Monday, July 18, 2011
The Elite Eight
The Global Health Fellows Program that I am lucky enough to work for has a lot of interns this summer. GHFP placed people in several countries and quite a few in D.C. The wonderful team I get to work with this summer in Uganda is eight interns strong making the alliterative title of this blog almost compulsory. Whether we are elite or not remains to be seen; but I am convinced that the other seven are fantastic enough to compensate for one weak link so we are sticking with the name.
While the eight of us had been communicating from the time we were selected up to leaving for our summer adventure, we’d never met one another. The fact that we didn’t actually know each other led to me be sitting next to a fellow intern for the entire flight from Chicago to DC and not figuring out our connection until about five minutes before landing. But we did figure it out and decided to split a cab to the hostel rather than navigate the DC metro with three months worth of luggage apiece.
Anand, Anita, Ilan, Jacob, Karrin, Liz, and Veronica are my colleagues for the summer. In the group we have five MPHs, two MSWs, three nurses, one midwife, a returned Peace Corps volunteer, and a medical student. For those of you with the advanced math degrees, you’ll notice that the total is more than 8; I get to spend the summer with some really interesting and talented people :). Our training consisted of two half days of form-completing (I am working for the government now) and attending presentations before we were whisked away to Dulles International Airport for our marathon of flights.
After three flights, experiencing the wonderful invention of in-flight entertainment, lots of great conversations with each other as well as other interesting travelers, and a time change of 7 hours, we arrived in Entebbe, Uganda around 10:30pm. Our coordinators had told us to expect someone from our hotel to be holding a sign in gleeful anticipation of our arrival (slightly an exaggeration, but there really was supposed to be a sign). I had been excessively and childishly excited about having achieved a status high enough to warrant a sign, so the lack of said sign was crushing if not more than a little expected. Travel weary and carting ridiculous amounts of luggage, we began our education in the art of bargaining. When we finally got to the hotel that will be our home for the next three months, we crashed into our beds in anticipation of what was in store.