Rx One Health Course Travel Blog: The Insiders Guide
Taylor Calloway (Class of 2018) was one of twenty-one students who participated in the new Rx One Health Course based in Tanzania and Rwanda during June 2017. This is Taylor’s personal narrative aiming to illustrate her daily experiences, a deeper understanding of the One Health approach in a real-world setting, and the big question of “why is this course important.”
Follow Taylor’s journey through pictures, videos and tales as she attempts to understand the foundations of One Health while learning new veterinary skills, developing her place in a cooperative and immersive professional team, making life-long memories and friends, and embracing an inimitable, but personally foreign culture.
Having never traveled to any African countries before, and this journey being a dream of mine since the age of seven, I was extremely anxious arriving at the San Francisco International Airport. All I could think was “Dang you, Animal Planet, for giving me dreams!”
Once I arrived in D.C. for a connecting flight, two fellow Rx One Health participants found me before our next flights—a classmate, June, and a new friend from Georgia, Marie. Thirteen hours to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia proved to be uneventful, and the next three hours to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania followed suit.
We were luckier than others. Once we arrived, the discovery of lost luggage by a participant and course leader left the three of us empathetic as we all understand that fear. This is especially worrisome as we leave on another plane for Iringa, Tanzania tomorrow morning. Unpredictability is scary and unfortunately a very real issue with international travel in general. Yet, as unsettled as both these individuals were, they also decided to figure out a plausible solution together, which I felt helped ease the unnerving feeling.
I was happy to discover that we all had our own rooms for the first night to settle in and readjust ourselves for what is to come the next month. We were able to eat dinner at the Southern Sun Hotel (which is a beautiful hotel with great food), sing Happy Birthday to Eric, a public health veterinary student, and get to know each other a little before heading to bed early.
Karibu, or welcome in Swahili, to the day of introductions and travel. As international travel usually goes, I woke up around 4:30 am this morning and decided that it was time for breakfast. June had responded to my earlier Whatsapp message, so we met up for food at this unreasonable hour. Once we started to eat, we did end up seeing some early risers like Adrian Ntware, a veterinary intern at the Gorilla Doctors from Rwanda, and Alessandra Amadeo, a physician and maters of public health student from California. We chatted for a while about life and how excited we were to learn from each other before packing up our belongings in preparation for a plane ride to Iringa.
Nepal, Rwanda, Tanzania, Denmark, Georgia, California and D.C. This is our task force for the remainder of the trip. After a quick introductory lecture to One Health by Dr. Jonna Mazet and a “get to know someone new” interview, I introduced myself to Ntakiyisumba Eulade, or Eulade for short . He is a veterinary student in his fourth year, out of five, who is trying to become more fluent in English. Although it took some time to communicate, he is probably one of the nicest people I have ever met in my life. The main reason he wanted to take this course was so he could bring the knowledge he gains to his own community and his University’s One Health Club.
At the airport we all walked, or jogged with joy, towards the smallest planes on the runway. Many people have never ridden in planes that size and were extremely excited to leave for the Iringa Rivervalley Campsite. I won’t lie, I did expect to land in the bush, set up some tents and not shower for the four nights at this campsite. However, I am learning that usually what I expect is not what ends up happening. Adaptability is key, even when the instance turns out nicer than expected.
Courtney Youngbar, a Master of Public Health student from D.C., was stuck with me in our cabin. A beautiful friendship was formed before we crashed out in our beds. I have a feeling we are going to get along pretty well.
Swahili Words of the Day: Chumvi, Salt; Pilipili, Pepper