Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Be Like Obama


This is a children's notebook. I saw it on a hospital counter in Nigeria. Kinda made me think of the "Be Like Mike" campaign.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Twins in Lagos

Photo: Lagos 2009

Like most other large cities in Nigeria, when traffic stops in Lagos, street vendors trickle their ways into the streets. I have seen street vendors selling anything from phone chargers and wall clocks to fried plantains and boiled eggs. As we drove out of the Lagos airport we saw these two ladies, both with twins(Ibeji) on their hips asking for food for their children.
Two studies conducted about three decades ago estimate that Nigeria has the highest twin birth rates in the world (Golding, 1990; Naylander, 1978). A town nearly 50 miles north of Lagos boast the highest incidence of twin births. The dizygotic twin birth rates vary by region but monozygotic birth rates are constant around the world.

In the scientific community there are many hypothesis regarding environmental factors that determine multiple birth rates. Similarly, most Nigerians have their own impression of why so many western Nigerians give birth to twins. A few people mentioned that the yoruba
diet was the main factor, while others suggested various enviromental factors.

Golding, J. (1990) Factors associated with twinning and other multiple birth. In Golding, J. (ed.), Social and Biological Effects on Perinatal Mortality. Vol. III. Perinatal Analyses. Bristol University, Bristol, pp. 21-66
Naylander, P.P.S. (1978) Causes of high twinning frequencies in Nigeria. In Nance, W.E., Allen, G. and Parisi, P. (eds), Twin Research. Part B: Biology and Epidemiology. Alan R. Liss, New York, pp. 35-43.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Village birth attendants

We recently visited a village outside of the federal capital territory of Nigeria. The route was unpaved and a 4x4 pickup truck drove us in. I can't imagine how much rougher that trip would have been in a smaller car. An NGO founded by an architect and an urban planner is doing a lot of work at this village. We got a tour of a new school being built there. Apparently the Japanese embassy is also funding a lot of the new construction.

After the tour, we went into the settlements and talked to people who spoke either Hausa or English. Considering the treacherous route to the nearest hospital very few people make the trip unless they are in a dire state. Understandably women aren't able to make the trip to the hospital to deliver their children either.
Someone told us about a local birth attendant. This is a picture of where many women in the village deliver their children.

Birthing center

Friday, December 04, 2009

Jumma in Abuja

Abuja National Mosque

Photo: National Mosque shot in 2008

After Jummah

Photo: People socializing after the Friday prayer 2009

I went to the Nigerian National Mosque in Abuja for the Friday prayer.
Fortunately the Nigerian Muslims don't have to worry about a minaret ban.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

In queue for petrol

Petrol stations in the Federal Capital Territory have been hoarding gasoline in anticipation of a hike in crude oil prices. There is a chance that the Nigerian government will deregulate the sale of gasoline in the country. It is suspected that the petrol stations would hike the prices whenever there is a shortage. All around Abuja you can see mile-long lines of people in queue for gasoline. Our driver had to wait 8 hours to get the car filled up. Some people have been spending nights in their cars to keep their spot in line. For emergency situations people buy gasoline in jerrycans for two or three times the regular price.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turning things around

Photo: A woman waiting for medical care outside the hospital. (as shot) November, 2009

In low-resource health care settings physicians have to acclimate in order to provide the best possible care to their patients. It is important to best utilize what is available to them in order to make a diagnosis. Two days ago we went to a clinic in Nassarawa state, Nigeria; just a little north of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Alongside the highway we saw many scattered settlements. People from these small villages go to a central hospital to receive the most pressing medical care needs.

Physicians at this hospital make diagnoses without basic lab tests or equipment. Our project provides these physicians with a bacterial culture machine which may be used free of charge. On our last site visit we were shocked to notice that at this hospital the bacterial culture machine has only been used a handful of times. The local physicians have become habituated to practicing medicine in a low-resource hospital. Adding basic services provided at other hospitals is perceived as a burden to the physicians' diagnostic regiment.

Hopefully, we can turn this around.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Birthday

It is nice to be back under the Nigerian sun. Today was my first full day here. We woke up around 7 am and started the day with fried yam. Later in the afternoon we were invited to the Nigerian Ministry of Health to make a presentation about the sickle cell project. The public health division was incredibly enthusiastic and very supportive about the what our team is doing. It was the division director's birthday today. While we were there people sang her the Nigerian version of the "happy birthday" song. This version was so different from what I am used to in the US that I don't think they will need to pay the Time-Warner any royalties. The song ends with "how old are you nowwww? How old are you nowwww?". She turned 59 today.

In the evening we went to a huge carnival with people from all the Nigerian states representing their respective cultures. More pictures to come on my flickr site when I get back to the US.

I think we are off to the outskirts of the Nigerian Federal Capital Territory (FCT) tomorrow.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Olympus XA

Both my parents love photography and I grew up around cameras. My parents took most of our childhood pictures on an Olympus XA rangefinder camera. I remember this camera was a precious item in our household. My dad bought it from one of his photographer friends in the early 1980's.
In the last few years my parents have moved on to digital photography and I am starting to inherit all the awesome film gear. Recently, my Mom gave me this Olympus and I have been shooting with it regularly. I feel guilty for letting my DSLR collect dust on my shelf.
My style of photography totally changes when I am taking pictures with a film camera. I can't do any test shots to quickly check my exposure or to see how light is falling on my subject. I have to think much more and it is really fun to go lo-fi once in a while.

Grandriver, Lansing
This is a picture of Grand River (Lansing, MI) about a block away from my apartment.

Jamaica Palace
This is Eric at an incredible Jamaican restaurant in Lansing. They blast Jamaican music all day.

Light leak
I had to open the back of the camera in a (not so dark) room. This was an unexpected result. The light leak is perfectly over the manhole.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My friend's dream

Baker Wood Lot


Last night I had a dream that we were high school friends and we were
in the amazon trying to save children from slavery under this evil
baker. Bread was made by a windmill and the children had to shove all
the ingredients down these Tim Burton-like tubes as fast as they could
before this roulette wheel came and chopped their fingers off. Once
the children got too old, the old lady chopped them up and baked them
into bread.

We tried to get the media involved by telling the children's stories.
But, the rest of the world was deaf and blind and couldn't think about
anything but the loss of their senses. ...They just ate bread.


I woke up.

I still feel a little strange about that dream.

But, on a more positive note - we were high school superheros trying
to save children in the Amazon. That's pretty bad ass.

I think maybe I'm watching too much Highlander. If you're interested,
I want to share my love of that beautiful 1990s TV show. It'd be good
stress relief for you. It's completely mindless.

Friday, October 30, 2009

My Sugar Gliders

Meet Aurailieus
Meet Aurailieus: He is typically pretty relaxed but this day he was really interested in what is happening outside the window.

... and Josephine
Here is Josephine. She is the curious one and has a really short attention span. I love her.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Orange, originally uploaded by eatpomegranate.

Another memory of this Michigan fall.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Meet Rusty

IMG_2088, originally uploaded by eatpomegranate.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Language preservation

When I am at home with my family, we do our best to talk in Urdu. Of course, sometimes dinner table debates evoke sentences in English but that is uncommon. I still think of English as my second language. There are some things I can express much easier in Urdu while other topics require English.

A few months ago, I was having a conversation with my sister in Urdu and then she asked me to help her with her Chemistry homework. As soon as we cracked open the book and started talking about how to balance a chemical reaction, I switched to English. I feel like both these languages are distinct tools for me and I can't imagine communicating without one or the other. When it is necessary for effect while telling jokes, Punjabi also gets thrown into the mix too.

Our family tries our best to preserve Urdu in our new lifestyle, but who knows where it will be centuries from now. I was listening to a story about a group of linguists who are making digital audio archives of dying languages and once again I came across an article about them in NYTimes.

"Kim is a dying language, and Dr. Childs a field linguist. From his base here in Tei, a small fishing village on the Waanje River, he canoes up the narrow waterways that cut across the river’s floodplain, and hikes a few miles inland, to where the last Kim communities remain. Based on recordings taken there, he has devised an alphabet and compiled a dictionary and is finishing a book on the grammar."

Check out the full article

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

Islamabad heat

Photo in Islamabad, Pakistan 2006 by Adil Ibrahim

My brother and I and me biking in Pakistan on a hot day (~100 °F).

Monday, April 20, 2009

My Review of Swiss Army Renegade Watch


The Renegade Swiss Army watch features black on black styling and is made in Switzerland with precision Swiss quartz movement.

Great watch, not so great wristband

eatpomegranate Lansing, MI 4/20/2009


3 5

Gift: No

Pros: Quality Construction, Light, Comfortable

Cons: Strap broke, Scratches Easily

Best Uses: Daily Use, Travel

Describe Yourself: Athletic, Practical

Like another reviewer said; this watch is not designed for water sports. I took this on the lake and water got under the glass (SA fixed this).
I commute by bike in cold Michigan winters and the temperature fluctuation resulted in some fog under the glass (SA fixed this too).
Lastly, I bought a new cloth strap from SA and now I love it. I have had this watch for several years now.


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Communal Fruit Bowl

A few weeks ago my friend shared a Planet Green article about starting a communal fruit bowl at work. It is incredible how much coffee we consume during a workday, so I thought a bowl of fruit may offer a much healthier distraction. There is nothing like a crisp apple.
I brought up this idea at work and one of my co-workers offered to let me use his wood shop for making a bowl.

The fruit bowl is a big hit and this is how I made it.

After a piece of walnut was cut in half and we put the two pieces through the planer.

Jon getting me comfortable with the table saw

All these pieces were cut at a 60 degree angle.

At the end of Day-1. Check out my face guard. ROCK!

All the pieces glued together

A view from the top before we put it on the lathe

After a half hour on the lathe, the bowl started taking shape


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Golden Harvest, Lansing MI

This is my favorite breakfast place in Lansing.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

footbaths for muslims

Mosques in Turkey - 2007

After lunch I often look for a quiet hall or empty classroom to make my afternoon prayer. Personal hygiene is a huge thing in Islam and before Muslims pray we perform an ablution. This includes watching your face, cleaning your nose, ears, teeth, your arms and feet. It is almost like a mini shower but usually a sink is used.
Unfortunately for Muslims in the Western world and especially in the corporate environment this ablution invites prolonged stares. I read this article in the NY times about installing foot baths in school where there are a lot of Muslims. With the growing number of Muslim in Mid-Michigan I think it is about time Michigan State University does the same.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Lansing Polar Bear Plunge

I got this roll of film on the streets of Nigeria and it was really grainy.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Chicken Chicken Chicken

Photo: Karachi, Pakistan Summer 2007
I am often busiest towards the end of the word day. As I was wrapping things up the director of our department walked over to my desk and handed me this paper (see pdf version). He said it was really important that I look it over immediately. Of course, I put my stuff aside and started reading it and I don't think I have laughed this hard in a very long time.

I also just found a presentation of this paper at a conference.

Monday, February 02, 2009

mood music

I often visit All Music when I come across a new artist. I just noticed that they have artists listed by mood!

Check it.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

This photo was a runner up

Best and Worst of 2008

best and worst of 2008


Friday, January 02, 2009

Welcoming the New Year's Sun

Photo: A cell phone shot of the New Sun.

For the last couple of years, I have celebrated the New Year with wonderful friends, staying up late and sleeping in the next day. I guess some things don't change because this year I was up late once again but the morning of the New Year was uniquely special. For a few years now, I have wanted to roll into the new year on a yoga mat but unfortunately I never followed through with the plan. Our local yoga studio in Rochester, MI was having a New Yea's day event. They was a scheduled new year's day class where they would do 108 sun salutations this year. Although, it would have been ideal to do something at midnight, I couldn't ask for much else. It was the great idea.
So, for my "alternative" New Year's Day celebration I woke up around 7am, prayed Fajr, took a quick shower and headed to the the studio. Around 8am, at the studio, we started doing sun salutations in sets of 18. The instructors would introduce new variations each set. I think we were in the studio for about 2 hours and I walked out of there feeling like a new person. I did this more than 24 hours ago and I am still feeling the yoga high. It was an amazing start to the new year and I hope it brings good things my way.