26 years of existence

This weekend was the most relaxing weekend we have had since our arrival. Friday started off with my favorite activity, shopping (this of course is written with much sarcasm). We went to a few different craft shops around town and loaded our bags with goodies that we thought had the most local flavor. The shops that we went to contained many crafts that were made by the people of Uganda and other surrounding countries. Being the strong supporters of Uganda that we are, we made sure to get things that were made here so that we could keep our money in the local economy as much as possible. During the day we visited a trendy coffee shop that had a logo that was very similar to Starbucks. This was probably to attract young mzungus like ourselves into their shop. It worked, but only because it is one of two coffee shops we know of in Kampala. Coffee export is a big part of their economy but very few Ugandans that we met actually like coffee. This is very unlike Central America where everyone drinks it, including the small (hyper) children.
Friday night was the last day here in Uganda for a couple students so we went out to dinner at a place called Tuwhendes (sp?). Pretty much everyone had the steak because it is well known for their Filet Mignon (beef tenderloin) meal. I just about passed out after that meal because it was so good. Saturday morning was not recorded in my memory because I slept until Saturday afternoon. I love sleeping and if it is cool enough in the morning, you have to take advantage of it. Saturday night we went out to dinner at one of my favorite places (due to the heavenly chocolate ice cream) called Sam’s. On Sunday, we went to the large church in Kampala with the coordinator Susan. Church was pretty much like back home in the states and the preacher was actually a white guy from Canada. I guess there were only about 15 white people in the church, so that was different from home.After church we went over to Susan’s house for lunch and she made us a wonderful traditional Ugandan meal. She made chicken, Irish potatoes (they call regular potatoes Irish potatoes), matoke, ground nut sauce (basically peanut sauce), fresh passion fruit/pineapple juice, and some other stuff I can’t remember. She said she made the matoke a special way for us so that we would like it (normally it has no flavor and so she put some onions and tomatoes in it). She did a great job, it was actually quite good. After sitting around talking for a bit, we made our trek home. Sunday night we went to a place called Ndere and watched a show and had dinner. I see that Katie is writing a lot about that, so I will refrain.

Monday was a magical day because I took it off, as it was my B-day! I slept in and lounged around the house most of the day, fighting the wrinkles and trying to preserve my youth. I got in some good leisure reading and went outside and exercised a bit. I went jogging and lifted water jugs (my version of free weights). The house was empty and I was able to collect my thoughts. My senses rejoiced, “peace at last”! Monday night I went out with Katie, Alison, and Michelle to dinner at a Thai restaurant. I filled up on all my favorite dishes and a couple Nile beers of course.

Today I decided to do a pediatric rotation, just so that I could experience it. I picked a doozie… Pediatric Oncology. I have great respect for those that are able to work with sick children all day (like Katie). It is heartbreaking. I know that I made the right decision to go into Internal Medicine because taking care of sick/dying children drains my soul in minutes. One positive note about Pediatric Oncology is that many of these kids will have good outcomes. Peds are much more resilient that adults. Oncology here is very similar to back home with the exception of CT treatment technologies such as CT guided radiotherapy. Much of the chemotherapy is the same as home. For those interested in some of the pathology I saw today… there were many patients with Burkitt’s Lymphoma (Epstein Barr Virus associated) which is pretty unique to Africa. We saw a few patients with retinoblastoma (uni and bilateral), Hodgkin’s, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as well as the other more typical lymphomas/leukemias we see back home.

Tomorrow I will be on the solid tumor ward… so I am sure there will be some interesting and troubled cases there as well.

Sounds like we are going to do our safari towards the end of the month and our rural rotation sooner than we thought… possibly starting on Thursday this week and lasting roughly one week. It will be nice to get out of the city and work in a smaller facility for a while. I am not sure what the internet access will be like out there… so there may be a lull in our blog for a bit.

Well… I am off to search for a safari hat so I don’t turn into a tomato head in a few weeks. Keep up the good comments.

your cancer crusher,



4 Responses to “26 years of existence”

  1. Mom (Erin) Says:

    Jon, Happy Birthday!! It sounds as if you had a nice day even though so very far away! I think it is good you spent time with the kids, Katie should go with you next. Also interesting that you see so many of the same type of cancers. What is your theory why peanut allergy is not seen there? And so they don’t have too worry about giving plumpy nut to the babies and kids. Keep blogging, I love it! And thinking that when you get home you could keep it up as it is the highlight of my day!

  2. Arlene Hiatt Says:

    Happy Birthday!

    Loved the weekend markets in Kenya. Is there a lot of bargaining at the craft shops and markets in Uganda, as is true in Kenya? Love reading your blog and will be looking forward to reading your blog after your rural rotation. The children, sick or healthy, always touch my heart. Praying for you and Katie.


  3. Kyom Says:

    Dear Cancer crusher!!! you should try icecream at the italian place… there lots allover the city but in wandegeya too…

    i see you are still enjoying the nile beers!!! you and katie should try the crafts market near jinja road roundabout.. close to garden city.. u get a better

  4. Kyom Says:

    deal than national theatre or buganda road… but you are done, right??!!! well then, katie can go with someone else… its “dirt cheap” like she likes to say!! enjoy the rural rotation and the safari…

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