Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Love in the Time of Cholera

Besides being a fantastic book by my favorite author (Gabriel Garcia Marquez), I feel like I am living out the title. I'm in love, and there is a Cholera outbreak in Juba where a couple dozen people died. So our Community Outreach Officers are working overtime to educate people about water/sanitation, and how to treat their water. Cholera is SO easily preventable, and yet the majority of the world's population do not have access to clean water. In the region of Sudan I work in, 60% of people do not have access to clean water. Keeping in mind that definition of "clean water" used in surveys could still be from rainwater or boreholes.

Happily enough, my July 4th weekend was fantastic - my boss and I discovered that the American Independence Day and Thanksgiving were actually written into the employee manual, so I had most of the day off - just spent a couple hours delivering letters to get some face time with people, and then I read and took a nap. Huge party on Friday night including free bbq and dancing on bars, and then Sunday we hung out at the USAID compound to use a friend's kitchen (they have a REAL kitchen with a real stove and oven and AIR CONDITIONING IN THEIR KITCHEN!!!), watched Animal House, and then went swimming in the pool late at night while drinking some Tuskers and taking lots of inappropriate pictures to mark the occasion. Made me happy :)

This week we have one of the Regional Advisers here to build capacity of the program staff on communications - something that I could technically do, but can't find the time because I'm too busy trying to (teach people how to) manage programs. Should also help immensely on tightening up some materials we've been working on but haven't been able to move forward. Sometimes it's nice to step back and take the time to let an objective observer lend a fresh perspective. Yet another reminder that I don't have to do everything myself.

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