28 August 2012


It helps to start the day with translating energetic position papers on human rights of asylum seekers before moving on to disheartening reports on causes of famine. While it is inspiring to read that there has never been a famine in a functioning multiparty democracy (Amartya Sen), this is all theory when I get to the long list of displaced nomadic pastoralists in Ethiopia, in Kenya. My heart sinks even further when I work my way through the various definitions of famine according to the WHO, the FAO, the UN and even the World Bank: Four children dying of malnutrition per day vs. three or maybe just the one? And what about chronic malnutrition due to lack of micronutrients (doesn't count) and then there are endless calculations and recalculations of minimum calories per day (no agreement at all).

Meanwhile, my paying customers want me to translate their research procedures on colon cancer which involves breeding mice with certain disease characteristics which are then operated on (under anesthetics, thankfully) and bits of this and that are removed and examined in 1 million ways. The mice are then allowed to recover and are observed (and fed and watered) until they die or they are sacrificed, I have yet to see a medical paper where the mice are simply killed.

And in the middle of this a nice but very sad looking woman from Nigeria (so she claimed) came to my door and showed me a photo of a poor misfortunate woman (in Nigeria she claimed) with an eye tumor and asked if I could help her. We had a little talk whereby I expressed my concerns regarding her actual intentions (she would not provide me with a name or an address etc.) but she was sooo sad (and maybe drugged to her eyeballs) that I just gave her some money. 

Try and find the thread connecting all that.

1 comment:

  1. Suffering the world over. All creatures. Sad when we can control some things of which we think (or are told) we've no control.

    You're very kind, Sabine. I wonder if I would have been as patient with the woman.