Thursday, 18:00

It’s going to be another rapid update I’m afraid. We’ve just finished Day 1 of 2 of the inaugural MRC Gambia genomics conference, and it was certainly crammed full of interesting talks. A wide-ranging programme took in the genomics and genetics of viruses, malaria (and their hosts), pneumococcus, mycobacteria and even Helicobacter. My slight headache is most likely to be caused by malaria, but I suppose it might also be the 6 cups of coffee. Bouka, the local infectious diseases physician doesn’t take malaria prophylaxis during the dry season – which it currently is – preferring instead to do thick and thin films every time she spikes a temperature! That’s pretty hardcore…

I’ve taken copious notes, and some photographs and even a short video of the conference, but I think I am just too tired and headachey to start writing it up now. And besides, we are off to dinner at the Gambia’s premiere Indian restaurant – the Clay Oven, shortly.

Food update: lunch was benichin, a kind of biryani style rice with stewed vegetables and meat (probably goat). A little bit spicey and rather good, in fact. I have yet to try afra, the Gambian take on a kebab, where a whole meat joint is hung on a hook – you point at which bit you want and they chop it and barbecue it and serve in Gambian bread with spices and mustard.

Tomorrow is the last day of the seminar and I so in the PM I am looking forward to doing a little bit of relaxing with some JulBrew at the pool. George has moved into the African Village and I am going there too later.

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