Friday, March 21, 2008

What am I up to? (January-March, 2008)

Yours most truly, in my BIPAI office in Houston, Texas.

For the past two and a half months, I have been living and working in Houston at BIPAI headquarters. My office is on the 12h floor of the dapper Baylor-affiliated Texas Children’s Hospital.

For those new to this site, BIPAI stands for “Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative” and it is this Initiative’s objective to keep the HIV-uninfected uninfected and to keep the HIV-infected alive. For about a year and a half (from August, 2006 to December 2007 that is), I lived in Swaziland and took on that objective. I did this as one of several dozen Pediatric AIDS Corps physicians throughout the sub-continent.

The job was spectacular. Spend a few minutes looking over this blog and you will get an idea of just how much I loved it. Yes, there were frustrations. Many of these related to my wishing that I could do and be more for that troubled Kingdom’s children. My efforts seemed too too little, and I was reminded daily how itty bitty Ryan Phelps was in the face of a devastating global epidemic. That was by far the most frustrating aspect of the job.

That, however, is not why I am currently at BIPAI headquarters. There are several reasons (I am a 'Texan' after all), but I never equated being but one person with being insignificant. On the contrary. Hundreds of children (perhaps more) who would be dead are alive, and I played a part in their survival. Granted, I played a small part, but we are talking about children. Helping but one is big. Very big.

I continue to play my role here in Houston, where I am helping to cover the Baylor Retrovirology Section’s clinical services, among other things. The time has been rich and perspective-lending. I plan to share more about my time here in Houston (and those new perspectives) in the weeks ahead, even as I head back to Africa.

In early April, Botswana will become my home, and from there I will continue to share stories as long as stories come my way and time allows.

I am about to check the availabiliy of the website "Pediatrician in Botswana"... or maybe "Pediatrician in Africa"?

Please do stay tuned.


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