Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Call me of the human race...

All this talk about the NAACP director out of Spokane, Washington and her decisions that involved called herself “black,” versus her actual white skin color has provoked some thinking on my part.  In the United States we are commonly referred to as a “melting pot.”  We have people that live here from all over the world with every possible skin color, but yet there is always a mention of whether we are white, black, brown or otherwise…not simply that we are human.

I took a trip to Haiti in May 2015.  I am part of an outreach in my church (St. Simon Catholic Church, Ludington, Michigan) called Hearts to Haiti.  I traveled by myself however I stayed right at the school.  Almost everyone I saw was black, I saw very few white people.  I discovered something interesting…I starting noticing a common denominator inside the toy section of the multiple stores I visited while running some errands with one of the Sisters that run the school, every single doll I seen was white.  Barbie dolls, baby dolls, dolls with hair you can style, dolls with accessories, dolls with dollhouses...all of them were white.

I probably looked so strange, standing there staring at the dolls.  Here I am in country where almost all of the population is black and I come from a country that has every Crayola crayon color, but yet the dolls are all white here in Haiti.  I started to think about how much emphasis is placed on the color of a person’s skin?

The media in the United States fuels this need to point out the color of a person’s skin…the black man running for office, the white cop shoots a black man or the state of “race relations.”  Why is it we cannot stand as being part of the human race?  The condition of “race relations” in the United States is perception.  How much do YOU put an emphasis on someone’s skin color?  Why is it we are so quick to point out struggles based on race?

Everyone, regardless of color, has probably been discriminated against for something.  Whether you were too fat, too thin, too tall, too short, too old, too young, too educated, not enough education, and the list goes on and on.  Could you imagine how much stronger we would be if you looked for common reasons to come together versus the differences that keep up apart?  We would be a stronger community, a stronger country, a stronger world and a stronger race, the human race.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

"When Jesus Say Yes Nobody Can Say No"

This video was captured the last night I was in Haiti (May 19, 2015).  The children that reside at the School of the Infant Jesus performed a few dances for me as a gift.  This was beautiful.  What a great song to do this to, "When Jesus Say Yes Nobody Can Say No!"

Radio interview about my trip to Haiti...

On May 29, 2015 Jason Wilder from The Breakfast Beat 98.7 FM WLDN interviewed me about my trip to Haiti.  I was in Haiti from May 14th to May 20th, 2015.  With the interview I included some photo's I snapped.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

For those seeking information on the Ebola Virus...

The Ebola Virus has been on every news source known to man.  Everyone has an opinion on how and who should handle this epidemic.  Let’s start with the basics and gather information on what is Ebola and how, as a medical professional (human or veterinary medicine) we can help.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is having an online Q & A today giving an opportunity to cutout the middle man.

What's New on the CDC Emergency Preparedness & Response Website

CDC Twitter Chat - Ebola Q&A

Join us today (10/8) at 3PM EDT as CDC experts answer your questions on #Ebola. Use #CDCchat to participate. https://twitter.com/CDCemergency/status/519658049477160962/

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The good Samaritan...

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was:  ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’  But…the good Samaritan reversed the question:  ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’”

~Martin Luther King Jr.

I read this quote and it makes me think of what I've been reading about the Ebola virus outbreak.  You read all these sources online and you see all the news coverage and it’s easy to become panicked.  It’s easy to try to distance yourself from this infection and the people who have it.  But then, you see pictures of the poor children who lost their parents, the parents who lost their children and those that are now alone because their entire families have been wiped out.  If you were in any number of these circumstances, what would you do?

I’m writing this to give a different angle of this serious subject matter…

First and foremost, educate yourself.  Don’t rely on the news stations to keep you accurately informed.  Although there are many news broadcasts that are honest and ethical, they of course are trying to sell a story.  Look to sources like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO).  These are organizations that are on the ground, in the trenches, at ground zero.

Second, don’t allow yourself to panic to the point that you do no help in any way that you can.  I am not saying that everyone should rush into Sierra Leone or Liberia, but there are ways you could help. 

·         You can donate to the organizations that are in the trenches like Doctors without Borders and the Red Cross.

·         Donate to organizations that are supplying the medical staff such as AmeriCares and Unicef.

·         Look to your community.  For instance, a Liberian community in Philadelphia has been collecting and sending supplies overseas.

·         If you do have medical training, considering volunteering your professional expertise through USAID.

Remember these facts about the Ebola virus…

·         Ebola can be spread by either direct contact,with fluids (blood, urine, feces, saliva, vomit) containing the virus entering mucous membranes (I.e. eyes, nose, ect.) and/or items that can contain infected fluids (I.e. needles).

·         Although the disease cannot be spread by food per se, animals can carry Ebola (which may be patient zero, or the first that contracted the disease).  Animals that can harbor Ebola include monkeys, bats and apes.  These animals can in turn spread disease via blood, urine, feces, saliva and vomit.

·         The disease can be spread through burial practices as Ebola can remain virulent in bodily fluids.

·         Ebola can easily be killed with bleach and water.

Don’t let fear impact how you can help.  For more information check out these sites…

·         Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Offers information on the Ebola virus.  http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/

·         World Health Organization (WHO).  Offers information on the Ebola virus, an up-to-date infection map and other valuable resources.  http://www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/en/ and http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/

·         Doctors Without Borders.  Can donate to help their efforts to combat the disease.  http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/our-work/medical-issues/ebola

·         AmeriCares.  An organization sending needed medical supplies and other resources for medical personal on the ground in the affected countries.  https://secure.americares.org/site/Donation2?df_id=17251&17251.donation=form1

·         “Local Community Rallies to Help Liberia Ebola Outbreak.”  News story on how a local community is helping to combat the disease.  http://6abc.com/news/local-community-rallies-to-help-in-liberia-ebola-outbreak/334479/

·         “The Difficulty of Burying Ebola’s Victims.”  Article on the Ebola Virus.  http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/why-ebola-outbreak-so-bad-sierra-leone-emergency-quarantine-180952218/?no-ist

If you know of other ways to help, post it here in the comments.  Let’s create a world community that does not panic, but simply stays informed.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Thoughts of a Veterinary Professional...

Welcome to the first installment of my podcast Thoughts of a Veterinary Professional.  There are two purpose's of this new enterprise, to spread the knowledge I've attained with the hopes of encouraging others to become part of the animal sciences in addition to encouraging a dialogue among veterinary and human health professionals.  I have been in the animal industry for 19 years in difference capacities...from a Licensed Veterinary Technician and Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator to Barn Manager and Volunteer Coordinator (for a nature center).  This podcast (http://meresasalisbury.podbean.com) is my conduit to transmit my knowledge to others, to learn from others experiences (I welcome comments) and to create a virtual environment that foster's communication between veterinary and human health professionals. 

Installment one is devoted to encouraging others to become part of the animal sciences.  Do you have an interest in animals, but are not sure what direction to go?  Maybe you have a direct or goal, but are not sure where to take your first step.  Or maybe you know someone that wants to get involved and you don't know where to encourage them to start?  This is the installment for you...

Thoughts of a Veterinary Professional › Embed Code — Podbean

Friday, June 27, 2014

Love One Another...

Writing about the moon and moon babies yesterday really got me thinking about Niger.  Niger is a wonderful country filled with wonderful people.  Watching the news with talk of Boko Haram entering southern Niger is so very sad to me.  My experiences found very welcoming people that have an immense amount of knowledge to share, with their arms wide open to visitors.

I hit on this a little in one of my previous posts, my host Mother, Hisa, showed me how to create a vegetable bed with one tool.  It resembled a hoe.  That’s it, no other tools or fancy gadgets.  Coming from a country of everything has to be bigger, better and faster this was eye opening for me.  “You mean you don’t need an impressive piece of machinery to start a garden?”  Then how about learning how to welcome others…

The Peace Corp Training Manager, Yves, explained how the Muslim faith/custom is to welcome with open arms ALL visitors.  He explained how a weary traveler may simply stop at huts along his way to seek shelter for the night and he would be embraced and possibly fed.  Are we that welcoming in the United States?  Not even close.  If someone came knocking at our door we would act suspicious of them and send them on their way to the closest hotel, whether they could afford it or not.  I realized we really have something to learn in the US.

The average person does not mean malice or harm.  If someone asks for help we look at them as though they are going to pull everything from underneath us.  We guard our “wealth” with real and simulated guns.  Instead of looking at our countrymen as brethren, we look at our fellow countrymen as competitors or thieves looking to take our next big break or the items/belongings we worked so hard to attain.  Wouldn’t those possessions be that much more valuable if we were sharing them with others?

We are all the same, the same beating heart, the same hopes and aspirations and the same needs and wants to connect with others and protect those we care for.  The key is to keep all of those needs and wants in check so that they do not spiral out of control leading to discourse, a disconnect in communication and an irrational fear of someone lurking around the corner waiting to take something from us.  When we meet others, especially those that seem so different superficially, take the time to learn something.

My third night in Fandoga Beri was a time I wish I had the ability to have recorded.  Hisa (my host Mother) and I were once again eating dinner under the stars.  Hisa made my dinner every night and never acted as though I was some sort of burden or annoyance.  Keep in mind, I may have looked like an adult, but my language skills were that of a baby just learning how to talk.

I figured at some point I would be working hands-on with livestock during my time in Niger so I brought one of my tools, my stethoscope.  Hisa asked me what I did in the US.  I explained that I am a veterinary technician and made a comparison to a nurse.  I explained that I wanted to work with the livestock in Niger.  Although this may seem like some sophisticated talk for my third night there, I’m leaving out the constant flipping through my language booklets, the incomplete sentences and fumbling through explanations. 

At this point I pulled out my stethoscope and asked her if she had ever seen one of these, Hisa said she hadn’t.  I flipped wildly through my language book trying to figure out how to say that this device listens to the heart.  I ended up using the word for beat, as in a drum, and placed my hand over my heart.  I asked Hisa if she understood, expecting her to say “Ay man faham,” I do not understand.  I sounded clumsy and was using words that may have had no connection specifically to what I was trying to convey.  Hisa said she understood and I felt like “OK, this language thing is coming along.”  I then took the bell of the stethoscope and placed it over my heart and showed her how to place the other end in the ears.  Keeping the bell over my heart, I handed her the listening end to place in her ears.  Hisa looked in amazement.  I then offered to place the bell over her heart so she could hear her heartbeat.  Hisa eagerly said OK.  Hisa was able to hear her heartbeat for the first time and she sat there, holding the bell over her heart for the longest time astounded.  It was a beautiful moment.  Hisa’s heart and my heart sounded the same.

The same, what does that mean?  Trying hard to prove we are so different, so much better, so much richer, so much smarter, so much more cunning, we forget how we are the same.  All of us.  We need to come together “…and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying [namely] ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.” (New American Bible, Romans 13: 9, 10)

I don’t want to sound as though I am critical of my fellow Americans.  I know and have met many nice people, willing to give the shirt off their back.  I have met many people that welcomed visitors from other countries as though they are extended family.  I have read about Americans, met many people and have worked alongside others doing amazing things like sheltering the homeless, feeding the hungry and giving assistance to families in distress.

How easy is it to love someone you CAN understand, you CAN relate too or you CAN connect with.  How about those you feel little or no connection too?  Saint Paul in Colossians 4: 5, 6 stated “Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.  Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you know how you should respond to each one.”  All of us have something to learn, something to gain with understanding or wisdom and something to contribute to with gained knowledge.  When everyone is united, maybe even in what we call diversity, love abounds good things happen and organizations like Boko Haram are extinguished.