Sunday, July 26, 2015

Argentina & Architecture

These are jut a few pictures from my Argentina/ Uruguay trip. The pictures below were all taken in Argentina. I chose to focus on Argentina because I am captivated by the juxtaposition of the different types of architecture. It was very interesting to see styles from modernist to baroque nested comfortably together.The effect is BREATHTAKING.

 Additionally, going to Argentina gave me the chance to see live tango performances! I can't dance, but they make me want to learn!


Gratitude as the Mantra of the Last Two Weeks

Hello friends!

We are finally closing in on the last two weeks of this summer adventure. It has been a long journey and one filled with a lot of growth, laughter, friendships, and experiences.

This was my first experience abroad and I have learned a lot about myself, especially from the people around me.

Janice is one of Ms. Carol's best friends.She’s 65 and in great shape. She has so much energy and happiness that exudes from her very core. I walk with her for four miles, four times a week. Janice told me about her strength through Jesus, the role women play in Trini, and how much she values her independence. Surprisingly in Trini, the women are dominant in every career apparently, and the men are no longer seen as the breadwinners. They are strong, independent women that empower others. Janice told me two powerful quotes; “When I was age 4, I saw my mother cooking and cleaning, and I knew that that wasn’t the life for me. I knew that at age 4” and “You can take everything from me, but I will not have you take my independence from me.” I think I am still trying to digest those two ideas. I am still trying to understand my womanhood, or more importantly my personhood. I also conceptually understood how important independence is, but I don’t know if I’ve placed it n the highest priority. And I wonder why that is, and if maybe that means that I truly don’t understand what independence is for myself. 

Ms. Carol is our host mom and she has been an amazing. She cooks for us three times a week and often invites us to lime with her family. She is so sweet, her sweetness embraces you and holds you in this place that I learned to call home. Her eyes twinkle with happiness and her smile is so bright! I am so lucky to have had such a gracious host! She is always saying how she just wants to make people happy. It is through her actions that I have learned a lot about the difference between a host and a giver. It's one thing to provide a home and some food. But it is another thing to go above and beyond what is expected in order to make us feel like more than guests, like family.

Mr. Michael is our host dad! At first he was very quiet and seemed reserved. But once you got him talking he just doesn't stop. He love to research.... everything! His thirst for knowledge and his journey to think for himself is inspiring. There isn't a conversation that we have that doesn't end with a deep analysis of whatever the topic is. On top of being a free thinker, he also is such a goof ball! He enjoys life in the smallest of moments. He cracks jokes, bobs to the beat of his favorite music, and sneaks a smile in every moment. 

These three people have been a part of this journey with me. They have helped me without even knowing it. And I know, that these relationships are to go beyond this summer. Janice already made me promise to invite her to my wedding, Ms. Carol wants me to come back to her 60th birthday party, and Mr. Michael is my facebook friend where we have casual conversations. The only thing left to say is thank you. Thank you Janice for motivating me to keep up with you on our four mile excursions at 5 in the morning and for opening my eyes even further to value my independence. Thank you Ms. Carol for showing me the value of friendship and human connections. Thank you Mr. Michael for pushing me to try to form my own opinion and to not be afraid to break from the pack. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Me, Mr. Michael, and Chloe

Me, Janice, Ms. Carol, and Chloe 

Last week in Ishaka... how time flies

It is insane that we only have about a week left before heading home. It is certainly bittersweet to leave my beloved Uganda. I will surely miss everyone’s hospitality and the valuable friendships I have built with people here.

I have to start with a picture from our trip to Rwanda. I can’t express how much I have fallen in love with Kigali. While we only spent a weekend, I will truly cherish my time there.  This picture was taken at an Art Festival ar the Genocide Museum in Kigali.

Thursday July 23rd was our last day of field day. We had our last meal at the little restaurant in Akashanda with our wonderful team.

These are the wonderful women of Chanti we had the pleasure meeting and having a focus group with. I couldn’t have imagined all of our first focus group to have gone any better. It was really the perfect way to end our data collection period.

After our focus group, the wonderful Village Health Team Leader invited us into her home and had more fruit that we can ever consume. This is also the first time I tried a jack fruit. Lets just say it is REALLY sweet.

This is my team and our wonderful translators Susan, Sam and Elisa who have made my summer pretty amazing. I am truly thankful for each and ever one of them. 

- Eyerusalem 


Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Short Trip to Salvador

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Salvador with another MHIRT student, Ashley. Salvador is by far my favorite place in Brazil. Last summer I studied abroad in Salvador and since then I have been looking for opportunities to bring me back to Brazil. The culture is much different from other places I have visited in Brazil. The city has a lot of African influence, and the people are always welcoming to visitors of their beautiful city. 
The historical district, Pelourinho, is one of my favorite places to shop, visit museums, and watch capoeira. Pelourinho was the first place that was developed when the Portuguese colonized Brazil. The architecture in this area is beautiful and it gives you an overwhelming colonial vibe. I was so excited to visit the Mercado Modelo to buy a hammock that I was too shy to bargain for last summer. Even though I had a little buyer’s remorse afterwards, (I might have to throw all my clothes away to get it back to America) I am very proud of my purchase.
The place we stayed was directly on the beach, which made for an easy commute to Porto da Barra, many restaurants, and small shops. We spent a whole day eating, drinking, and lying on the beach. It was a great escape from the cold and rainy weather here in southern Brazil.
Lastly, I am so glad I was able to share my love for Salvador with Ashley! Ashley was the first person I met in Tennessee at the MHIRT Retreat. We ended up being roommates the first night in a hotel because of the bad weather in Tennessee. I mentioned that I had been to Brazil before and we instantly began to plan our trip to Salvador. In the end I am so glad we stuck with it and actually were able to go. I definitely enjoyed the company!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Around the World in 80 Days…..Okay, maybe just South America in 70 days

If you ever have the opportunity to travel, DO IT. If it means pulling 10 – 12 hour shifts at work, and being the first one to arrive/last one to leave, do it. If it means running two 4-day protocol experiments back-to-back in a week, do it. Even if traveling means sacrificing your weekends, don’t think twice, JUST DO IT! Yes, I am guilty of all three – 12 hour days, back to back experiments, and even the loss of having legit weekends. BUT, within the last two and a half weeks, I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel from Florianopolis to Rio de Janeiro (by myself to attend an international conference – a story of its own) only to come back for 3 and a half days and leave again for Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo, Argentina with Cari. So, even though 12 hour days, running two experiments in one week, and not having weekends sounds horrendous, in all honesty, it was worth the extra effort to accommodate for my travels.

In addition to traveling, while you are young (or not) and brave, you should at least try the hostel life. It’s incredibly different from living in a hotel. While it’s really difficult to find a hostel in The States, in South America, it was extremely easy to find good, cheap hostels. Throughout my trips to Rio, Montevideo, and Buenos Aires, I stayed entirely in hostels. I won’t even lie – going to Rio by myself had me a little nervous, especially since I had only stayed in a hostel once in my life – and that was with my mom and sister.  But as I walked into the hostel lobby and my room, I was instantly greeted by friendly strangers that were all around the same age as me. Each person had their own story to tell. Maybe you’ll meet someone like Boris from Belgium – a guy who came to Buenos Aires to learn Tango. Maybe you’ll meet a woman like Shinye from Los Angeles, who quit her job so she could travel for 5 months before she “got too old”. Or maybe you’ll meet a guy like Matt, an energetic Brit who published on circadian rhythms (my exact research in TN).

Finally, whenever you travel, there is no time for sleep. There is far too much to explore and so little time. Even though time seems to lengthen when you’re experiencing new things, ( the amount of time quickly slips. I know I’ve felt that while in Floripa. Traveling = hit the ground running and exploring as soon as you get there + no sleep + using every possible moment to experience new things. Be a tourist, but also live like a local. Try new foods, learn new skills, see the landmarks, and try your hardest to speak to locals! It’s not every day that you’re in a different city or country!

- Veronica

(Here's me in front of one of the most beautiful theaters in Buenos Aires AND in the WORLD :))

(And here's a group of British boys I met at my hostel in Rio)