Week 5

25 06 2012

By Ben Ramsey

As usual, a lot has happened in the past week. My French is better than it has been in years, my sandal tan is uglier than ever, my bug spray is out, and this being a global health post, I find it funny that my personal health hasn’t been that great lately. I was already recovering from a stomach bug when I rolled my ankle pretty severely a couple nights ago after thinking that if my neighbors don’t need lanterns to walk around at night, I didn’t either. Luckily, it’s only been a couple days and I’ve already improved enough to hike down into the next door village to write this blog post. Apparently I’m not the only one to have noticed my poor health lately; one of the few men in the area who knows English asked me if I didn’t have a mirror…because my face “it is not looking good.” The truth is that I actually don’t have a mirror…hahaha.

My fifth week here was also very helpful in terms of research. Dr. Noar, the Director of Noar Foundation made a trip up into my village and spent a few nights with me and my host family. Noar Foundation works in this community, primarily through health care clinics. They are even currently attempting to implement tea as a cash crop and solar education for the community. I had a great time talking with and learning from him.

After speaking with Dr. Noar and my project advisor (Professor Piot, Duke Cultural Anthropology,) I spent the next several days following the money of youth migration. We decided that a great way to measure the level of possible exploitation would be to focus on payment to youth workers in comparison to profit made by their employers. It will be interesting to compare this data to other research on migratory labor around the world.

Completely independent of my research, my two months here continue to be very thought provoking in terms of global health. As I walk through markets, I see pills being sold in plastic baggies. The origin of those pills – I’m not sure. My interviews continue their dances of translation from French to Kabre back to French and then English in my notes. I love it.

Will continue to make the most of my last several weeks,

Ben Ramsey






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