Malawi Update: Big Rewards

Although my graduate work is in Malawi, I really don’t feel like I do anything FOR Malawi besides crunch numbers on data that I didn’t collect. In fact, it’s odd that I got into this public health business to help people out, but do little tangible helping of people. Rewards in public health, even if your work ever manages to influence any type of policy are difficult to quantify and even more difficult to see and mostly come after you’re dead and buried. That being said, I got this picture today. I had gone out with a colleague, Lindsay Townes, to one of her research areas around Liwonde in Machinga District. We visited a family way out in the sticks and while Lindsay was out counting corn plants, I had a short exchange with the father and took some pictures. He was incredibly kind and invited us in for tea, but time did not permit. His entire family were incredibly gracious people. While talking to him (through my friend Patrick, no Chichewa here…) he asked if I could give him a copy of the photos. I said I would try but things just didn’t work out before I left, and I felt terribly about it. So, I spent $10 and bought them two nets since they had none. Lindsay (thanks Lindsay!) graciously took the nets out to them and sent me this picture which the family clearly brought out their best for. It’s really, really small things like this that make this work rewarding.

About Pete Larson

Researcher at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. Lecturer in the University of Michigan School of Public Health and at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I do epidemiology, public health, GIS, health disparities and environmental justice. I also do music and weird stuff.

One response to “Malawi Update: Big Rewards”

  1. Ferunando-Sama says :

    That was nice of you. that does make a difference, and you better get the Rosetta Stone for chichewa

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