It has been a busy month for the two of us! July creeped up on us quickly and there’s been no shortage of things to do. Brooke’s house became a mini-lab, full of lab equipment and Alex’s house became a mini-print shop, full of paperwork and binders to be organized. One of the major things that we’ve learned about international projects from this experience is that sometimes you just have to play it by ear. Both of us prefer to be very organized and precise about having things completed and ready to go but this isn’t something that we’ve been able to accomplish so far. Trying to coordinate with the Ministry of Health and doctors and nurses on Christmas Island only through email has been a challenge that has been further complicated by the cultural barriers between us. For example, during the IRB approval process, the IRB asked us what the Kiribati government’s policy was on getting consent, does it need to be written or can it be verbal? When we relayed this question to our contacts on the island we were informed that this is a question that had never been asked before, there was no policy! So while they are trying to determine what their policy should be, our IRB approval is on hold. But despite all the craziness, we’re excited to get on the ground in 2 days and start working with our team on the island. It’s amazing to think that we’re doing something that’s never been done before!
Here’s just a look at the huge amount of stuff we’re taking with us!