Friday, June 12, 2009

First full day in Mbabane

Thursday, June 11, 2009

We arrived yesterday in Mbabane yesterday after a morning at the
Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. I learned a lot. To enter the
museum, you could only enter through the door marked with your
'category', white or black. In reality, Apartheid had four
categories, white, black (Bantu), colored and Asian. Everything was
segregated. One of the ultimate goals was to move all non-white
categories outside the cities and build high speed rails to transport
them in to work each day. There is so much more to it, but I will
save it for another time.

Today was our first full day in Mbabane. This photo is us having
lunch at Nando's, one of Stephanie's favorite lunch spots. In the
photo are Stephanie, me, and Amy. The three of us met in Japan when
we were all teaching English with the JET program. Stephanie is a
pediatrician who works here in Mbabane at an HIV clinic for children.
She gave us a tour of the clinic today. It has beautiful architecture
and is new and modern. It opened in 2006 with a grant from Bristol-
Myers. Stephanie also gave a presentation on malnutrition in children
to some of the student doctors who are visiting. She deals with many
patient problems that just don't exist or are very rare in the US.
Many of the resources here for children with HIV comes from foreign
aid. The HIV drugs typically come from the Global Fund or PEPFAR. The
Clinton Foundation donates PlumpyNut, a food source for children with
malnutrition. All HIV/AIDS care in Swaziland is free. Depending on
the statistics you use, between 25 and 40 percent of the population
has HIV. This trip is already an eye-opening experience. It makes me
very thankful for the resources and comforts I have at home. As Amy
said, "Thank you universe for my life."

The Swaziland landscape is beautiful. It's hilly and green with
concrete buildings all around that remind me of Mexico. I'm still
waiting for the sun to come out and really show the beauty. Amy and
Stephanie think it looks a lot like Scotland. The grocery store in
Mbabane has pretty much everything you could want. Stephanie's life
here reminds me of my life in Monterrey in some ways.

Tomorrow we are leaving for Sodwana Bay in South Africa. The others
are going to dive. I'll hang out by the beach. After that, Amy and I
are going to try and head towards Durban, South Africa. One of the
former students from my school in Mexico (ASFM) is in Durban with a
college group from Yale, so hopefully we'll be able to meet up. It's
such a small world. So, I will probably be without internet for
awhile, but I'll post again when I can. (Speaking of internet, I've
realized how much I take high speed for granted...how frustrating to
wait for each page to load....ugh!) I've posted more pictures on my
flickr account, so click the see more photos link on the side to see
more.

Until next time....

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