Monday, July 28, 2008

Twitter and Tigo

I recently started using Twitter, a micro-blogging tool. A cool feature is that you can write updates on your cell phone. Setting up your twitter account to accept updates from a USA cell phone is a breeze, but it wasn't quite as clear how to do it for a Tigo cellphone in Honduras.

So if any of you out there want to Twitter with your Tigo phone, here's how you do it:

1. Sign up for a Twitter account.
2. Go to this page.
3. Enter your phone number using the following format +504XXXXXXXX.
4. Send the confirmation text message to 00447624801423.
5. Check Twitter after a minute or so and your phone should be set up!

You can follow my Twitter updates here.

Thanks to @mangandini and his blog DesdeGuate for help setting this up.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Viviendo Positivamente

Viviendo Positivamente means Living Positively. It's the title of a manual for HIV+ Support Groups produced by Peace Corps volunteers, the 2nd edition of which was revised and updated by Mary and I over the last few months. We're pretty proud of the new edition, and feel that it can be a great tool for support group leaders all over Honduras and probably in other Spanish-speaking countries as well. If you're curious, you can download a copy of it here (approx. 1.5MB PDF).

It's also the title of an annual conference organized by Peace Corps for people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) and community health workers who work with PLWHA. Mary wrote a great post about the third annual conference, which happened just a couple weeks ago, so I'll just point you there instead of rehashing it all here. But suffice it to say the conference went really well and we got great feedback from the participants. (The most common answer to our post conference evaluations was "invite me again next year!")

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Map of Trujillo

I just updated my Google Map of Trujillo, complete with many points of interest to travelers:

View Larger Map

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Survey Results

I mentioned in a previous post that we did a survey of people with HIV in Trujillo. Well, I wrote up the results in a report over a month ago, but until I got internet I wasn't able to put it online. But now it's up. Anyone who's interested can check it out here (it's in spanish, but there are a lot of graphs so you don't need to understand much to get the gist).

Doing the survey was a big learning experience for me. First off, the group funding us, Comité de Emergencia Garífuna Hondureña, wanted the survey to measure everything from adherence to demographics to quality of life. Second, there weren't many surveys I could find online that were designed for people with HIV, and fewer still that were in Spanish. So I downloaded a bunch of related surveys (often designed for HIV- people) and created a frankenstein survey out of bits and pieces.

I did my best to envision where cultural, educational or language differences would make the survey hard to understand, and tailor the questions accordingly. Unfortunately, even my best efforts fell far short, and I had to throw out a number of questions. There are also many results (particularly all the results for the quality of life questions) that I believe are not very reliable. The lesson: keep it simple, and then make it even simpler.

As for results, I thought it was interesting that so few people actually get treatment from the Hospital in Trujillo (the only hospital with ARVs in all of Colón). About one-third go elsewhere for treatment (like Ceiba, Tela, San Pedro Sula). About one-third don't get treatment at all. I'd love to do a follow up survey to explore why this is. Is it because of stigma? People may not want to go for treatment at a local hospital because of the risk of being "outed" as HIV+. Is it because of poor quality of care? While the staff at the hospital does its best, there are many shortcomings in both resources and proper training for staff. Are they pursuing traditional/religious remedies? Some evangelical pastors tell people with HIV that by accepting Jesus they will be cured. Some garífuna people go to see witch-doctors instead of going to the hospital. And there could be more reasons I haven't thought of.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Que lujo.

Que lujo means "what luxury."

I have cable internet here at my apartment. And with that, Skype. And a US phone number you can use to call me. I'm not going to post it here, but anyone who's interested can get the number off my facebook profile or just send me an email asking for it.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Last Parandero

Hey everyone, hope you had a good 4th of July. I came across an article in the Christian Science Monitor about one of the oldest "Paranderos" - musicians who play Garifuna paranda music (like Aurelio Martinez and Andy Palacio, who I mentioned in a previous post). The article makes some CD recommendations so if you're looking to get some good paranda music, check it out.