Wednesday, March 19, 2014

day -1

(zulu for 'hello')

as many before me from the columbia medicine residency program, i am headed to south africa to spend a month at edendale hospital to gain a wider appreciation of global medicine and try to help contribute in small ways to the medical education and training there. 

marybeth & i leave tomorrow morning, and we couldn't be more excited! we are frantically stuffing the last few bits of space in our suitcases with bottles of bug spray, purell, N95 respirators, and jars of peanut butter. we've signed our pagers 'out of hospital' in new york, loaded our kindles with reading material, and readied our hearts and minds for the excitement and anxiety of travel to an unfamiliar place.

to get oriented, i thought i'd start with a map. some of you may be familiar with cape town, one of the better known cities, located in the southwest part of south africa. we'll actually be in the opposite end of the country in the kwa-zulu natal province, located in pink just east of the nation of lesotho. in particular, we'll be close to kwa-zulu natal's capital city, pietermaritzburg, about an hour in-land from the coast.

prior to planning for this trip, i knew very little about south africa. i'm beginning to learn about the struggles, past and present, which have shaped this extraordinary country, and i'm looking forward to this knowledge being fleshed out when we arrive and submerge ourselves in the culture. given our roles on this trip, much of our experiences will focus on healthcare. recommended by our trip's organizers, i've found this series to be exceptional: The Lancet's Health in South Africa. i'll try to incorporate things i've learned from this series in future posts to get us all acquainted with our new home. 

ube nohambo oluhle!
(zulu for 'bon voyage')

until next time, sharon 

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