Week 2 Blog Post

Mary Crawford – 110209140

The material covered in the second week of class only triggered one response from me: frustration. The article “Ten things that Anthropologists can do to fight Ebola in the West” caused a mix of feelings as I could understand their point of view but wrestled with whether not it was necessary. It seemed futile to send anthropologists from euro-centric countries to gawk at the sick in order to provide reports when the true reality is that MDs are needed not PhDs. There does need to be a middle ground between the local communities and the international community but why can’t the anthropologist employed for this project be FROM AFRICA? Locals who know the customs and cultures not because they have studied it but because they have lived it. Locals are a lot less likely to trust foreigners than someone who grew up in the next town over who speak their language, rather than someone speaking through a translator. There are circumstances in which there is a need for someone to help with communication and understanding such as in Haiti when the purification tablets were not used due to fear. In this situation, elders and community leaders were educated by the doctors and were than sent to pass on this information to the people, therefore proving there is no need for outsiders to attempt to intervene. Anthropologists back home have also played a role in educating the Canadian population. Advertisements have popped up on my own Facebook account and twitter. This is clearly an attempt to convince the public that they are not at risk since most of the posts have been statistics about cases in North America, how many have been cured, chances are of catching it, etc. Although this calm, assertive voice is not the case in the United States (have you seen Fox News lately?!). This call to arms from the author should not be for the armchair professors of anthropology in North America but rather an encouragement to organizations working in the field to hire locals to improve communication and build trust.

Furthermore, the third article covers religion and HIV/AIDS but lacked any historical context or background information on the topic. There could have been much more discussion on the stigmatization about AIDS and how that in itself has caused for the spread of mental health issues and a rise in depression. Still to this day, questionnaires must be filled out prior to donating blood and your sexual orientation and whether or not you have had sexual intercourse with and “African gay man” determines whether or not you can give. Why is it that secular organizations still stigmatize against homosexuals? If anthropologists want to help, they can start within their own communities and improve how people are educated on the disease. Overall the article seemed to be an over-generalization of the problem and pushed a western methodology rather than one that would work within African cultures.

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