in the kitchen is our chocolate chip cookies. After a few failed attempts, using no measuring cups and a gas oven with only one temperature setting, we managed to create the most delicious cookies that have now become a staple. In addition to cooking, we’ve also been exploring a variety of Kenyan foods and produce! Some of our local favorites include passion fruits, smokies, ugali (especially in soup), mini bananas, tilapia, Afia mango juice, mandazi, and the chicken samosas from Naivas.


Recently, we had the incredible opportunity to go on a safari to Ruma National Park, where I finally got to see two rhinos and their baby. We’ve also taken a ferry ride on Lake Victoria, enjoyed a delightful lunch in Mbita, and went swimming in the Acacia Hotel pool at The West End Mall. I feel incredibly fortunate to be traveling with two of the funniest, most easy-going, determined, and adventurous individuals without whom this trip wouldn’t be the same. We still have a few more adventures planned for our last three weeks, but I’ll let Melat tell you about those!


Regarding mSaada, we’ve been working closely with Thao, a third-year OB/GYN resident, over Zoom to make sure the app is as prepared as possible. We are now in the final stages of development and are eagerly looking forward to getting to work and commencing the first phase of our research project. Thao will be arriving on July 4th, and we’re incredibly excited to show her around Kisumu and work with her in person!


With such an amazing first half, I can’t help but eagerly anticipate what the second half has in store for us.



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