And first the Mountain……
Well, we’re in the air right now on our way back to Tanzania for the beginning of our fall 2015 expedition. I thought it might be helpful to give a brief rundown of who will be with me and what our itinerary will be. This will be our largest contingent yet to visit FAME and perhaps our most adventurous.
To begin, several of us will be tackling Mount Kilimanjaro. This is something that I never thought I would have the opportunity to do, but the stars were aligned and with some gentle nudging from Danielle and Lindsay (or was it a challenge?), I decided to finally take the week necessary to make the climb up. And, oh yes, down as well. For those who aren’t aware, I will have to tell you that Kilimanjaro is the only one of the seven summits (the tallest peaks on each continent) that requires no technical skills to climb. It’s just a long hike up a tall mountain that happens to be just shy of 20,000 feet. My brother and nephew will also be joining us on the climb so it will be the five of us together on the mountain for a week. If all goes well, I will be able to blog going up so hopefully you will have great images in the coming days. Stay tuned…..
Meanwhile, I have two residents accompanying me, Ali Mendelson and Thu Vu, along with Danielle Becker (who has been there twice before and will be working specifically with epilepsy patients) along with Lindsay Ferarro, who is an epilepsy fellow. For this trip we are also bringing an EEG machine with us that we will leave there and have Cara Linenbroker joining us, who is an EEG technologist from Penn and will teach one of the nurses at FAME how to perform the EEGs in our absence. The last member of our group is Fima Macheret, the only non-neurologist to have come with us from Penn. Fima and Ali are getting married this weekend and will be traveling to Zanzibar for their honeymoon before joining us at FAME. Fima is a medicine hospitalist from Presbyterian Hospital at Penn and will be working directly with the other doctors at FAME to do more general medicine work.
This year is an election year in Tanzania which means that there are demonstrations and large gatherings that will curtail our ability to visit some of the traditional locations that we travel to. We will be spending more time at FAME and less at the mobile clinics, unfortunately, as our visits to these villages have become a twice annual routine and patients have come to expect our visits. We will make the best of our time, though, and I’m sure we will have plenty of work to do.
I hope you will enjoy my blogs over the coming weeks and I promise that they will include plenty of photos. I will hopefully provide the local flavor of the lovely culture that is Tanzania and has become my second home over the past six years.