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Finally settling down in Harare

posted in: 2011, Zimbabwe - No Comments

July 6, 2011

Some of the friends I have made here in Harare enjoying an afternoon together!

Some of the friends I have made here in Harare enjoying an afternoon together!

After having a memorable time in Buhera district, it has taken me a while to get used to the peacefulness and quiet nature of Harare and the IRD office.  In the last couple of weeks I have moved into a separate cottage of the IRD office and, in order to avoid things becoming too monotonous (from living at the same place that I work), I find myself going the extra mile in search of fun social events. Most of my time here in Harare has been occupied with work, now that the survey is done, Patrick (the other IRD intern) and I have to enter in all the data and analyze the information. The main purpose is to document impacts of the REVALUE program that were not expected in the original design and to use the information we collect to mobilize resources, so as to implement economic growth programs that impact orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). My main focus areas in the survey include the diet diversification of the children, so, I composed a diet diversity indicator based on the guidelines of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). That basically entailed a 24 hr household recall where we asked what the children had to eat the day before and we singled out children under 2 and asked different questions to reflect their breastfeeding needs. I was also in charge of the psychosocial aspects, so I adapted a set of questions based on a previous OVC survey conducted in Zambia. Lastly I constructed some questions on the basic health status of the children.


A Hot Meal, a Shared Cup, and BANANAS!

posted in: 2011, Laos - No Comments

June 27, 2011 

“Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.” -Romans 12:13

Chief“Make yourself at home.  You are like family!” said the chief of Pon Kam village.  I sat on a mat on the floor of the chief’s house eating a mango that an older woman had peeled and given to me.  I’d only met the chief an hour ago.  He didn’t even know my name yet, and he was telling me I was like family.  We laughed as we talked about the differences in Lao and American culture, and recited the names of different fruits in Lao, English, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, and French.  He found the English word, “banana” particularly funny.  He looked at his wife straight-faced, then blurted out “BANANA!”, and burst into unrestrained laughter.  The plates of jackfruit and pineapple that surrounded me came from his trees.  The chief went and picked them himself, and proudly presented them as part of the feast that we shared that evening in his home with about 15 other villagers.  READ MORE

Working together…

posted in: 2011, Mozambique - No Comments

June 24, 2011

Working together for better care for orphans and vulnerable children

Market streetHello from Quelimane, Mozambique! My internship partner Marques and I have now relocated from Maxixe to Quelimane for the second project of our internship. But before I tell you about that, a little bit about what I’ve been up to since I last wrote.

During our field visits with IRD’s local partner organizations, we noted the many unfulfilled needs of the orphans and vulnerable children in the province of Inhambane. We also met with government representatives who oversee programs with orphans and vulnerable children. They told us that they did not have a lot of information on these children in the province, and they would be happy to receive data on them from organizations such as IRD and its partners which are implementing programs to support them. READ MORE

Religious Leaders Help Fight HIV/AIDS in Africa

posted in: 2011, Zimbabwe - No Comments

July 1, 2011

We’ve continued to delve into the analysis of our survey data over the last two weeks.  We’ve found a few interesting and important trends, which I’ll mention in a later post.

Today, though, I want to tell you about the role of religious leaders in the fight against HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.  Please note that these are solely my opinions, based on my work experience in southern Africa.

If you haven’t heard about the scale of the AIDS crisis in this part of the world, you can readily find frightening statistics with minimal Googling.  The disease is devastating people of every tribe, class, education level, gender, and age.  Some African nations, with the financial backing of the west, have stemmed the tide, but others, for various reasons, haven’t even made a dent. READ MORE