Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Stories from the Field: "There's no place like home..." -- Second post by returning intern, Alicia Majeau

By Alicia Majeau

There’s no place like home… even when that home means battling rats, disagreeing with your neighbors over the toilet, and fending off giant hornets as they nightly try to join you under your mosquito net. After three weeks in Kidaago, our house is definitely feeling like a home. Although there have certainly been some less-than- ideal happenings, such is village life, and facing the challenges that arise is part of what helps this experience change your perspective. And for every rat getting into the food in the pantry, there’s been a wonderful family dinner; for every insult muttered by a disgruntled teacher, a wonderful conversation. We have seen some difficult things, another child in the village passing away last week and the body being laid out for all to see, but we have also seen some beautiful things, village children inviting us to join in their impromptu song and dance session at our house. The people of Kidaago B have also been hospitable to an extreme. This previous week alone, we received three large bags of ground nuts, several mangos, beans, eggs, and ears of maize.

Being so well received overall has made our work in the village a pleasant experience. This past week saw the beginning of our baseline surveys about household sanitation and mosquito net use. Asking to inspect someone’s toilet and enter their house to see a net hanging where they sleep allows for some potential awkwardness, and when people are unwilling, it makes one all the more uncomfortable. We have been very fortunate in Kidaago B, and as yet have met very little resistance. Our first sensitization was also well attended and our HIV and syphilis testing day, which occurred this past Thursday, was a huge success, with 230 villagers coming out to get tested. It is hard to believe that our time in Kidaago B is almost halfway through, but I prefer looking at as still having a little more than half of our time left. Looking forward, my team has a lot of great work still to come, and I am just as excited about our work now as I was at the onset of our program.

This is the second blog post by Alicia Majeau. Read her first post here. Alicia is an incoming graduate student in Molecular Microbiology & Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She interned with UVP in 2011 and returned this summer to serve as a team leader. 

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