Sunday, October 26, 2008

Cold War Shivers: McCain, Renamo and Mozambique

I just read an article about McCain's voting record in reference to Renamo activities in the 1980's. He voted not to confirm an ambassador to Mozambique, as that would be recognizing the legitimacy of a Marxist government. It's not surprising, but it is ironic. As the article points out, it was Palin who brought up "pal-ing around with terrorists" as a campaign topic. And if Renamo wasn't a domestic terrorist origanization (in the 1980's), who was? Take that Hannity!

AllAfrica.Com this is where I first found the story

HuffintonPost.Com AllAfrica sites the HuffingtonPost as the first to break it

Make it Right NOLA in the Lower Ninth Ward

These pictures were taken by my friend Christy as we drove around the Ninth Ward and into St. Bernard Parish. Read this sign carefully. They are going to demolish this house without letting the owner know. Of course, the owner might not want to come back, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of stories about families finally arranging the money to gut and renovate their houses and coming home to find the city has already demolished it. Often this happens in the name of Health- meaning someone out there has deemed the house un-fixable, unhealthy. It's a very shady issue.

So, we wanted to find Brad Pitt's Make it Right project. We saw it as we were already on the bridge going back to Uptown, so we turned around. You can spot these houses from far away; they look like nothing else in the neighborhood. One thing that is striking about the areas in the Ninth Ward where all that's left of houses are the cement foundations, is how nature is taking the area back. Weeds have grown taller than people, the space looks wide and isolated. It's hard to believe what seems like a country road was once a densely packed urban neighborhood.

Brad Pitt is helping some families take their lots back and build houses that are both ecologically friendly and higher on stilts, so hopefully they will survive the next big storm.

While I think Pitt's heart is certainly in the right place, and the houses really are amazing to look at, there is one problem I have: the cost efficiency problem. In Pitt's effort to make the houses ecologically friendly, which really might not be a top priority for families that just want to move home, the cost is quite high. To sponsor an entire house would be $150,000. In contrast, to sponsor a Habitat for Humanity home would cost around $85,000, (this is according to each organization's website). It's expensive to make a home "green." The solar panel alone costs $25,000. Might this be imposing his priorities and conditions onto a somewhat desperate situation? Then again, I'm sure he felt if he was going to help at all, it had to be the very best, all the way. That was my only complaint. It is an impressive project and I imagine the families in the homes are very happy with the outcome. I really do commend Pitt for doing this.
The Make it Right houses sit very close to the levee.(thanks for the correction)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Guide to African HIV Slang (again)

(So, I deleted the original post because someone put an ad that I couldn't erase in the comments. What a pain.)

Read the whole article: Mind Your Language, from via Here are code words for HIV/AIDS from all over Africa. What people call the disease can give you some idea of its place in a community, how people think it is contracted, etc.


Angola (Portuguese)

Pisar pisar na min - Contracting HIV is like having "stepped on a landmine"

Bichinho - "Little bug" (the virus)

Kenya (Kikuyu, spoken mainly in central Kenya)

kagunyo - "The worm" (euphemism for HIV)

Nigeria (Hausa, spoken mainly in the north)

Kabari Salama aalaiku - Literally translates as "Excuse me, grave" (reference to AIDS)

Tewo Zamani - Translates as the “sickness of this generation” (another reference to AIDS)

Nigeria (Igbo, spoken mainly in the east)

Ato nai ise - "Five and three" (5 + 3 = 8, and "eight" sounds like "AIDS")

Oria Obiri na aja ocha - "Sickness that ends in death" (euphemism for AIDS)

Nigeria (Yoruba, spoken mainly in the west)

Eedi - "Curse"

Arun ti ogbogun - "Sickness without cure"

Nigeria (Pidgin, the unofficial lingua franca)

He don carry - "He carries the virus"

Nigeria (English)

HIV - He Intends Victory (acronym of HIV and a phrase popular among born-again Christians)

South Africa (IsiXhosa and IsiZulu)

Udlala ilotto - "Playing the lotto" /ubambe ilotto - "won the lotto" (said of someone suspected of being HIV positive; Lotto is the national lottery)

Unyathele icable - Contracting HIV is like "stepping on a live wire"

South Africa (English)

House in Vereeniging - (Acronym of HIV; "bought a house in Vereeniging", a town about 50km south of Johannesburg, refers to someone suspected of being HIV positive)

Driving a "Z3"/ "having three kids"/ the "three letters" - All refer to the three letters in the HIV acronym

Tracker - If you are suspected of being HIV positive people say God is tracking you, like the popular southern African service that tracks and recovers stolen vehicles

Tanzania (KiSwahili)

amesimamia msumari - "Standing on a nail"; euphemism for being skinny, or being small enough to fit on a nail's head, referring to AIDS-related weight loss

kukanyaga miwaya - Contracting HIV is like "stepping on a live wire"

mdudu - "The bug" (refers to HIV)

Uganda (English)

Slim - Euphemism for HIV/AIDS as a result of the associated weight loss; less popular since the advent of ARVs

Uganda (Luganda, spoken mainly in the central region)

Okugwa mubatemu - You have been waylaid by thugs (contracted HIV)

Zambia (Nyanja, spoken mainly in the east and the capital, Lusaka)

Kanayaka - "It has lit up" (refers to a positive reaction from an HIV test)

Ka-onde-onde - "Thing that makes you thinner and thinner" (HIV)

Zambia (Bemba, spoken mainly in the north and Lusaka)

Bamalwele ya akashishi - "Those that suffer from the germ" (HIV-positive people)

Kaleza - "Razor blade" (Refers to a person being thin as a result of AIDS-related weight loss)

Zimbabwe (Shona)

Ari pachirongwa - "He/she is on a (treatment) programme"

Akarohwa nematsoti - "He/she has been beaten by thieves"

Mukondas - Abbreviation of "mukondombera" (epidemic)

Ari kumwa mangai - "He/she is drinking mangai" (mangai is boiled corn seeds, which represent antiretroviral (ARV) drugs)

Akabatwa - "He/she was caught" (received a positive diagnosis)

Zvirwere zvemazuvano - "The current diseases" (the HIV epidemic)

Akatsika banana - "He/she has stepped on a banana and slipped" (someone who has tested positive and therefore will "fall" or die as a result)

Shuramatongo - "A bad omen for relatives"

Zimbabwe (English)

Red card - Like a football player being sent off, life is over

Go slow - Taken to mean that he/she is now progressing slowly towards death

TB2 - Refers to high rates of HIV and TB co-infection (used to denote AIDS)

RVR - Slang for ARVs, adapted from Mitsubishi's RVR sports utility vehicle

John the Baptist - When someone has TB or HIV, he/she is said to have been baptised by "John the Baptist", who has come to announce the coming of AIDS

FTT - "Failure to thrive" (adapted from the medical phrase, now used to describe HIV-positive children)

Boarding pass - Implies that HIV is a boarding pass to death

Departure lounge - An HIV-infected person is in the departure lounge awaiting death

Monday, October 13, 2008

Epidemiology can be funny. Sometimes.

So, my professor decided to point this out to us. Basically it's trying to demonstrate "Limitations in Recall." The chart (click to enlarge) is about the percentage of men who could accurately recall whether or not they were circumcised. It was one of the few moments in Epi when everyone was laughing out loud. Very few moments. But Jesus, you'd think you would know, wouldn't you? As a women, I can't really say...

Just click the chart, you'll see.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Public Health Articles by Micheal Specter

To all my Public Health friends, here's a link to some amazing articles from the New Yorker, mostly about HIV. Micheal Specter used to write for the magazine, but I don't think he does anymore. If one of the articles is on a topic of interest to you, you should read it. He gives so much information, interviews all the right people important to the field. It might be a good place to start for ideas, etc. They aren't peer reviewed Public Health journal pieces, and that can actually make them more interesting and easier to read. I'm just throwing this out there for everyone.

Here are just some of the articles that would interest Public Health students:

a reporter at large
political science
The Bush Administration's war on the laboratory.
march 13, 2006
political science

a reporter at large
what money can buy
Millions of Africans die needlessly of disease each year.
Can Bill Gates change that?
october 24, 2005
what money can buy

a reporter at large
higher risk
Crystal meth, the Internet, and
dangerous choices about AIDS.
may 23, 2005
higher risk

a reporter at large
the vaccine
Has the race to save Africa from aids put Western
science at odds with Western ethics?
february 3, 2003
the vaccine

Monday, October 6, 2008

Congo Sqare Rythms Festival

This festival was amazing! Congo Square is the historic area in New Orleans where slaves were allowed to gather on Sundays. The French and Spanish generally allowed slaves more autonomy than America ever did. For this reason (and many others) New Orleans' music is more directly influenced from Africa than other music in the States. Congo Square resides within what is now Louis Armstrong Park. The festival, however, was held at St. John's Bayou, on Jefferson Davis. I didn't attend on Saturday, but everyone on Sunday agree that the second day was the best. The line-up was a mix of drumming circles, African dance troupes, Mardi Gras Indians, local aspiring rappers, some poetry readings, and a lot of urging people to vote. Kermit Ruffins played near the end of the day. (I wish I'd gotten a picture) There were vendors of world crafts and food stands for Creole, Jamaican and Ethiopian foods. It was a beautiful day in New Orleans!
And it was completely free and open to the public!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Art for Art's Sake Event

Julia St., Warehouse District, New Orleans
October 4th, 2008

Saturday, October 4, 2008

United Fruit Company in New Orleans

To anyone who understands Latin American history...this image in the heart of downtown New Orleans is sure to send chills. This is the facade of the old United Fruit Building, at 321 St. Charles Avenue. It sent me shivers, and motivation to find out more. The company had its headquarters in New Orleans from the 1930's to the 1970's. This is the same company that gave us the idea of the Banana Republic. This is the same company that urged the U.S. government to topple the democratically elected President Arbenz of Guatemala in 1954 because his leftist politics threatened the company's stake in the banana industry. A young Ernesto Guevarra was is Guatemala at the time and witnessed this violent event, forever changing his course, and Cuba's. This is the same company that inspired the banana massacre described in 100 Years of Solitude, based on actual events concerning bananas and politics. Those are just a few examples of how this multi-national corporation interfered with Latin America. This company is also the historical reason why so many Hondurans have come here. There was a pre-Katrina population, brought here by the company, that made it easier for post-Katrina immigrants to come work. It's all interconnected. This building is a little piece of dark, American history. It's a bank now. United Fruit Company is now Chiquita Bananas.

Saturday Farmer's Market

Saturday morning, Girod St. and Magazine.