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People young and old across the US have connected with seven different communities across the African continent to support locally initiated health projects. Using the vibrant color of bananas and the enthusiasm of youth, a new nonprofit has grown to support the coming revolution in African health care.
It all began with one individual, Fr. Joseph Birungi, who had the dream of providing access to basic health care in a remote area where he worked. His dream was transferred on to me through his stories of those who died because they did not have access to basic health care. At the time I was a 14 year-old who knew little of the world beyond Michigan's borders, but I was inspired to do something. Just entering high school, I was full of naive optimism with a goal to figure out how I could make an impact in the world. Although I was youthful, naive, and optimistic I had an incredible mentor, my mother. She helped me form basic assumptions that laid the foundation for my understanding of "global health as everyone's responsibility.
Sawubona! (hello). Unjani (how are you?). In: isiZulu, language spoken in South Africa and parts of Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. The following entry is my first ever piece written in Zulu!!
Mistaking Africa: Problem Defined
On a recent trip to South Africa, I experienced some of the misunderstanding that Curtis Keim explains in his book, Mistaking Africa: Curiosities and Inventions of the American Mind. As I was giving a walking tour of Zonkizizwe, South Africa (the township I had been living in for three months working at a children’s center) to a visiting group of Michigan State University students, several girls began to take pictures of children standing by the side of the road.
It is refreshing to read African perspectives on the Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) imposed on African countries by Bretton Woods institutions, as is the case in Our Continent Our Future: African Perspectives on Structural Adjustment.
I know about structural racism …. Racial oppression through entrenched systems in society through various public bodies, laws, corporations, the prison system, universities...you name it. But when the idea of racial oppression through use of language was introduced to me, I was suddenly taken aback. I had never though about it before-- was there such a thing as a linguistic hierarchy?
SCOUT BANANA, in conjunction with Michigan State University's African Studies Center and Office of International Development, invites you to submit a manuscript to Articulate: Undergraduate Research Applied to International Development.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
16 January 2009
STUDENT ORGANIZATION GOES NONPROFIT TO BENEFIT HEALTH IN AFRICA
East Lansing - To suggest that college students armed with bananas could create anything wholesome and family-friendly may raise a few eyebrows.
But to suggest that college students and bananas are the backbone of a dynamic, progressive organization that has raised more than $150,000 to date and inspired countless people to improve basic health care in Africa? That may raise more eyebrows.
Last summer I wrote about the definition of development after having a conversation with an incredible Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana who was really making the most of his time and abilities. The conversation that we had really made me think about the term 'development' and what it really means.
Although the AIDS virus initially flew under the radar screen and did not enter into the public consciousness to any great extent until the 1970's, a new study suggests that HIV likely began spreading to humans around 1900 in sub-Saharan Africa near what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Darfur: Diplomacy or Prosecution? Reflections on These Approaches as Means to Get to a Resolution of the Conflict
As the conflict in Darfur continues claiming victims whose stories and numbers are both horrific and threatening, the international community cannot figure out how to respond effectively to this situation of gross violations of human rights.