South Luangwa National Park & Mzuzu


So much has happened these last few weeks! I’m pleased to announce that I have fully recovered from my bout with malaria and am now vigilantly taking my prophylaxis ☺

I went to South Luangwa National Park in Zambia to revel in the beauty of a safari! I went with two CDC folk who are in from Atlanta – David, who has been here for the past month and Lydia, who I met the day before our departure. After a six hour drive, including an interesting rendezvous at the old border crossing…(Zambia requires all visitors to have a Yellow Fever vaccination – the first time in all my travels that anyone has ever asked to see my yellow immunization card. Several people in our group didn’t have their shots…so we had to bribe our way across the border). Anyway, we finally reached our lodge located right outside the game park – nestled along the banks of the Luangwa River.

On Saturday morning, I awoke to the sounds of an elephant tearing down a tree right outside my door. The only thing more impressive than going to sleep to the wild calls of hippos, lions and hyenas is waking up to the reverberations of an elephant ripping down limbs and branches two feet away from your bed!


The safari itself was incredible…for scenery and wildlife, South Luangwa is probably one of the best parks in Zambia. We trekked through dense woodlands, open grassy plains, and around ox-bow lagoons where we saw everything, including hyenas, giraffes, zebras, hippos, lions and even two-week old lion cubs! I was in heaven! We had the pleasure of going out twice – once in the morning, and once in the evening for a night drive – where we watched the nocturnal beasts come out to prey. By in large, the entire experience was magical.

The day after I returned from Zambia, I drove 4 hours to the sparsely populated Northern Region of Malawi to Mzuzu, where I had made arrangements to meet with several partners as well as visit some of the HIV Clinics. I spent Monday at the Taiwanese Medical Mission going over the Electronic Data System for ART (Antiretroviral Therapy). I spent five hours painstakingly reviewing each field, following up on the initial beta test and ensuring that the developers addressed all of the concerns of the task force. I felt extremely important considering the fact that I single-handedly had the authority to determine whether or not the system was ready to roll out to the field. I decided to give it a conditional pass (after we made all the changes) but I’d like to have some end-users (Clinicians at the HIV Clinics) go over the terminology and flow (patient/clinic staff interaction) of the system.

Mice on a stick

And today I visited a new HIV Counseling and Testing facility as well as St. Johns Hospital to see their HIV pediatric ward and antenatal clinic. I am providing technical assistance to a new pilot study involving infant diagnosis of HIV. My work continues to excite (and overwhelm) me.

On our drive back to Lilongwe, we stopped to try some of Malawi’s finer delicacies – Mice on a stick (and the other – birds on a stick)! The birds at least looked edible…I can’t imagine eating those mice!

Birds on a stick

Anyway, I’ll keep this entry short. Please write! I miss everyone so much.

Much love,

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