Hello from Kampala!

My travel companions – Linda Cheever of Seattle #4, who is co-leading this trip, Dr. Steve Kussik from Phenopath, who is the world expert in diagnosing Burkitt’s Lymphoma, and Thor Tyson from the Burkitt’s Lymphoma Fund for Africa – and I arrived at our hotel in Kampala just after midnight last night. The trip over, while long (24 hours or so) and sleepless – at least for me, was as pain-free as it could be when sitting next to a woman with two small children that had been up since 3:30am. (Seriously, it was not too bad, all things considered – but do consider all things, wink wink.)

This morning we met contingents from several other Ugandan Rotary clubs, many of whom are past presidents of their clubs, district officers (and this, 9211, is a big district – 117 clubs across Uganda and Tanzania, but was recently even bigger as District 9200, when it covered six countries and 176 clubs; another interesting factoid is that the largest RC in Africa is here in Kampala), and HIV/Malaria/Health Committee Chairs to discuss the coming jam-packed week. Everyone was extremely friendly and good-natured. After sharing our respective individual backgrounds as well as stories depicting years of Seattle-area Rotarian commitment to this region and combatting malaria here, the excitement of our Ugandan counterparts was palpable.

In general we have found the hospitality here to be extremely amicable and generous, a trait for which Uganda is famous. Our hosts are very disappointed our visit is such a short one, as in Uganda, “when one visits for Christmas, they don’t leave until Easter” or put another way by the district secretary, “when one visits as newlyweds, they don’t leave until after the birth of their first child.” In the Ssese Islands, which we will visit in a few days for a “medical camp-style” malaria intervention, they prepare for visitors by making enough fresh beer to last for two weeks (the president of the Ssese Island club assures us that they still plan to do this but will just keep the leftovers).

So – so far, so good!

I’m about to fall over from lack of sleep (approx. 8 hours over the last 48… hello Ambien? It’s me, Ann…) so I’m afraid I’ll have to save more for later – including a primer on Burkitt’s Lymphoma and other juicy details. Here are a few photos from the day, including participants in the meeting earlier as well as the aptly named Capital of Happiness, where I received the day’s lifesaver…Honey-Cinnamon Cappuccino, aka lifesaver

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