Monday, July 9, 2012

Stories from the Field: Hello from the Nutrition Team

By Nishant Pandya

Monday, June 18th marked the start of what I considered the Nutrition Team's first work week. Our first week had been a transitional period in order for us to get used to our new home, a new lifestyle, and to orient ourselves. The major project of the week was the information session we were going to hold at the village health clinic, and the focus group with the savings club. Both of these events were to be held on Wednesday. 

After spending Monday outlining how these events would go, Tuesday was spent practicing and rehearsing them to ensure they went smoothly. After feeling sufficiently confident during run throughs, we considered ourselves ready for the actual sessions on Wednesday.

The information session in the morning focused on child and maternal health. We talked about breastfeeding, complimentary feedings, and opened the floor to questions. Despite not understanding much of what was being said, I could tell when a message had stuck. Not being able to understand Lusoga, the verbal language, gave me the ability to focus more on body language. I could tell who was engaged, when people checked out, and if a message had hit home. Later that day, we held a focus group to introduce ourselves to the village. We talked about beliefs they held on nutrition, figured out what foods could be found, and played a game to where we would recite statements and the villagers would say if they agreed or disagreed. Once again, I barely understood what was being said by the villagers, but Caroline and Alex would always fill me in on when something important was said. I spent the time reading body language, helping out however I could, and most importantly, thinking how the Nutrition team could get better for the next session we hold.

By Matt Cognetti

Working with the UVP will make you smarter.

Hello my name is Matt Cognetti and I am one-fourth of the nutrition team, here is part of my UVP story.

Nishant and I started researching a nutrition project to implement into the Uganda Village Project since November 2011, during this time we have went through many revisions, but it has been one of the best learning experiences I’ve had at Penn State... mostly due to an increase in motivation.

While some of my classmates were struggling with the last semester push of senior year, I regarded myself as very fortunate. I could see the importance of my public health, health behavior, and epidemiology classes. I was lucky I had found a reason to care. UVP had made concepts such as ecological model, theory of planned behavior, and household sampling methods relevant to me, and crucial to the work we do everyday.

This has also been a rewarding experience because fresh from my formative undergrad years. I get to work with very smart master of public health candidates, and insanely intelligent and competent Ugandan interns. I could not have asked for a better growth experience as I go to apply for a future career as a doctor and research scientist.

Nishant and Matt are both interning with UVP this summer as part of the Nutrition team. 

No comments: