My 44-hour journey from Knoxville, TN to Zhengzhou, China was exhausting, but fairly easy and uneventful. During the 16-hour flight from JFK to Guangzhou, I had trouble sleeping due to anticipation of what was to come, which led to a migraine. The process to go through immigrations and customs was almost identical to that in the United States when arriving in Guangzhou. After a two-hour delay, I finally boarded my flight to Zhengzhou!
I’m honored to be traveling in China this week on behalf of Hope Through Healing Hands as a member of the Global Board of Directors for The Nature Conservancy. We will be spending eight days at the intersection of global health and nature, conservation and climate. Climate change disproportionately affects the most vulnerable people in the world, and I’m looking forward to learning more about how we can help both conservation efforts and global health.
I hope you are all doing well back at home. I have really settled in here. I am loving the country and the people more and more each day. Work has been moving very quickly, that is why I have not been posting as often. The KAP study as been finalized and translated into Mongolian and the pilot study for that is currently being worked on. I am hoping that will be accomplished before I leave.
It’s hard to believe that a month has already gone by. I am sure the month of April will be even faster than March and I will be home before I know it. I apologize for not writing sooner, I have been under the weather the past few days but am finally much better.
One of the first ex-laps I did here in Kijabe was a planned gastrectomy on a 74-year-old female for gastric cancer. She was thin and frail and had progressive difficulty with eating for over a year now with resultant profound weight loss. I feared the worst when I felt her abdomen after she had been put to sleep; when she was fully relaxed, you could feel a large mass in her upper abdomen.
It seems to me that global surgery, or really any work in a resource-poor country, requires a different type of intelligence to be successful. Indeed, it requires ingenuity, the ability to think outside the box at nearly every level to make do with the resources available. This has been demonstrated to me over and over again for the last four weeks here in Kijabe, Kenya.
I am writing you tonight as I sit on my living room couch eating scrambled eggs for dinner after a full day of travel outside of the city. Today, three new friends and I traveled to see part of the Mongolian health care system outside of the city.
Yesterday International Women Day was celebrated by giving cakes, sweets, flowers in appreciation of women around the country. It kind of reminded me of Valentines day in the states- I was walking around towards the downtown square and passed countless men carrying flowers or cake boxes home. So naturally- I got myself a cupcake to celebrate :). It actually was pretty tasty! The day was also celebrated with no work- so I got a holiday on my second day.

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