Thursday, April 28, 2011

Diagnosing malaria? There's an app for that.

If you're familiar with Africa at all, you already know that malaria is a tragic and monumental problem here. Every year, almost 800,000 people due from malaria worldwide, with just about 90% of those deaths coming from Sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria is a curable, preventable disease, but the lack of trained medical professionals, diagnostic tools, and prescription drugs in Africa make it a seemingly insurmountable issue. To try to take the malaria problem, a team of computer scientists from across the US built an app that allows for simple malaria diagnosis with a (slightly tricked out) smart phone.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Very Ghanaian Passover

Holidays this year have been interesting to say the least. My first holiday abroad, Thanksgiving, I spent  alone in my Lagos hotel semi-miserably working and eating room service (though it was fortunately followed a couple days later, by a belated celebration at the home of a random expat couple who happened to be friends of friends of friends). I spent Christmas exploring Bangkok with my dear friend, Kathy, and we reigned in the New Year at the infamous Countdown Party on Koh Phangan. For my birthday, I made very certain to travel back to lovely New York to be with my family and friends for the first time in months. But after all of this, I have to admit, Passover has been the most interesting of all.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Web As a Spotlight: An Alternative Look at Technology in the Arab Spring

Since the spring of 2009, scholars and pundits alike have been debating the role technology has played the spate of uprisings across the Middle East and Africa. From Iran in 2009 to Egypt in early 2010 to the uprisings still taking place today, the web has clearly played a new and central role, in effect differentiating these revolutions from any that have come before. To date, most of this debate has focused on how important so-called social media services have been in organizing and carrying out these protests, with prominent minds on both sides of the argument. But while this debate continues to rage, I'd like to focus on a completely different aspect -- a feature that has been largely ignored. I'd like to look at the web as a metaphorical spotlight, casting attention on people and parts of the world all too easily overlooked before.

Friday, April 8, 2011

What Technology Brings to the Developing World

When I decided to move to Africa, I did so with the goal to do good. I had spent four years in college studying algorithms, building software and even having fun, but when all was said and done, I craved to do something meaningful. I came to Africa because I wanted to see a different side of life, to broaden my way of thinking, and to make a positive impact where I could. Now just how I would manage to do that was less immediately clear. How could I use my skills to make difference?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Personal Update: Plans for Next Year

Those of you who have been following my adventures closely will know that I set out on this journey to Africa with the intent for it to be one year long. The plan after that was to do graduate school. Well, it's been quite a ride since I first set off, and I've since been blessed with many extraordinary opportunities to pursue when this year comes to an end.