Tuesday, June 10, 2014

School's Out!!!

I don't know if anyone even reads this blog anymore.  It's ok.  :)

I've been extremely busy this past month with 2 presentations, 2 papers and a rough draft of my dissertation.  Needless to say, the blog was at the bottom of my "To Do" list.  But yesterday, I turned in the last two papers of my public health programme.  (Well, except for the dissertation, which is due in August.)  It's been an exhausting year, but totally worth it.

Today we had a final seminar about job hunting/interviewing and experiencing counter-culture shock upon returning home (which I'm all too familiar with after the Peace Corps).  We had a simple catered lunch of sandwiches (typical U.K. food) and then went for a hike in the afternoon to Ilkley Moors.  It has been raining (a few hours) everyday for the past couple of weeks and we were certain the hike would get cancelled.  We checked the weather during lunch and it looked pretty clear, so we decided to chance it.  It was a beautiful afternoon until we started walking back to the meeting point and saw the storm moving in.  We got back to the bus and as it pulled out of the parking lot, the rain came down.  It was perfect timing.

The Cow and Calf Rock formations in Ilkley

 Standing on the Cow

Definitely was the best way to end the school year!

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!