Saturday, June 3, 2017

Sibu Six: The Journey Begins

It’s been a long time coming with our preparation for fieldwork in Sibu.  You could say we’ve generally been getting ready since August, and more directly since December.  From then, our questions and concerns have steadily shifted from research to travel and back.  First it was a general question: What are we going to study?  We’ve all identified some interesting One Health oriented viral surveillance projects, and spent months creating study documents, seeking ethical approval, verifying laboratory assays, creating supply lists, and much much more, with lots of help from the Duke Global Health Institute and Duke One Health teams (thanks guys!).  

As we’ve crossed those items off of the list, we bought our plane tickets and started getting ready for travel.  So many questions and discussions have happened in that time.  Where will we stay?  How will we get around?  What clothing should we wear?  What vaccinations do we need?

With 2 weeks to go, all six of us (Hudson, Jane, Kerry, Laura, Rick, and Sarah) met in person for the first time; we've even dubbed ourselves the Sibu Six (t-shirts pending 😉).  Just to briefly introduce the team:

  • Hudson is from Midland, TX.  He's a MScGH candidate at Duke Kunshan University.  He did his undergraduate at Texas A&M, and studied wildlife and fishery sciences (as he calls it, WiFiSci... it'll catch on eventually).
  • Jane is from Washington D.C.  She's a MScGH candidate at Duke.  Prior to to her time at Duke she studied cultural anthropology and French at Hamilton College, and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin.
  • Kerry is from Pelham, NY.  She's joining us through Bass Connections.  She's a rising junior at Duke studying biology and global health. 
  • Laura is from Truman, MN.  She's a MScGH candidate at Duke.  She studied biology and anthropology at the University of Minnesota, Morris.
  • Rick is from Milpitas, CA.  He's also joining us through Bass Connections.  He's a rising sophomore at Duke studying chemistry and global health (provided we can convince him to join the ranks).
  • Sarah is from Northville, MI.  She's also a MScGH candidate at Duke.  She studied biology with a minor in theology at Notre Dame.

Photo Credit: Ben Anderson (aka the team dad)
Sibu Six, left-to-right: Rick, Kerry, Sarah, Hudson, Laura, and Jane
As you can see, we’ve packed up 5 HUGE duffel bags full of laboratory supplies (along with our own personal effects), and today we're setting off for Sibu!

We're all very excited to have made it through baggage check and security.  Soon we'll reach our first stop: London!  We've got a long layover during the day, so we're anxious to explore the city for a bit before we get back on that flying Pringle's can to Malaysia.

That's all for now.  Stay tuned for an abundance of adventures to come!

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