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Amanda Hanemaayer
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In 2019, amid growing concerns around the re-emergence of communicable diseases whose impacts had largely been nullified, for decades, by routine childhood immunizations, the World Health Organization named vaccine hesitancy as the 8th largest threat to global health. In a world seemingly so polarized by a progressive entitlement to one’s own opinion, I was somewhat surprised to learn that indifference was considered more problematic than downright denial.

But throughout the ensuing semesters of my graduate studies in public health, we were taught to target those who are unmoved by the urgency of immunizations above those strongly opposed to the idea…

Bududa, Uganda — June, 2017

I remember sitting at a hostel in Jinja, still soaked to the skin from the Nile waters, watching as a vibrant conflagration of gold and auburn hues flowed to the rhythm of canoes passing by while their tenants danced as shadows. I was mesmerized by the mystery of this river — somehow both breathtakingly beautiful in its stillness and yet powerful enough to invoke a healthy dose of fear.

I listened intently as my colleague explained the shifting reality of livelihoods that would likely result if plans to open a new hydro-electric dam upstream of the region’s most enticing rapids…

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Since the beginning of the pandemic, it has been clear that COVID-19 respects no bounds. It doesn’t heed to the borders forged on a map by previous generations — the lines that define our political will to protect our common compatriots while leaving out the other; the virus makes no distinctions between our land and their land; us or them.

But somehow, we have done just that all by ourselves, through reiterating and reinforcing the inequities that exist in our societies in the ways that we choose to respond. Although the virus affects us all, we have given it favourites.

Only 1.6% of the 1.44 million individuals with refugee status who were prioritized for resettlement in 2020, found their way out of a land of persecution

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As our communities continue to grapple with the loss and isolation bred by COVID-19 and its consequences, many of us find ourselves trapped between the denial and fear of yesterday and the hope of someday’s tomorrow. Life feels somewhat stagnant as moments, days and months pass by within the borders we’ve marked by four familiar walls. But if we’re fortunate enough, those bounds still form a home and that home is still a place where we can guard the virtues of safety and freedom.

For countless others, though, home is not a harbour of refuge; it is simply a house…

Thanks so much for the kind comment!

So please, be curious

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Living in Uganda for a time, the daily rhythms of life often felt slowed — sun-worn men and women waved happily from the shade of their palm groves as children walked in red-checkered uniforms to school. I would usually journey by foot in the mornings to the medical clinic where I worked—in a light still dim, as the sun rose softly to cast shadows through the maize and trees of jackfruit that embraced the rolling mountainside.

Boda boda motorcycle drivers would stop in the village to fuel their bikes with petrol-filled Coca Cola bottles, and on Mondays, farmers buzzed about…

I really love the philosophical approach you took in writing this introduction. I too, prefer jumping to deeper questions when getting acquainted with someone new. It was nice to read about you!

I really enjoyed reading your introduction! I look forward to reading your future articles on Christianity. Wishing you the best as you work towards your MA!

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Between straddling the back of a boda boda motorbike over the rolling red hills of Jinja’s westside and sitting sandwiched between five large, sun-worn bodies in the middle row of a motatu bus amid the height of summer’s heat, every trip that I took with Ugandan public transportation during the time I spent living there felt entirely unprecedented.

While I eventually grew accustomed to the sound of rocks popping beneath speeding tires and the (quite literally) in-your-face scents of street-stand chicken and roasted maize pushed through the crack of an open passenger window, I still found myself unprepared and unassuming…

Amanda Hanemaayer

MPH | Striving to live a more compassion-filled life.

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