It’s amazing how walking around a foreign capital with two vials of HIV-positive blood in your pocket can focus the mind.

Perhaps some day I will explain why, exactly, I am walking around a foreign capital with two vials of HIV-positive blood in my pocket. It’s an interesting story. But for now, you’ll have to do with just the knowledge of these vials’ existence.

I admit ignorance of how to best handle blood. Want someone to write up a 2 a.m. homicide? Want someone to detail both sides of a curriculum reform debate? I’m your man. Want someone to be your blood jockey? There are probably others more qualified.

For the first hour after I got the blood, I debated what to do with them. Should I just hold on to them? (The heat of my hands might warp the samples in some way.) Should I put them in my pocket? (Same body heat concern, plus potential jarring when I walk.) In my bag? (Probably gets quite hot in there.) I considered just holding them out in the open, but might sunlight damage them?

Of the experts I’ve talked to, one insists on refrigeration only. One insists on freezing. One says room temperature. Hell if I know.

The blood is currently in my shirt pocket — protected from sun, with minimal extra heat. I think it’s a decent compromise, although I think I’ll be freezing it shortly just to be safe. Wouldn’t want to leave them somewhere for a thirsty child to find.

11 November 2003



Comments

11 November | 16:26  |  dsaint

I really hope this isn't an unnecessary risk. Make it back safe okay. I've got a mix CD or two to share with you.

11 November | 20:24  |  karen

Be careful. Don't take unnecessary risks.

13 November | 3:21  |  Ed Batista

Hi Josh,
A Crabwalk reader from a ways back--I hadn't visited for a while, but went there today and was referred here as a result. Read through all your posts since arriving in Zambia. What a tremendous experience, and thanks for taking the time to share it.

At some point, I'd love to hear about your reactions to the comments from Zambians on the blog. You obviously went to Zambia with the best of intentions, but the quasi-dialogue in the comments seems to demonstrate that intentions aren't always enough. Lots of miscommunication, some outright hostility, and the occasional cross-cultural breakthrough. That's a story I hope I get to hear more about.

Thanks again--keep up the great writing.

Ed

21 April | 15:11  |  Timozzz

I think that you should stay a little more there because it is a good country and it gives you a good experience. So stay a little more and make sure that you do not leave for a long time.



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Welcome to zambiastories.com, the online journal I kept during the six weeks I spent in Zambia in 2003 as part of a Pew Fellowship in International Journalism. The entries below are in reverse chronological order — most recent on top, oldest on bottom.

To learn more about my trip and this site, check the About page. If you have any comments or questions, email me.

Stories

11 Jul 2004: Where the only growth industry is death; AIDS destroys scarce resources as well as family members

12 Sep 2004: A lesson in dying; Once a refuge from AIDS, Zambia’s schools are now its latest victims

Photos

Links

About this site | Contact | Photos

Calendar

10 Oct 2003: Leave for London
11 Oct 2003: Leave for Zambia
12 Oct 2003: Arrive in Lusaka
22 Nov 2003: Leave for London
22 Nov 2003: Back to Washington

Disclaimer

Any opinions expressed here are solely mine, and not those of my employer.

 
© 2003 Joshua Benton