Rutgers - Science Summer Abroad 2010
Nine Science Undergraduate Students Around the World

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Public Health and Goats - Heather

Yep, that pretty much sums up this past week at Kilimanjaro Bush Camp. We have finished the data analysis on our public health project, and our next steps have been to condense our evaluation into a written report and an oral presentation. In the midst of all this writing, we celebrated a student’s birthday Maasai-style. We bought what every man would want for his birthday: a goat. Unfortunately for the goat, this gift is traditionally meant as dinner and not as a pet. Although I could not bring myself to watch the actual slaughtering, I heard it was swift and painless, as the Maasai are very good with their knives. I was able to stomach the cleaning and cooking of the meat, both of which are a cultural experience within themselves. The meat is cooked on sticks around a fire, and then everyone sits in a circle as the meat is cut from the bone and passed around. Being a vegetarian, I didn’t participate in the eating, but appreciated that just about all parts of the goat are eaten. After the birthday party, it was back to the grindstone. Our presentation to the community is tomorrow, August 9th, and we have been working hard to finalize it. Today we spent 3 hours going over our presentation with just the SFS group, and then another 4 hours going over it again with a translator. The translator for our presentation has just left, and we were told by a professor that we need to decrease the length of our presentation by at least half within the next 3 hours. At the same time, we have our final written reports due tomorrow night. Whew.
In other news, yesterday we were able to fit in some time for community service. We volunteered at a mobile health clinic, which was held on a Maasai man’s property. Signs were placed around the property to designate different health “sectors.” I worked in the nutrition sector and was given the task of handing out de-worming pills to mothers and children 5 and under. It was hectic for about 30 minutes, but afterward things quieted down and we spent most of our time chatting and playing with babies. I enjoyed meeting the community health workers and the head of the clinic, Dr. Kimono. Having a degree in nutrition himself, he was very excited to hear that nutrition is also my focus, and made sure that I received his contact information in case I decide to “marry a Kenyan man” (his words) and work here permanently. Afterward, we were treated to fresh fruit, sodas, and of course, more goat. Aside from that, our days and nights have been spent in front of the computer. Although I am feeling stressed now, I am looking forward to our presentation, when our chumba will be packed with community members here for the results of our presentation and the free lunch. Everything we have done so far has been building up to this point, and it’s hard to believe that tomorrow is almost here. It promises to be a very long (and hopefully rewarding) day. Wish us luck!

1 comment:

  1. Great entry. It sounds like you gracefully declined the goat but still learned from the experience. It was very charming of the gentleman to share his contact information with you. I hope your presentation went well!