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Back in the States!

I was just rereading our blog, reminiscing about Tanzania, and realized that we never concluded our trip!

As for our DATAE project, we accomplished more than we had thought for our first summer. We collected hundreds of pages of the diabetes records from three hospitals (both government-run and private) in the Kagera region. The records were pretty simple, but included basic information such as name, age, home village, type I/type II, and presenting symptoms. We are currently in the process of analyzing this data with hopes to find distinct trends in the prevalence of diabetes. We also spent a lot of time in the diabetes clinic, speaking with a diabetes nurse and nutritionist at the Kagera Regional Hospital. Both of these women gave us more information on how they treat diabetes, how the disease is detected, and diet and exercise issues faced by low income families in the villages. By compiling their thoughts and the information from the records, we have been able to fine tune our plans of starting a diabetes mobile clinic in future years.

Our key chain project has also been very successful! We’ve sold over 50 in the past two months and will be setting up a table in Moos Tower this Friday (10/24/08) to sell the key chains and present more information about BUDAP and our trip to Tanzania.

Unfortunately, we were not able to finish Habiba’s house due to our limited time in Tanzania. We did put the walls up and finished the floor, but the roof would have taken a few more days. I hope Habiba and her grandmother like it and have settled in. I’m really excited to see how well it’s holding up when we return this summer!

We also met a secondary school teacher, Tabitha, through our friends at COSAD. Prior to leaving for Tanzania in July, Anh met an 8th grade geography teacher from Wayzata who was interested in creating an African pen-pal connection for his students. We exchanged the information with Tabitha, so hopefully that project takes off because that would be a great experience for those students!

On our last night in Bukoba we stayed on the beach of Lake Victoria. Kiroyera Tours has a gorgeous place on the water with three little cabanas and a restaurant with the best fire oven-baked pizza! In the morning, we got up to watch the sun rise and had our last Tanzanian breakfast in a tiki hut. Ahh just thinking about it makes me want to go back so bad!

William and his wife drove us to Entebbe, Uganda that morning. I’m pretty sure we listened to Shania Twain’s “Forever and For Always? about a million times. Both she and Celine Dion/Titanic are all the rage in Tanzania. Anyways, our flights back to the US went very well, no delays or anything. We had to spend the night in the Nairobi airport, but it was fun nonetheless.

When we finally got to Washington DC, we were all so dirty; most of us bought new shirts in the airport. It was so weird to be back in the fast-paced American life. I thought it was going to be hard to adjust to life in Africa, but I think it might have been harder to come back. I remember putting my toothbrush under the faucet for the first time in over a month and it felt so… almost… unnatural! It was just a short flight then to Minneapolis and all of our families met us at the baggage claim. They were all really happy, and maybe even a little relieved, to see us!

I feel during that month in Tanzania, we not only became really good friends, but a little family. We went to the hospitals together, built the house together, cooked and ate meals together, took care of each other when we were sick, and together endured experiences we would have never encountered in the US. I’m so grateful to have gone with such a great group of students!

We’ve just started planning our trip for next year and hope to buy our tickets by early January. We have a few new members interested in coming along as well, which is really exciting! As we mentioned, we’re working to establish a plan to go to two cities, Bukoba and Arusha. We hope to keep updating this blog as our plans develop, so keep an eye out for new news!



Thanks for ending a perfect story...all home safe and sound !

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