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Path of Logic: The Durango-Uganda Connection

Path of Logic: The Durango-Uganda Connection

I can’t speak for everyone, but Durango can sometimes feel like its own little world, separate from global goings-on. We have our own contended microcosm nestled in this mountainous paradise. That being said, there are incredible people throughout our community who shatter that sphere and extend Durango’s influence to far-flung destinations. Nichole Baker is one of those individuals.

 +  A physician assistant in pathology for Mercy Region Hospital, Baker is sharing her expertise and passion with the Mbarara University of Science & Technology (MUST) in Uganda.

 +  Her non-profit, called Path of Logic, is largely funded by money she earns through mountain biking as a Yeti Cycles Ambassador. That money enables her to travel to Uganda to provide much-needed equipment and training to resident pathologists.

 +  Pathologist: one who interprets and diagnoses the changes caused by disease in tissues and body fluids. They’re the ones who determine whether tissue is cancerous or not, for example, and with a suspected “annual load of more than 60,000 new cases in Uganda”, that’s a pretty critical job.

 +  At last count, there were only 18 practicing pathologists in the entire country, so they need all the help they can get.

 +  Why so few? The Ugandan government offers stipends that incentivize up and coming docs to pursue primary care over other specializations, like pathology.

 +  Baker has already been to Uganda once, for a teaching position through Harvard and Mass General, but she’s on her way again this upcoming January to deliver critical new equipment and training. She’ll also be covering a year’s living expenses for three resident pathologists, providing compensation for the government stipend they’ve foregone to pursue pathology rather than primary care.

 +  She’ll be focusing her non-profit on MUST and Uganda for the next five or six years, with goals like updating textbooks, installing secure computers for patient records and, someday, creating a rapid detection system for a leading pediatric cancer.

 +  She’s calling for help from fellow Durangoans with an upcoming cycling-centric silent auction at Ska that’ll help fund her non-profit into the future. She’s already reached her monetary goal for this year, so everything is icing on the cake moving forward. The more she raises, the more she’ll be able to pay to the three pathologists she’s supporting and apply to future projects.

If you haven’t clicked through to it already, Baker sat down with us for a feature article, about Path of Logic, that goes into all of this and then some. Get the full scoop, from Path of Logic’s fledgling days to where it’s heading down the road.

Got a Novel Idea? NaNoWriMo

Like all months, November has a slew of wacky and worthwhile monthly observances. From National Georgia Pecan Month (so specific) to NoSHAVEmber (grow ‘em out, boys), there are all sorts of things and causes to celebrate and support. As part of one November observance, hundreds of thousands of participants will be tip-tapping furiously away at keyboards in a month-long mad dash towards 50,000 words. Are you among them?

 +  Dubbed National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, the challenge is to write a novel, roughly the size of “Fahrenheit 451”, “The Great Gatsby” and “Fight Club”, in a single month.

 +  Last year, 384,126 participants registered their books with the official nonprofit that oversees the observance. “Of these, more than 34,000 met the goal of writing 50,000 words in a month.”

 +  Dedicated to promoting creativity, writing fluency, community and goal-setting, NaNoWriMo is involved with The Young Writers Program and a number of other efforts to help youth and adults see their projects through.

 +  “National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. / On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. / Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.”

 +  For most of us, there’s never a good time to start writing a novel. That being said, you do have to start sometime if that idea is ever going to see the light of day. So November becomes the catalyst for everyone putting their novel off.

 +  To accomplish this goal, participants need to crank out an average of 1,667 per day.

 +  There are 35 novelists in La Plata County alone, some of which are WriMo veterans and others who are first-timers, who are attempting it this year. As of noontime Friday, they recorded a collective 49,679. How are they doing today?

 +  It’s not too late to join up if you’re interested. With 26 days left in the month (assuming you’re with me Sunday morning), you’ve just got 1,926 words a day to reach the finish line.

 +  What's the Best Writing App for NaNoWriMo?

 +  Of course, you don’t necessarily have to play by the rules to make use of WriMo. A friend of the GN.W. is using the month to work on writing and illustrating a children’s book, for example.

Second Life for Losing Apparel

A classic World Series ended on Wednesday when the Houston Astros outlasted the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in Game 7. As soon as the game was over, retailers were hard at work stocking shelves with Astros emblazoned championship merch and memorabilia.

 +  Short of premonition, how would anyone know what merchandise to produce without knowing who would win the Series? They don’t. Producers make shirts, hats, mugs and everything else you could imagine for both scenarios. Retailers are tasked with stocking the right ones as soon as results come in to prepare for the onslaught of hungry fans.

 +  “Following a big win in the World Series, Super Bowl, NBA Finals, or any other major sporting event, fans want to get their hands on championship merchandise as quickly as possible. To meet this demand and cash in on the wallet-loosening "We’re #1" euphoria, manufacturers and retailers produce and stock two sets of T-shirts, hats and other merchandise that declare each team the champ.” The losing team’s merch gets donated abroad, never to be seen on American soil again.

 +  It can be pretty strict, too. From the New York Times: As far as the NFL is concerned, “‘Where these items go, the people don’t have electricity or running water . . . They wouldn’t know who won the Super Bowl. They wouldn’t even know about football.’”

 +  “This way, the N.F.L. can help one of its charities and avoid traumatizing one of its teams.”

 +  “. . . although MLB briefly changed their policy up in 2016 and ordered the losing team's apparel destroyed after concerns it might find its way into the secondary market.” However, some of it did make it way past the shredder and into the arms of World Vision, a long-time recipient of most of the professional leagues’ donated gear. World Vision then facilitates the donation of merch to developing countries.

 +  As it turns out, though, “These African Countries Don’t Want Your Used Clothing Anymore”. When local markets flood with donated apparel, the local clothing industry tanks. World Vision caught some flak for just that.

 +  In any case, the MLB reversed the destroy-all-merchandise policy in favor of donating again this year. All that LA Dodgers gear will be going to Good360, instead of World Vision, and is bound to help people in need overseas. While there’s no telling where exactly it’ll go yet, Good360 has a history of working with disaster-stricken areas (i.e. places where need outpaces industry), so, hopefully they don’t disrupt any local economies.

 +  Plus, in a country that produces over 254 million tons of garbage a year, donation is undoubtedly better than dumping.


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