Monthly Archives: February 2013

Welcome Masa and Jun-chan!

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http://www.dailynews.lk/2013/02/09/news31.asp

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Aquahol for stress management

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今日、僕は決めた。

ちゃんとサーフィンを始めることにした。理由は、青年海外協力隊で「世界を救うぞ!」と言う気持ちでスリランカまで来たが。。。不完全燃焼?不完全燃焼と言うか、失敗した時のストレスの行先がない。要請内容は何とか満たせそうだけど、最近の活動は「腎臓病の原因を解明するための水の分析」から「腎臓病全般の疫学」の領域に入ってきている。しかも現場は住んでいるコロンボでなく、5時間離れているアヌラーダプラ。それでも自分が出来ることは沢山ある。やってみれることは限りなくある。なので全力で頑張る。でも、やっぱり何か上手く行かなかった時の手段は必要。酒だけじゃまずいかなと思うので、サーフィンをすることにした。

僕には今までホッケーとスキーと言う物があった。思いっきり氷の上を走る。軽く100キロ出して山から滑り下りる。仕事とかがどんだけ辛くても山に行けば、リンクに行けば、全部消えた。手元にアイスリンクと雪山がないのは小学校時代から今年で始めて。ホッケーが出来ない冬。スキーが出来ない冬。20年振り。この穴をサーフィンで埋めるんだ。ストレスや失望を波で洗い流して海に持って行ってもらうんだ。

なんか、決めただけでスッキリ!

I’ve decided to start surfing today.  But why?  Could it be that Yudai Tadaki came all the way to Sri Lanka to try to save the world and is bored?  Living in a developing country, meeting new people, working with water aren’t good enough for him anymore?  Not exactly, but not too far off either.  My job description has gone from “analyzing drinking water for possible causes of kidney disease” to “General Epidemiology of Chronic Kidney Failure in Sri Lanka.”  Even though I don’t know the first thing about epidemiology, I still think there is lots I can do and contribute here.  There’s at least no shortage of things I can try.  That is not the problem.  The problem has to do with the disappointment and frustration that comes when things I try don’t go well.

Until now, I had hockey and skiing to deal with these stresses.  The healing effects of give-and-go one-timers past a goalie, or cruising down the side of a mountain at 100 km/hr are greater than any amount of alcohol or prozac.  This is the first time in over 20 years I don’t have access to an ice rink or ski slopes.  But this is also the first time I have access to beautiful beaches, with consistent waves.  I’ll make the best of it and try to fill the void of ice and snow with sand and sun!  I feel better already!

Trip to Yala National Park

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Yala is probably the most famous and one of the largest national parks in Sri Lanka, known for its wild elephants and highest concentration of leopards in the world (apparently).

More than the biodiversity, the concentration of wildlife was incredible.  Peacocks, boar, deer, water buffalo, storks, antelope (even elephants) were common…like robins and raccoons.  But when you think about it, it shouldn’t be that striking.  This is the way it should be, the natural way.  Even with Sri Lanka’s large number of national parks and protected areas, they say only 18% of the original forests remain.  It’s not for nothing.  Much of the land is used for agriculture and feeding the population, which it does well at 85% sufficiency in rice and other produce.  But maybe 18% is a lot considering that in Iowa, less than 1% of the original forests remain.  The rest of the land is used to grow corn, which is used to feed cattle for beef production…sad.

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Anuradhapura and CKDu

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This is the center of the kidney disease phenomenon known in medical circles as CKDu (Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown etiology).  Kidney failure (CKD) caused by diabetes and heart disease is common around the world, including Sri Lanka where up to 15% of the population has some level of the condition.  However, in the past decade or so, a new cases with unknown causes have increased, mostly among agricultural workers.  Pesticide exposure, contaminated water and even cooking utensils have been implicated, but still no clear cause has been identified.  In the highest risk areas, the National Water Supply and Drainage Board has been providing treated water to reduce people’s use of well and river water.  This seems to be having some benefits.  So, what exactly is in the water?  And will I be able to figure it out?

慢性腎不全(CKDu)。世界中では糖尿病や心臓病が主な原因となっているが、スリランカでは原因不明なケースが増えている。世界健康機構(WHO)を含むあらゆる団体が農薬、飲料水の汚染、料理器具など調べたがはっきりした原因は誰もわかってない。その中で水道省は大金をかけてハイリスク地域に水を運んで送っている。結果、CKDuの負担は減っている。やっぱり原因は水か?そして、2年間で僕は分かるか?

Things fall back apart…

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I went to lunch at a friend’s house on Saturday.  We cooked, ate, had a good time and I made it back home around 7:30pm.  On my way in, I stopped to talk to Grandma as usual.  We were having a pretty normal conversation except that she kept insisting that I go to bed soon.  As many 84 year-olds to, she had taken a nap that day, and had gotten up after dark.  To her, it was 7:30 am.  She thought I’d been out all night and just got back before the break of dawn.  Apparently, this is what she thinks I do every weekend, staying out all night, doing heroin and god knows who.  I’m surprised she’s not more scared of me.  Hmm, how to fix, how to fix.  You know, I might just go with it!

土曜日は訓練中のホームステー家族の家に行って過ごした。ご飯を作って、食べて、お喋りして夜7:30位に帰宅した。下に住んでいるおばあさんが起きていたのでいつものように話しに行った。会話は結構普通だったけどやたらに「早く寝なさい」と言われた。どうも、おばあさんは昼寝をして起きたら暗かったので朝の7:30だと思っていたようだ。なので、僕は朝までパーティーして、朝明け前にやっと帰ってきたと思われていた。これはシンハラ語をどれだけ頑張っても治せないこと。なので思われっぱなし。しかも、毎週金土日で繰り返してると思っている。もっと怖がれてないのが不思議だ。どうやって治そう?このままでもある意味面白いかな?