Salaam Afghanistan

Health and Ethnic Conflict.

My first visit to the Heart of Asia -- Reflections and Photos.

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Location: Mbarara, Uganda

Internist and Pediatrician with a passion for international health.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Just another day in Kabul...

Nothing really new or interesting to report, but I know y'all like to hear from me, so I'm writing anyway. This week has been good, although I am still not quite adjusted to the time here. I keep waking up in the middle of the night and it takes me an hour to fall back asleep. This morning I woke up at 4:00 am, so I guess it's getting better.

This week my evenings have been pretty full. I went out to dinner with Miho and Cristi and Anne and her boyfriend at a Croatian "restaurant" on Sunday night. You arrive at this place that is not very obvious, and walk through a tall metal gate into a concrete "yard" and up some sort of crumbly concrete stairs to the restaurant. The interior is lit by candle light only (no electricity) and its concrete walls are decorated with one or two old posters of Croatia. It was interesting.

Monday night was Yoga night. A similar experience of dilapidated, dusty steps leading up to some random room with a bunch of expats doing yoga. Last night I went to dinner at a couple's house -- Bill and Judie -- who are just awesome. They first came to Afghanistan in the 60s with the Peace Corps. They are a total Peace Corps couple. Really good people. I had a nice time.

Today I have no plans. I am at work, so I won't write long. I am heading out to the Ministry of Health to attend a conference on one of MSH's programs. Should be interesting.

My project is finalized -- I am going to be conducting interviews/focus groups with women in Kabul's two Ob hospitals to discover why the women who do go go, and with women in the community who don't go to discover why not and what could be done to convince them to go. Only 18% of women birth in facilities, and so many women bleed out and die because their midwives are not capable of dealing with the complications. It is one of the leading causes of preventable death for women here. Should be an interesting project.

Okay. I am off to the Ministry. My phone wasn't working the past couple of days, but I got a new Afghan phone yesterday (with Arabic characters!) and am reliably reachable from now on. When you call me, I am not charged a dime!

Okay. I hope you are all wonderful. I love you and will be in touch again soon.

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