Going Back to Kilimanjaro

Remember our Harvard Hero award winner Rupal R. Shah. (story posted in July 2012) who also ran a Berlin Marathon Through the Brandenburg Gate (story posted Nov. 2013) is going on another selfless journey to serve people in need. You can find her devotion and passion in the following article……

Dear Family and Friends,

Tomorrow I will be flying to my birthplace at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. My family and I left our hometown of Moshi fifteen years ago in pursuit of the American Dream. Fifteen years have flown by fast..! I am now returning to Tanzania to conduct an internship at a rural hospital near Moshi, Kibong’oto Infectious Diseases Hospital. I will spend three months working with local healthcare professionals to assist with the development and improvement of hospital management and care. This internship is through a women-owned company in Boston called Initiatives Inc.

I am excited, nervous, and emotional. Moshi is home for three generations of our family–my grandfather, my father, and i all have roots there. Just last weekend my father fondly told me about my grandfather, who was orphaned at the young age of five. Shortly after, his uncles brought him from India to Tanzania. My grandfather worked hard and brought up his family of seven children in Moshi. My dad continued his father’s legacy and settled in Moshi with my mother. My siblings and I were born there, we played there, and we spent our childhood in Tanzania. Collectively, we have many fond memories of Moshi.

I am overjoyed that I now have the opportunity to see Tanzania with a different set of eyes, as a professional and as an adult. I conducted Tuberculosis research at Harvard University for several years, yet I spent most of my time in the laboratory. I now have the chance to work in a clinical setting where patients with tuberculosis and other infectious diseases are examined and treated. I am looking forward to utilizing my research experiences in the field of infectious diseases as well as my personal knowledge of the country in order to work on this project. 

For me, this will be a journey of discovery and reflection. As I do that, I’ll keep you posted about my work at the hospital as well as my adventures in Tanzania. Thank you for all your support, encouragement, and good wishes thus far. I look forward to hearing back from all of you.
Headed back home,


UPDATE: Here are some reflections from Rupal following her trip.