Hello Friends and Family,

I have never been so thankful for a shower! I am happy to say that after a two day journey and a lot of jet lag I have made it to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.  I arrived late last night around 3AM here to meet wonderful hosts who welcomed me to this beautiful city.  I can honestly say I had no idea what to expect, or what it would look like coming in. I feel very comfortable here so far and have enjoyed walking (not too far) around my apartment.

It is quite cold here, around 7 degrees Fahrenheit today- it sounds terrible, but honestly with a warm jacket, boots, and sweater you are good to go.  My apartment is great- it has everything I need including a washing machine and microwave which is awesome! These are things I was not really expecting- I feel like my hosts are giving me the royal treatment! Any issue (which was really minor- lack of running water at first) were solved within a few hours thanks to my hosts.

Who are my hosts you ask? I am interning with Flagstaff International Relief Effort (F.I.R.E) and my future coworkers come Monday have been helping me get around and comfortable with the area.  I am staying near the City Center- close to Chinggis Khaan (yes, we say it wrong in the states- I had no idea until yesterday) Square and have any amenity I could need at my finger tips.

I begin work on Monday.  I am set to work with F.I.R.E and the World Health Organization (WHO) on a planning project for community based education for viral hepatitis and liver cancer- two large health problems for Mongolia.  Mongolia has the highest rate of liver cancer and viral hepatitis C in the world as well as one of the highest rates of hepatitis B.  The liver cancer rate alone is six times higher than the international average.  This high rate is often due to late diagnosis of viral hepatitis and other related liver diseases such as cirrhosis.  78% of liver cancer patients are not diagnosed until stage III or IV and 85% of liver cancer patients die within one year of diagnosis according to the Center for Health Development in Mongolia, 2014.  The goal of this project is to raise awareness and influence change by directing the general population on testing and treatment.

In addition, I will be helping with a Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice Assessment with WHO and the National Cancer Center.  I am definitely looking forward to each of these projects and will continue to share throughout the two months I am here.

Feel free to leave any comments and questions you may have! I would love to hear from you!

The picture above is near my apartment.  I am staying to the right behind the crane.  The first building you see on the right with the cars in front is a shopping center right across the street from my apartment.