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Jan. 15th, 2008 | 03:37 pm
mood: Lucky
music: Beautiful - India Arie

I just took my first dose of a live attenuated vaccine for typhoid fever. I have to keep the pills in the refrigerator because they contain LIVE bacteria. How cool!  The pesky little Salmonella typhi! Causing delirium, intestinal perforation, and death! Look at em!



And I also got my shots for yellow fever, Hepatitis A, a polio booster, and doxycycline, the cheapest antibiotic. By choosing side effects of diarrhea, yeast infections, and vomitting over sun sensitivity (Malarone), and psychotic behavior, hallucinations, and suicide (Larium, hey let's snort it!), I saved myself  $1265. You can hardly ignore that. And that's added to the endless chronic guilt of spending more than $1300 to swallow a  little pill every day reminding you that you must protect your supple, well-nourished, pristine American body from the reality of Africa and all of its intrusions.  Just one more thing you don't want to be thinking about as you vomit ugali through your nose and curse the hubris of the international public health worker.

The life expectancy of an average (white, middle class) American woman: 80.
The life expectancy of the average (accessible) Kenyan woman: 50.

At least I can go there while I'm still under 50, at least I don't have those 30 years of pure time, pure privilege, the manifestation of privilege as time, and time as skin and memories of mothers and grandmothers who are still here with me. At least I don't have that hanging over me, right?

So I've gotten my shots, my drugs, and that must mean that I've actually finally decided to go.  There are options to go to Uganda instead, Mali even (with my remedial french), or South Africa. But we'll be relocated  to Tanzania or Uga, if anything really dangerous happens. And they're giving us all cell phones so we can keep in close contact with advisors and the embassy. So I still have to sign the contract agreeing that I'm aware that I'm putting my life in risk and I promise not to sue anyone affiliated with the academic program no matter what.

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Comments {11}

Shel

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from: erisedilla
date: Jan. 15th, 2008 11:31 pm (UTC)
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Godspeed, girlfriend. You're doing what's important, so all the power to you, but don't forget to get the hell out of there if it gets too dangerous!

I'll be thinking of ya =)

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christina

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from: msberkeleyfloor
date: Jan. 16th, 2008 12:27 am (UTC)
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ah thank you but i don't think i could forget! it's crazy how it's all coming together. remember back in mr. kitchen's class, sixth or seventh grade? were you in that class? i just remember making a topographical model of haiti out of Play-Doh and Runts. i'm not going to haiti, but that love/obsession with africa is still there :)

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Shel

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from: erisedilla
date: Jan. 16th, 2008 01:12 am (UTC)
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yes I was in that class - I either made it with you or was insanely jealous of your play-doh/runt molding skills. you were in loooooooove.

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Amanuensis

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from: aulaitcru
date: Jan. 16th, 2008 02:00 am (UTC)
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Hey don't knock Larium! It's what I took and hallucinations can be fun!
I grew to be quite fond of ugali actually and still make it occasionally - I just tell people it's Kenyan polenta (since I can only ever make it with cornmeal here).

When do you leave?

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christina

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from: msberkeleyfloor
date: Jan. 16th, 2008 02:46 am (UTC)
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That was first thought, when I read about Larium. But then I started hearing these horror stories of people having reoccurring nightmares and long-term depression. I expect to be pretty overwhelmed as it is, even without the hallucinogens.

I leave on the second of February with a stop over in Dubai! BTW, I really love reading your entries. I never comment but I think it's just the anthropologist's eye that I really appreciate. All the concise, beautiful details in large and small things that most people don't pick out. It's great to read.

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Amanuensis

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from: aulaitcru
date: Jan. 16th, 2008 03:27 am (UTC)
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Thanks!
If you don't mind my asking, what part(s) are you visiting and what's your research objective?

I confess to no small degree of jealousy.

(And if you have any leisure time while in Nairobi make certain to visit The Carnivore nightclub/restaurant - it's a hoot. Even if you don't eat meat.)

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christina

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from: msberkeleyfloor
date: Jan. 17th, 2008 08:25 pm (UTC)
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Ah, so much of the program is up in the air because of all the possible security issues. I'll spend a couple months in Nairobi, Mombasa for a bit, ventures into the Rift Valley, Kampala and the East Rift, and Kigali.

I'd love to do research in Nakuru or somewhere in the North Rift with IDPs, and I have some connections there with a couple professors at Egerton U. Who knows though...in the end, it will be wherever is safest. The research objective is so far, really open too. I'm interested in ethnography (although we only get a couple months for research), the relationship between food insecurity and health and disease/family life/education, etc.

But now with issues in emergency food aid, I might look into that. Everyone in the program was advised to prepare possible objects, but expect to change them once you get there.

And I think I've heard of that club! We'll have to find it for sure.

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christina

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from: msberkeleyfloor
date: Jan. 17th, 2008 08:26 pm (UTC)
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*objectives

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connection closed

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from: woquinoncoin
date: Jan. 17th, 2008 11:16 pm (UTC)
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Woah. Do we know each other?

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christina

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from: msberkeleyfloor
date: Jan. 17th, 2008 11:56 pm (UTC)
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haha, that's exactly what I was thinking when I added you. I don't think we do really, but I recognized your icon and I remember it from something. Are you originally from kzoo? If so, I'm another Northern Californian by way of Kalamazoo/Portage.

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a billion unionized panda bears

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from: attentionpandas
date: Feb. 2nd, 2008 04:26 am (UTC)
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hey, I don't think I've introduced myself and I guess now's not such great timing since you're going to Africa, but I'd love to be added to your email list of Africa updates and live vicariously through you (haha). I'm interested in medical anthropology, global health and int'l development, studied Africa in college and was going to work for TAC in S.A. but eventually refocused my attention on HIV/AIDS in China. Still passionate about Africa though, and even though I'm not totally clear on what you're going there for, it seems like you'll be doing some good meaningful work there. Added you to my flist a while ago, but you don't seem to post that frequently... but if email is not too weird, my gmail is katherine dot wai.

Have a safe, exciting trip!

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