Art from Uganda Trip
This is my site Written by Alex on January 10, 2009 – 10:22 am   

When I went to Uganda to do research on clinical trials for the book, of course I took pictures. They included the typical shots on safari of elephants, hippos, and birds. I took pics of warthogs kneeling right outside the door of my bungalow at the Mweya Lodge in Queen Elizabeth State Park. I also got great shots of the origin of the Nile river, the Rift Valley, and of majestic tea plantations. But I took most of my pictures in the capital city of Kampala, where I stayed at the Father Mazzoldi House, which is essentially a monastery, and where I was hosted by Father John Mary Mooka, who is working on his Ph.D. in bioethics. Kampala is a fascinating and beautiful city. It is home to almost two million people – swelling to almost four million people each workday. It’s also home to maybe ten traffic lights, tops. Despite the chaos and crowds, it all functions and flows beautifully each day thanks to a simple shared spirit of cooperation. I would go out in the city to run each day (saying to myself at least once, “I’m running in Africa!”) and be amazed at the gorgeous people, the grinding poverty, the ever-present efforts at personal entrepreneurship taking place on every corner (you can buy a cell phone as easy as sticking out your hand), and the constant buzz of motorbikes shuttling people dangerously but expertly in and out of traffic for a few shillings.


I took photos in hospitals, at AIDS clinics and in the countryside of doctors, patients, nurses, and of children and their parents enrolled in clinical trails. I took pictures anywhere I could put my arm out the window of a van and anytime I get the viewfinder to my face and click away. It was a fascinating trip made poetic through interviewing such strong, stoic, intense, and generous people. I posted some of the photos on Snapfish to share with friends (you can see them here) and since then a talented artist named Sarah Keane rendered a piece of art from one of the photos. I thought you might enjoy both the photos and Sarah’s artwork, which is featured for only a short time longer in a small group show in New York. They came about as a happy result of my research into clinical trials.

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