Tag Archives: Peru

En route to Rwanda

Greetings from Brussels ? our son, Will, and I are on our way to Rwanda for a long-planned visit.

This will be the fourth of our international visits together, in which we combine our interest in global health with an effort to learn more about the world ? especially those parts which are far away from Chapel Hill.

Will Roper in the Brussels Airport

Will Roper in the Brussels Airport

In 2007, Will and I went to South Africa, Malawi and Zambia. We focused especially on the UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Disease work that has long been done in Malawi. We learned a lot, and Will got to work in an AIDS orphanage.

In 2008, he and I went to China, where we again met with UNC collaborators, particularly in the China CDC. And we got to take in some of the Beijing Olympics!

In 2009, Will and I went to Peru, with Drs. Luis Diaz and Doug Morgan, and we saw first-hand the work that they and colleagues are doing to advance our understanding of health and disease. This has direct relevance to our efforts in Latino Health in North Carolina. And we got to see Machu Picchu too!

This year it's Rwanda ? a small country in east central Africa ? with a troubled past, but an exciting present and future. The 1994 genocide in Rwanda is a major part of the history of the country, and we will be visiting genocide memorials and learning of the horror of what happened 16 years ago.

But we will also be learning of the widespread reconciliation work that seems to be bearing much fruit, and the rapid development of the country and its economy.

UNC does not yet have global health work in Rwanda, but I will be visiting with leaders in the Ministry of Health, and in the hospitals and medical school. I look forward to learning much about what others are doing in Rwanda, and to thinking about the further opportunities.

In addition, our church in Chapel Hill has a partnership with the Anglican Church in Rwanda, and our sister parish is St. Paul's Cathedral in Butare, Rwanda. I will be visiting with church leaders there and elsewhere in Rwanda.

All in all, we have much to learn and experience. It promises to be a great trip!

Much more to come.

Trujillo and Cuzco

ropers-will-stone-doorway
Yesterday we had another full day in Trujillo.

In the morning, Doug Morgan, Luis Diaz and I met with the student leaders of the UNT (National University of Trujillo) School of Medicine. In UNC terms, it was like meeting with the leadership of the Whitehead Medical Society, our student association.

They are an obviously bright and very motivated group of young physicians-to-be. They had planned the medical student congress that was to have been in Trujillo this week, which was unfortunately postponed due to H1N1 flu concerns. It turns out the congress is now going to occur in November. They invited us to come back then, but I'm not sure we all can.

In mid-day, Doug gave a talk to a packed auditorium at the main teaching hospital about his work on gastric cancer in Latin America. He gave it in fluent Spanish but the combination of the very helpful slides and a number of similar words I was able to follow it pretty well.

In the afternoon we visited another archeological site near Trujillo this one is the Temple of the Moon. It is an incredible pyramid site, with very impressive stone work and painted designs.

Last evening we flew to Lima and over-nighted there.

This morning, first thing, we flew to Cuzco. It was the capital of the Inca Empire, and is a major tourist attraction. We spent all of this afternoon visiting various sites around Cuzco and thoroughly enjoyed it all.

But Cuzco is at more than 10,000 feet elevation and I have the constant feeling of lightheadedness and shortness of breath. I've medicated myself some and now feel better.

On one of the stops this afternoon we walked up a long path to see an archeological site and I had to stop several times. I thought I was in pretty good physical shape but the UNC Wellness Center and Cuzco are quite different!

This combination of global health partnership and now a little vacation is really pleasant. It is especially nice that Will is able to join me in all of this.