June 18-29th Tororo
I arrived in Tororo on June 14th, after about two weeks of exploring Uganda with my mentor, Dr. Brodine, and the other two MHIRT fellows. This is where my research experience truly began. I met the new people I would be working with and said goodbye to my travel mates. It was nice to get settled into the place I would be staying for the longest duration—I was able to unpack my bags and set up a routine. Tororo is very different from Kampala. It is much more rural, and our accommodations lack some luxuries that I am accustomed to: hot water, running water, reliable electricity, and a refrigerator. With a bit of adjusting, I managed, and began working hard to collect data.
Cultural differences between Uganda and the United States took a while to get used to. For example, being late is not socially acceptable in the United States, however, it appears to be accepted here. Meetings that were scheduled to begin at 9:00am often started at 9:40am or 10:00am. This was challenging to deal with at first, however, I soon learned to bring something I could work on while waiting. Our project focused on the experiences and help seeking behavior of HIV+ patients experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV). The study was an interview based cross sectional study, so we needed to hire research assistants to help us collect our data. Research assistants were also a great way to bridge cultural gaps and minimize biases.