been way too long!

wow.....so you might think i've been doing something super exciting that has kept me from updating my blog, but sadly my only excuse is that i've been sucked into a black hole of pediatric board studying. that's right, living in wildly beautiful and fascinating africa and have spent the majority of my time either at the dining room table or on the couch studying! ahhh but don't worry, this will soon change....cause ready or not boards will be OVER after oct 12!!!! (those are both terrified and excited exclamation points btw)

some quick updates....the past 3 weeks i've been in the clinic (as opposed to the hospital), which has been refreshing and far less stressful. it's an extremely busy clinic and every day children seem to be overflowing the waiting room, which really is amazing considering that 10yrs ago most of them would have died from their HIV. it blows my mind what a difference the introduction of antiretroviral drugs has made, not only on child mortality but on transmission rates (both of which have plummeted since the clinic opened and the government started supplying these meds). the majority of the children are happy and healthy thanks to their parents dutifully giving them 3-5 pills twice a day - NOT an easy task, but haunted by the memory of their country ravaged by this disease, most do very well.

one of my favorite parts of clinic has been outreach - every day one of the doctors goes with our outreach nurse, boitumelo, to a rural clinic and works with doctors there to help see patients and mentor them in pediatric HIV care. it's a bit intimidating since i myself am still using my handbook to look up drug regimens, monitoring labs, etc, but it's been great to see the villages and meet local doctors/nurses. above is a picture of boitumelo and i in front of a clinic in phutadikobo/molepolole (mo-lay-pah-lo-lay). below are some pictures of the clinic and a nearby house. we get to go on outreach about once a week and visit clinics throughout botswana, some by car and some by plane (haven't gone on one of those yet but there will def be a picture of the plane when i do!).

one of my least favorite parts of clinic is covering the hospital referral clinic.....aka where any doctor in botswana can send a child to see a "specialist".....which means we end up seeing/managing a lot of things we're not specialized in, and doing so with limited resources. interesting, but frustrating as you can imagine! at least 2/3 of the kids are there for seizure management and have varying degrees of neurologic impairment, another challenge....any neuro friends want to come spend some time in botswana??

let's see what else....it's warming up so all of the creepy crawlies are crawling into our apartment, awesome. leigh and i had a battle with a GINORMOUS black spider the other night, and after much throwing of shoes/soccer balls/various inanimate objects and even more screaming, we totally lost. it was the fastest spider i've ever seen, seriously. we later learned it's dubbed the "kalahari ferrari," that's how fast it is. how did we learn this? we broke down and had to call our neighbor to kill the thing. he came armed with a bottle of "doom," aka super spider killer, and had a good laugh at our girlie expense. bleh, i hate spiders, what was i thinking moving to africa?!?? oh well, at least i've got doom....as long as i don't have to get close enough that the spider crawling on me is even a remote possibility, i should be ok. i took a picture so i could post it to prove i'm not just a huge sissy, but posting it means i'll have to look at it every time i go to my blog and i still have a little PTSD so it may have to wait.

ahhh, we have monkeys!! can't believe i forgot to mention that. there are totally little grey monkeys that run around the neighborhood and this morning were swinging through our backyard. craziness! they're super cute but our neighbor tells us not to trust them, or make eye contact....not sure what happens if you do, but going to try my best not to find out.

last but not least, this week we celebrated botswana's independence day - they've been independent since september 30 1966 and have a yearly 2 day celebration filled with music and festivals and food in all the villages. it's quite the party! i mostly heard the celebration from our backyard where i was (shockingly) studying, but did celebrate the fact that we got a 2 day holiday....and because of it and the fact that i got some extra study time, am going wild and going on a game drive this weekend!! which means it shouldn't be light years till my next blog post since i'll definitely be sharing pictures. hopefully the animals will cooperate :)


good times in gaborone....

hi friends! since my last few posts have been on the heavy side, i decided to go with something light this week :) below is a slideshow of my birthday festivities, along with a couple of random outings and happenings. speaking of, big THANKS to my new friends here for an awesome birthday! i thought i'd also include a list of some firsts i've experienced so far....i'm sure there are many more to come....

1. first time to drive on the left side of the road (see previous blog, more than a little traumatic)

2. first time to realize that i even walk on the wrong side, never dawned on me we walk on the right cause we drive on the right! duh.

3. first botswana power outage - darker than dark!

4. first time to truly tap into my martha stewart roots - many made up recipes including homemade salsa, guacamole, hummus, and brown sugar (not all together, don't worry). yes that's right, they don't sell brown sugar here, but turns out you can make it with plain sugar + molasses, who knew?! gotta love google :)

5. first time to accept a gecko as a roommate....i mean, he'd already lost his tail in some other skirmish, i didn't have the heart to throw him out.

6. first time to wear 3 layers in the middle of august - i like this first!

7. first running route to include a game reserve (ok so it runs behind the reserve, but it sounds more exotic to say it that way)

8. first time to go more than 30sec without adding parmesan to something...in fact i went TWO WHOLE WEEKS before finding a $15 block, which i definitely bought.

9. first african barbie phone, oh yeah.

10. first african hamburger, oh no.

11. first african dance lesson - turned out to be 1 session of latin dancing with an african twist, and 1 session of hip-hop....you can guess who the least coordinated in the room was!

12. first african aerobics class - again, looking totally natural and coordinated.

13. first month on wards as an attending - i survived!