“If you were thrown in jail, and you were innocent, what would your first though be?” was the question I heard on the radio, from a man, clearly a journalist.
“I dunno, but I hear that people get raped in there and I would not want to be raped,” was the reply from another man and it came with a bit of chuckle. Though I do not know who the respondent was or the context of this interview, both of them are more than aware of fear of rape in the prison.
The discipline of medical anthropology is poised to document and analyze how the social context of this fear of being raped in prison allows it be a sort of joke for those who talk about it.
I always wonder what exactly I can put into my blog. So what happened today, kind of helps me crystallize what I think needs to be done.
Today I was walking back from the library dressed “like a tourist”, according to my brother, in shorts, a shirt and sandals, but still recognizable. I was also wearing the stop TB shirt which I got during the launching of TB awareness week. Then a car stops right in my path, a white car, pulled over onto the gravel side walk. The woman behind the wheel points at me and I vaguely recognize. Nonetheless, I walk over to her, because this is Namibia and it happens often – at least twice a week – that someone in a car says hi to me as I drive past them. It was Rosy , aunt Rosy, not that she is my aunt, but a family friend. We worked together at the directorate of special programs “Pancho I want to tell you about a PhD to study science in the US, it is a scholarship, and I know you studied science already” she announced, “Is it the Fulbright?”I asked, because I know about the Fulbright, in fact I volunteering to help some Fulbright candidates study for the Math section of the GRE, I benefit through the teaching experience, whereby I make professional notes (like the ones I got at Princeton from Biophycists) and I master the material for the GRE. Plus, they always bring walnuts to our study group, which I love (Princeton Squirrel, if there ever was one).
“No its not the Fulbright” she replied concretely, as I jotted down my email on a piece of card.
“I actually am not sure what I’ll do my PhD in” I told her truthfully,
“That’s ok, you can either accept or decline when I send you the email”. I know she probably meant to say that I could either apply or not apply, but accept or decline made it sound like I already got the scholarship, as if she is confident that I will be successful. Perhaps she does think so, like the boy I met yesterday at church, who says that I have killer marks (3.16/4.0, I don’t exactly call that killer) and that I went to Princeton.
I will look at the fellowship as it can only widen my options while I explore the different fields of med anthropology, molecular epidemiology and normal epi(whatever that is).
So yeah, I went onto google, found out about Harvard and the interesting interdisciplinary department of global health they have. That’s where I’d like to be, but will I be doing Med Anthro, who knows.
Post Scriptum:The fellowship Rosy spoke about was actually a research grant for people that are already writing their theses: Ok I need to get enrolled. As for the Fulbright, I am on my way. I am studying for the GRE and in the meanwhile writing about edifying things…on this blog.
I applied for two formal jobs, both of which are in the public health field. The one is about monitoring and evaluation for HIV and AIDS, while the other one is about entering data from the blue patient ARV booklets (read about that in another blog post – AIDS and a vision of chronic diseases). I think that this will be a great preparation for any PhD or masters related to medical anthropology or epidemiology.