A Rant…you have been warned.

Ever since I got back from Italy (for a conference and family vacation,) my AC in my apartment has not been working. After two visits by a tech, a hole in my tub, and failed attempts to cool things down…nothing worked. I’m pretty upset about the whole thing.

Some may say, “Well, Sara, you lived in BF with no AC and survived 2 hot seasons and 2 mini hot seasons.” This may be true, but in BF, no one had AC. Everyone was suffering through the heat and your body got used to it. When it was too hot, no one did any work and nothing got done. I spent most of those days sleeping and trying to stay as cool as I could.

What’s hard in Americaland is that everyone else has working AC. Coping with no AC is worse when everyone else has what you don’t.

In BF I would go to Ouahigouya, my regional capital about once a week to mentally recharge my batteries, eat some yummy food, and get some internet.

Also, in BF, I was not paying for my house. I was not paying for any services because I didn’t have any. No electricity, no running water, nothing. Everything seems worse when you are paying for it and not getting what you are supposed to be paying for.

I always said to new volunteers: “Have some coping strategies, then when those run out, find new ones.” I’ve been trying to live by that ideal the past 48 hours and treating myself to things I enjoy even in the heat.

All I can do is wait. As we used to say in Peace Corps…this too shall pass.

So I ran a 5k

Apologies for such a late post…I drafted this a while ago and just put it up now

So if you have been following this blog you probably know that I was going to run my first 5k ever.

Well, (on June 28th 2015)  I ran it, and survived! I never considered myself as a runner, but I had a great team of people supporting me and I did a training program.

I started running at the beginning of April after a visit home coupled with some motivation from friends got me interested in running a 5k.

The Baltimore Women’s Classic is a great first 5k for anyone to do it, and they have their own training programs to help beginner runners like me to get started and train properly.

I did one of the Charm City Run training programs and they prepared us for almost everything except the start. I started too far back and had to weave my way through walkers and my chip time was 2 minutes faster than the gun time. So the lesson is to start further up.

My time was about 40 minutes which was better than any of my training runs. The last run I did before the actual 5k was in Patterson Park which had more hills than the actual course.

Instead of having team t-shirts I made crazy neon glittery headbands for everyone on our team

I signed up for my next 5k in October for the Baltimore Running Festival and to try and keep running even when it starts getting cold. I think I would like to get up to a 10K if possible.

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Our team before and after!

Hopefully I can keep this up, and the more races I can do with included swag the better!

What happens now?

This has been a question that has been bubbling in my head for the past few days/weeks. Two weeks ago I got my MPH and I’m still plugging away.

One task is refining my capstone presentation and paper examining correlates of self-resported Sexually Transmitted Infections among Men who have sex with men in Burkina Faso

(Watch the video presentation here!)

In order for this to be remotely considered for publication, it needs to be sent to the researchers in Burkina Faso as it is also their dataset.

In other news I have been applying for jobs. I’m not going to say much about this because of the visibility of this blog. So far my status post-MPH is uncertain. I try to apply to a few jobs that interest me every day, and hope that I hear back. Thankfully the long Peace Corps application process has been great preparation.

Ideally I want a job that combines research and practice, that I can hold on to for at least a few years, and then apply to PhD or DrPH programs. I’m not sure about working internationally and I have mixed feelings about it.

To me, good international development involves effective initial training of host country nationals and then some monitoring by the outside organization, and then letting the locals run the program.

As for the moment, I want to stay in Baltimore. I love it here, I love the community, and I’m in a committed relationship. Also, it seems that if you want to do public health, Balt/Wash or Atlanta are the places to be.

Looking forward to more applying, waiting, and post-MPH capstoning. I’m trying to create more structured days so I feel more productive. Without my school schedule, motivation is hard and sometimes I envy my boyfriend who has a real job and a more structured lifestyle.

As one of my wise BF Peace Corps buddies always says

“This too shall pass”

An Update…

Hi Everyone.

It’s been a crazy 7 months since my last post.

What’s been going on?

I’m 3 weeks away from graduating (EEK). It’s scary and exciting at the same time.

My capstone is almost finished and is looking at characteristics of self-reported STI testing among MSM in Burkina Faso. Rough draft handed in, final draft due next Friday!

So Sara, What’s Next?

I really don’t know. I’ve sent out a bunch of job applications and currently the jury is out. Until after I graduate, I’m not really able to send out applications unless it’s the type of thing that I can send just a resume/CV to.

Also, I’ve decided to run a 5k. Scary.


Long story short, felt that if I am going to be a successful public health practitioner, that I should be healthy and practice what I preach. I’ve been running two times a week with the BF and I seem to be inching along.

So. That’s what’s up. Hopefully I will have more to post soon.

Watch me on Jeopardy!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS! SET YOUR DVRs! 4 weeks from today I will be a contestant on Jeopardy! on Wednesday, October 1st!

I can’t tell you what happens because I signed a 12 page contract so you must tune in to find out!

In Baltimore: 7:00pm on WBFF Fox 45 Baltimore
In Detroit: 7:30pm on WDIV NBC Channel 4

All other cities: Check your local listings at

It’s a family affair in terms of Jeopardy! My dad was on in 2008! He made an excellent powerpoint!.pps

Watch me rev up the competition on Jeopardy!


Two weeks into my MPH Program

And this comes up on a facebook chat…



EH = Environmental Health

Pop Dy= Population Dynamics


Seriously though. I’m geeking out every day and it’s Awesome!

MPH program first impressions

So I started my MPH program at Hopkins on Monday. Two days of orientation, two days of class, and then the Fourth of July!

One of my PC Burkina friends asked me what the program was like so far, I said that it was like “Stage” (Pre-service training). Classes go from 8:30 to 5pm and we don’t have a lot of breaks. I get home and do not want to do anything else.

First impressions:
The majority of the class are clinicians/med students. I’m not one of them. It’s a little intimidating.

Our class seems to be very social. We are always planning events and bar nights. It’s sort of hard being “on” all the time. Trying to socialize and meet people, and also be switched on to pay attention in class. Speaking of which, We haven’t even had all of our classes yet. Introduction to Bioethics in Public health only meets on a Tuesday.

We have a very diverse class. About half the class are from different countries. It’s fun talking about different cultures, and also creating inside jokes about an Italian student marrying another student just to get his green card. Because he’s not looking for a significant other, just a green card.

I go to a green campus and people totally embrace technology! Except sometimes technology doesn’t work…like getting locked out of the Responsible Conduct for Research module or not being able to see any of the e-reserves.

More updates to follow. Certainly felt this was more like week 0 than week 1.