By Auriel August
Over the summer of 2014, Auriel August (’17) will be conducting research at the DarDar Pediatric Program in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Read all of her posts here.
It did not take long to learn the most popular greeting in Dar es Salaam: “Mambo,” meaning “Hi, how are you?” Typically, you respond with “Poa poa,” which means “Cool.”
Multiple greetings are very common in Tanzanian culture. Usually when you meet someone you start with the mambo/poa exchange, and then you ask how they slept or how their morning was and if they are having a good day. The interest is genuine—people are really interested in each other’s wellbeing and state of mind throughout the day.
My work at the DarDar Pediatric Program is going surprisingly well. I expected it to take some time to settle in, but I was thrown right into the mix on the first day. I am working with Dr. Paul Palumbo and Dr. Margaret Guill from Dartmouth, and with a Tanzanian pediatric resident—Dr. Yahaya Binde—on an investigation of the pulmonary function of HIV-positive youth in Tanzania. In recent years, studies have indicated that children with HIV exhibit abnormal lung function. It had not previously been shown that HIV directly affects lung function (at least in the absence of pulmonary infections such as pneumonia or tuberculosis), so Drs. Palumbo, Guill, and Binde are interested in investigating further.