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Going Home

As she prepares to leave Tanzania, Auriel August reflects on her experiences, from conducting a clinical study to exploring local cultures.

By Auriel August

Over the summer of 2014, Auriel August (’17) conducted research at the DarDar Pediatric Program in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Read all of her posts here.

Squeezing in one last patient on my last day at DPP, I was able to reach my target of 50 to include in the trial! Now I will begin a preliminary analysis of the data collected, looking at various parameters (e.g. age, years of antiretroviral therapy, history of TB) and their effect on forced expiratory volume and forced vital capacity. Hopefully, we will be able to replicate the results from the previous studies done in other East African countries.

Auriel August
Auriel August (right) with Dr. Anna Kiravu.

Unfortunately, the time has come for me to leave Dar Es Salaam. As I pack up my room, I reflect on my six weeks in Tanzania. I attended a traditional Tanzanian send-off party for the daughter of a nurse with the DarDar Pediatric Project, swam with dolphins off the southern coast of Zanzibar, and explored the natural wildlife of the Serengeti. But most importantly, I got to spend every day working with incredible children living with a very serious and extremely stigmatized illness. I have learned far more than I could ever contribute, but it is my hope that the project can at least draw some attention to the well-being of HIV-infected youth in Tanzania. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to live and learn in this community, and I will forever carry my experiences with me.

I want to give a special thank you to Dr. Paul Palumbo and Dr. Margaret Guill for incorporating me into their project and advising me over the past year, as well as Dr. Anna Kiravu and Dr. Yahya Binde for their mentorship while I was in Dar and their incredible patience as I struggled to communicate in Swahili. I would also like to thank Dr. Helga Naburi and Dr. Isabella Sylvester for allowing me to round with them at Muhimbili National Hospital. Finally, I want to thank the Dickey Center and Helen’s Fund at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth for supporting my project.

Even though I have not yet left Tanzania, I am already looking forward to my next trip back.

Auriel August is a member of the Class of 2017 at the Geisel School of Medicine.