Saturday, April 12, 2014

Geneva - Part 2

I've been a bad blogger.  I never finished writing about my trip to Geneva - mainly because there was no internet in the hotel we stayed at.  :(  Then two days after I got back to Leeds, Mom & Dad arrived in the UK and I've been traveling with them ever since - but again, have failed to blog about it.  So let me catch up.

Geneva - Part 2
After four days of lectures, Saturday was our first free day.  My friends and I spent it wandering around Geneva's city center and Lake Geneva.

The REAL Lake Geneva

My friends & I on a boat taxi across the lake

Brunswick Monument

On Sunday, we had the option to sign up for a day trip to Mont Blanc (in France).  Of course, I signed up.  ;)  We took a cable car to the peak of the mountain and enjoyed the view of the Alps.  We were also able to go to a glacier in the Alps and walk through the ice caves.  It was amazing!

"Touching the Void" - standing in glass box over the mountains

Ice Caves - Mer De Glace

Ice Caves - Mer De Glace

Eventually, I will blog about my trip across England (with Mom and Dad), but right now I'm exhausted at the end of each day.  When I get back to Leeds (and during dissertation research breaks), I'll write about all the activities and sites we went to.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Geneva Study Tour - Part 1

I didn't think it was possible for Switzerland to have slower internet than Uganda, but alas it does (at least in the "basic" guest house).  Seriously, the John Knox Center is Peace Corps standards of living - simple rooms, bread/cheese/coffee for breakfast and slow internet.  But there's hot water and electricity, hooray!

If you don't already know, Switzerland is expensive!  I haven't gone out much yet (I'm saving my money for the weekend) but some of my classmates went out to dinner and spent about $30 per plate (at an average restaurant).  Too pricey for me.  Our instructor took us across the border to France to buy some foodstuffs at the [cheap] supermarket.  I picked up some trail mix, fruit and Ramen noodles for the week.

The border of Switzerland and France - gorgeous mountains!


The purpose of this trip is to visit the World Health Organization (WHO) and other NGOs.  Here's the list of lectures topics we're having:
  • WHO overview
  • Role of the hospital in the health system
  • Violence against women
  • International Federation of the Red Cross

  • Traffic injuries
  • NGOs in disaster relief
  • Neglected tropical diseases
  • Prevention of blindness
  • Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

  • WHO Library
  • Communicable diseases and emergency preparedness
  • Emergency and essential surgical care program
  • Essential medicines
  • Mental health disorders

  • Injuries and violence prevention
  • Human resources for health
  • Onchocerciasis 

  • Maternal and newborn health
  • Global perspective of malaria
  • Malnutrition in children
  • Health financing

It's only been one day and I'm really enjoying the lectures.  It's such a great feeling to find something you're passionate about.  I can't wait to get a job in public health.  :) 

Me and my good friend Sibongile (aka Chiko)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Homework Update

A one-year masters program is pretty intense and there's not much downtime.  When we're not reading for class or working on assignments, we're supposed to be researching for our thesis because it's due in August.

So here's a quick rundown of my not-so-exciting life over the past few months:
  • Wrote a literature review about determinants of household food security in Sub-Saharan Africa (related to my thesis)
  • Got sick for 3 weeks with a head cold & cough
  • Wrote a disease control intervention program for schistosomiasis in Uganda
  • Wrote a qualitative research proposal to study beliefs and practices regarding schistosomiasis in Uganda
  • Went ice skating with my classmates
  • Wrote the framework and outline for my thesis
  • Making my way through 6 seasons of Sons of Anarchy
  • Working on an evaluation plan for a nutrition programme in Uganda
  • Had class photos this week  :) 
This picture is from someone's iPhone - we also had a professional photo taken, which I'll get later.

You may notice a Ugandan theme for my assignments.  Being that this is an international public health course focused on developing countries, we are required to put all of our assignments in that context.  I could pick any country I want, but I have first-hand knowledge of Uganda so it's easiest for me.  However, my thesis will focus on Ethiopia because I wanted my topic to be about hunger and food aid - Ethiopia is the most relevant country for that topic.

I've got two weeks left to complete my monitoring & evaluation assignment and I have to write the first chapter of thesis.  Then it's spring break and the traveling begins!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Why You Should Date a Girl Who Travels

There is an article floating around the internet/Facebook called "Don't Date a Girl Who Travels" which emphasizes how independent and strong female travelers are, but in doing so they list a bunch a negative characteristics (i.e. can't commit, can't hold a steady job, leads a life of uncertainty, etc.).  I couldn't really relate to it and it bothered me that this negative image is being promoted.

Then yesterday, I stumbled across a blogger who wrote a rebuttal to the article, and she's spot on.  Ha ha.  This describes me perfectly.  ;)
"Why You Should Date a Girl Who Travels"

Date a girl who travels. She is the one with the sun kissed skin and lightly scattered freckles. A sense of wellness radiates around her, paired with plump healthy skin and a twinkle in her eye.

Date a girl who travels. She is less materialistic. She doesn't dote on possessions but rather treasured experiences. Expensive presents are unnecessary, rather give her photographs she can have with her at all times. She can see those that live with less, recognize the small fortunes of happiness.

Date a girl who travels for somewhere is always home. She values her time there and relishes hearing about normalcy even if it's not long before her feet start to itch again. She is proud of her hometown for it is a new city for someone else to explore.

Date a girl who travels. She is the hardest working woman you will know. She will most likely hold down two or three jobs to fund her adventures. Not to mention an entrepreneur turning her travels into an income source. She is smart and knows that these days many employees find international travel favorable in future candidates.

Date a girl who travels for you will always be pleasantly surprised. She navigates unknown cities with a great sense of direction but also enjoys the spontaneity of getting lost.

Date a girl who travels. After many missed flights, wrong turns, delays, bad street food and bad restrooms to deposit said food, she is easy going and adaptable. She is prepared for bumps in the road literally and metaphorically. Life throws curve balls and she smacks them right out of the park

Date a girl who travels because she is supportive and understanding. She is conscious you may not ever be as travel orientated as her but she will always be fun, take what life has to offer and help you do the same. As a bonus she will put up with snoring and farting because she has shared a 20 bunk hostel room.

Date a girl who travels as she engages with worldly company learning the history, culture and behaviors of societies, which is sure to impress the parents. She is used to befriending strangers, thriving at conversation. She will always be open to meeting new people and impress at your work social engagements.

Date a girl who travels. She is independent, smart and strong. She will always be self-sufficient; never needy. She doesn't believe in stage five clingers. She knows the rewards of good budgets and saving her money. She learns the ins and outs of how people live and has the kind of street smarts that will spot the sketchy looking guy a mile away before he pulls a "distract and go" scam.

Next time join her. Travel bonds you.

That being said, my flatmate informed me yesterday that round-trip tickets from Leeds to Europe are as low as $62, so we're planning some weekend jumps to Spain? Czech Republic? Italy?  Whatever destination is cheapest on a weekend we have no homework/exams.  :)