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Friday, August 26, 2011

Where There is No Doctor

Over the past couple of days I have realized a great deal of the Peace Corps informational sessions are used to either scare the poop out of you or make you think you will know what you’re doing when you get to site.

We had another informational, great health session. I like to call it the Russian Roulette of Infection Diseases. Shall we play? I have basically been promised to suffer from one of the following diseases (if not multiple diseases at once):

3)Brucellosis (also known as Crimean, Malta, Maltese, or Rock Fever)
4)Rabies (even though we are getting vaccinated against it)
5)Tuberculosis (again, even though we are getting vaccinated against it, which will eventually lead to my testing positive for TB for the rest of my life)
6)Yellow Fever (AGAIN even though I have been vaccinated against it)
8)Ebola (yeah, that’s right, EBOLA. The FLESH EATING VIRUS)

I have also been guaranteed to meet one, if not all, of the following creepy crawlies:

1)Giant millipedes (yeah, not just the regular ones, oh and these will give me a rash)
2)Rain spiders
3)Jumping spiders
4)Nairobi fly (shouldn’t these only be in Nairobi given the name?)
5)Blister beetle (yum)
6)Jigger pod (oh, please look this up on Google)
7)Bed bugs
8)Mango flies (my ultimate favorite)

So what have I learned?

I am risking my complete existence by agreeing to serve in Peace Corps Uganda.


I am surprised they didn’t make me sign a waiver for my life. Oh wait, they did!
Ok, ok, enough drama. All jokes aside, this is apparently some real serious shiz. Of course, I promise to be as careful as I can be, but given the fact that I will probably run into one of the above mentioned diseases and bugs, I can’t do too much to prevent something from happening. I am going to take the precautions necessary and hope for the best, but you bet your guns I am still going to go rafting the Nile in Jinja. Sorry PCMO, you will just have to deal with my schisto infested bum.

After the amazingly informative session on my health deterioration, we visited the TASO (The AIDS Service Organization) where we learned about the NGO and how they are working to combat HIV/AIDS in the community as well as the entire country. The organization, at first glance, seems AMAZING. In all honesty, it really is an awesome organization. There was only one issue I had with it. While they are really successful in helping combat AIDS and they are trying to decrease the stigma of the disease by allowing patients tell their stories, it can come off as exploitation. The organization welcomes visitors by having patients sing and dance. It is truly inspiring to see the hope these patients have, but at the same time, is the money I am giving them for a paper bead bracelet going to the patient treatment or the administrative costs of the organization? I hope that the organization is not using the patients’ stories as a publicity stunt to get more funding and donor interest in their organization, but at the end of the day that could be the issue. I just have to have faith that they are doing the right thing, for the right reasons. If I had a chance, I would love to work with an organization similar to theirs to understand the inner workings of the organization and gain a better understanding of what they do with the donations sent in.

You can visit the organization website at .

Don’t take my word for it, look them up and judge for yourself whether you think they are doing truly benevolent work.


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