48 days from now, I’ll fly to Lima, Peru for the summer. Well, their winter really.
The main purpose of the trip is to join a tuberculosis (TB) research team for 2 months or so at Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredía in Lima. I’ll study factors associated with TB treatment default to learn more about treatment outcomes in this high incidence area. For anyone uninitiated into the world of TB epidemiology, this basically means that I’ll be looking into why people stop taking their TB drugs. Treatment default is a huge reason why we’ve seen an increase in the incidence of multi-drug resistant (MDR) strains of TB. Though mainly a problem in low- and middle-income regions, it’s truly becoming a global phenomenon. We’ve had MDR-TB cases (and XDR-TB – much worse) in Texas this year. Crazy, right? Read THIS if you want to learn more about my thoughts on TB. This research is part of the practicum experience required for the MPH degree I’m pursuing and I’m fortunate to have found an opportunity so closely aligned with my passions!
Anyway, that’s what I’ll do for the first 2 months of my trip. I’ll be living in an apartment in Miraflores, a nice area on the coast in Lima, and commuting up to the university during the week. Hopefully I’ll even be able to improve my Spanish a bit while I’m exploring the city!
I’ll wrap up the research portion of the trip after 8 weeks or so and get the chance to explore for another month(ish) before heading back to the furnace that is Austin in August. For the next two weeks, I’ll run around the rest of Peru trying to find as many llamas as possible. Machu Picchu is clearly high on the list and I’ll hopefully get to spend some time in Cuzco, Manu National Park, and any other opportunities that come up.
August 8th I’ll fly from Lima to Cartagena, Colombia, where I’ll spend my final dos semanas (check out those Spanish skills!). I really know very little about the area and have no idea what I’ll do once I arrive. It’s a town on the Caribbean coast, so clearly beaches will be involved, but any other plans are entirely up in the air at this point. Ideally I’ll make it over to Tayrona National Park and maybe down to Medellin if I’m not completely broke by this point.
Anyway, those are the plans for now. I’ll use this site/blog to keep you updated if you’re at all interested since I’m fairly social-media challenged.
Anyone been to Peru or Colombia? Any advice or travel recommendations would be fantastic. Gracias!