25 April 2008

World Malaria Day

Today is World Malaria Day. The purpose is to provide education and understanding of malaria as a global scourge that is preventable and a disease that is curable.
"Malaria causes up to 3 million deaths and 500 million acute infections a year, 90% of which are in Africa, costing upwards of US$12 billion per annum. It is the world's invisible pandemic. " (www.malariaconsortium.org)
The Centers for Disease Control states, "a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite. People with malaria often experience fever, chills, and flu-like illness. Left untreated, they may develop severe complications and die . . . .This sometimes fatal disease can be prevented and cured. Bednets, insecticides, and antimalarial drugs are effective tools to fight malaria in areas where it is transmitted. Travelers to a malaria-risk area should avoid mosquito bites and take a preventive antimalarial drug." (www.cdc.gov/malaria/)
There is a new global partnership between the Presidents Malaria Initiative, faith-based groups, UN programs, private foundations, and other government organizations and NGO's. To see their Community Statement see: http://www.malaria.org/World%20Malaria%20Day/WMD%20Statement2008.pdf.

09 April 2008

ECHO

Greetings from sunny (and humid) Florida! I'm currently at a course in Ft. Myers at ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization). ECHO is "a non-profit, inter-denominational Christian organization located on a demonstration farm . . . . ECHO has been assisting a global network of missionaries and development workers since 1981 and is currently serving agricultural workers in 180 countries. ECHO exists for one major reason, to help those working internationally with the poor be more effective, especially in the area of agriculture!" (http://www.echonet.org/)

I'm taking their course entitled Health, Agriculture, Culture and Community. "The workshop brings together biblical principles of health and agriculture, cross-cultural methods of communication, and skills in establishing relationships that facilitate behavioral changes for the improvement of health and nutrition." It's been great! Here at ECHO they have a global farm where they do research, problem solving, and supply sample seeds to Missionaries and international agricultural and relief workers (such as the Peace Corps, USAID, PEPFAR, etc). They are a great resource for those working overseas in the areas of community health & development, medical care (particularly in lower economic areas), and agriculture. I've learned so much in two days and I've got three to go!

I've met some fantastic people who have served around the world and are now here passing on their expertise and knowledge. They are a great group who love what they do and laugh a lot! I think some of them may even be more fun and creative than most Occupational Therapists! (okay, maybe that's pushing it a bit) :)

Well, thanks for reading. Feel free to post comments!! (It'd be nice to know SOMEONE is reading this!) :)

05 April 2008

Vingt-sept attentes

I fully intended to keep this blog strictly focused on my journey to Niger . . . but one only turns a year older every 365 days. At work today, every time I had to write the date, my hand switched to auto-pilot and wrote "4/4/81" instead of "4/4/08" . . . I must say, I have a most convenient DOB for filling out customs forms and visa applications. Day-Month-Year . . . Month-Day-Year . . . no worries!! I get it right every time!

But it was a good night. My dear friend, Priscila, invited me to go to the Phila Art Museum with her for Art After 5 -- live jazz on the grand staircase. She and her friend Byron had muffins and candles waiting on the Rocky-Steps and sang to me in front of the sun-setting over Center-City. Then Jenny came! It was fantastic! Great muffins . . . great music . . . great company! It was a great day to become twenty-seven!