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.