And I’m off……

And I’m off……

I’m off to South Africa to begin my dissertation research. I will be in KwaZulu-Natal Province for the next 2 months collecting data on the occupational risk factors for TB among healthcare workers.

I’ve been in South Africa for just over a week now and things are moving slowly but they are moving forward. Last week I was in in Pretoria for a few days to meet with colleagues at the Medical Research Council and to get some administrative details arranged like opening up a local bank account. I’m now in Durban on the coast of the beautiful Indian Ocean.

It is now winter in South Africa and it is quite cool and by all accounts cooler than normal for this time of year. In Pretoria the temperature dips to near freezing at night but the days are not too bad – luckily Durban is a little warmer. I’m starting to fear that I did a poor packing job and didn’t pack enough for cool days. But it was hot in Baltimore when I left it was hard to think about packing heavy sweaters. My hot water bottle has become my new best friend and is helping to keep my toes warm at night.

In terms of my research, there are so many pieces that all need to fall into place before I can actually start my site visits and data collection. Some days it seems impossible that all of the pieces will all come together. So far there has been a lot of uncertainty and waiting, waiting, waiting and more waiting.

I finally heard from the “man with the key” today which will now allow me to hopefully start my data collection next week in Pietermaritzburg – the capital of the province and about an hour outside of Durban. I’m both excited and terrified about starting this journey.

There are days when I wish I had decided to do secondary data analysis for my dissertation, but if this all works out I know the frustrations will all be worth it……..

To be continued…..

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