Welcome to the brand new Komen Tissue Bank blog! Unbelievably, we are writing this inaugural entry from Nairobi, Kenya. This trip has been so long in the making, with so many people working so hard to make it happen, but it has finally happened, and it’s not even the main event! We plan to travel back to Eldoret, Kenya to hold a tissue sample collection event. The goal is to collect tissue from 200 African women, in an effort to promote study which will give scientists an insight into triple negative breast cancer. This type of breast cancer is resistant to treatment, and primarily affects women of African descent. We are here now, in January, to outline the logistics of holding the event here at a later date.
On Friday afternoon, six members of the KTB team boarded planes and began the long, four-plane- ride journey to Eldoret. After completing three flights totaling about 17 hours in the air, we stayed overnight in Nairobi, then completed our journey the next morning with a final hop to Eldoret, Kenya. That last leg of the trip was a little bumpy, but the rest of the journey was mostly smooth sailing (or flying!) for our adventurous group, made up of Dr. Anna Maria Storniolo, Dr. Linda Han, Jill Henry, Liz Way, Theresa Mathieson, and Kathi Ridley-Merriweather.
We are certain that you’ll want to know about the weather here…the skies are a gorgeous blue, it’s around 80 degrees every day with a fantastic breeze, and about 55 every night. There are some big differences here in Kenya from what we’re used to. First of all, it’s summer here – their seasons are opposite of ours. It never gets really cold, but when we are sweltering in July and August they are having their winter, with lots of rain. Now, however, it’s summer, and we are loving it! The other very obvious difference we noticed right away is that people here drive on the left side of the road, like in England. That takes some getting used to, even though we are only riding, not driving.
This country is full of beautiful people, and everyone is so welcoming. The national language is Swahili, but almost everyone speaks at least a bit of English, and many speak it fluently, that it is easy to communicate.
Through this blog over the next several days we want to tell you about the people and the culture of Kenya. While we’re doing that, we’ll also bring you along with us on the trip by telling you about some of our activities and observations. If you’d like to be sure not to miss any entries, you can sign up to receive an email when we post. Until next time…Tutaonana! See you later!