Tears and Sanitation

October 13, 2014

Children drink water at the Protection of Civilians site in South Sudan.

Children drink water at the Protection of Civilians site in South Sudan.

Hello all. I hope everyone else was as pleased with their exam results as I was. Logistical issues as alluded to in a previous post notwithstanding, I passed all three of my exams and even, dare I say it, did quite well. With that in hand and my interest in the subject continuing to grow, I’ve decided to switch to the full MSc in Public Health (general stream), rather than just doing the PG Cert. Quite a big decision, not least financially, but I’m happy that it’s something I enjoy and will benefit me in my career. A career which, (unsurprisingly) has taken me back to South Sudan.

After nine months away I cannot say I like what they’ve done with the place since I was last here – an ongoing war coupled with severe food insecurity and multiple ethnic massacres – however I am honestly happy to be back. I am now working at one of the Protection of Civilians sites, which I can truly say must be one of the worst places in the entire world for the estimated 40,000 people living in it. Severe flooding coupled with a dearth of latrines and a lack of knowledge about disease and proper hygiene practices means that water and sanitation is the big issue here at the moment, and I could write a lot about it. However, I wanted to write about the one very small aspect of sanitation that I am involved in, and that is burials.

A woman with her baby moves through a flooded area of the Protection of Civilians site.

A woman with her baby moves through a flooded area of the Protection of Civilians site.

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Reading Between the Lines

October 7, 2014

Roald Dahl booksI first discovered Roald Dahl in the library of my primary school. It was not a library with shelves and shelves of books, looking all impressive, and promising an adventure for a seven-year-old. I remembered it as a rather modest one: it did not amass a vast array of books though it had been around for very long. Yet, it was there where I acquired the love for reading.

Roald Dahl was one of those amongst the library’s collections. Quite like any child, I took to him almost instantly. I remembered that I wanted to be transformed into all of his characters all at once. Matilda’s intelligence was something I grew covetous of; and to live the rest of my life as a mouse like the boy in The Witches was one of my childhood daydreams. The most absurd idea that I had, was the wish that I were an orphan so that the BFG (the big friendly giant) could come and take me away to his land.

I managed to grow out of these strange fantasies, fortunately.

However, Roald Dahl did not leave me─he left an ineffaceable imprint on my life. His works retained their places as delectable reads which I revisit time and again. They are like comfort food─nostalgic and assuring with their familiarity.

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The Monster: The ideas I come up with and the things I do

October 6, 2014

She started crying. She wouldn’t even make eye-contact with me. I knew I was at fault. How could I break a girl’s heart? She only wanted to be accepted by all. Was I monster to do this? Am I so dreadful that I could make a young woman swell up with tears? I am really not a bad person…

Teaching and studying is like cooking and eating at the same time. Sometimes juggling priorities makes you so numb to whats happening around you that you lose the emotional intelligence, which is vital to functioning in the modern world. No matter how high you score on an EQ (emotional intelligence quotient) test sometimes losing your handle on things happens due to being human.

Getting into the University of London International Programmes’ LLB is a dream come true. Studying at SZABIST Karachi, a Registered Centre of UoLIP, is like icing on the cake. I love the academic environment and the intellectual blood bank places of higher education encapsulate. However, sometimes balancing study and working can take its toll.

Which brings me back to the monster story.
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Going the distance…

October 3, 2014

Buckingham Palace

“Buckingham Palace”; there are probably no two words that remind us of the nature of the British constitution nor that brought it home to me of exactly where I was and who I was talking to than those, but nonetheless they were the words that greeted my telephone enquiry one early September morning. For 18th September 2014 was to be an highly significant day in more ways than one. To us (as LLB students taking CLRI) & in my case a British citizen (albeit living many miles from home) it marked the day that the British constitution was possibly going to be irrevocably changed, and we are talking “changed” as Scotland faced its independence referendum. But for me it meant something far more important; my parents had been married for 60 years… “pause for effect”… and hence the call to the palace; as after such an “innings” you are entitled to a letter of acknowledgement from Her Majesty; and so on the morning of 18th September 2014 it duly arrived:

Congratulations letter from Queen Elizabeth

Mr and Mrs Pummell opening letter from  Queen

“I am so pleased to know that you are celebrating your Diamond Wedding anniversary on 18th September 2014. I send my congratulations and best wishes to you on such a special occasion.”

Elizabeth R

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How I get stuff done…

September 19, 2014

Cogs and TechI love technology and I’ll be honest, my life completely revolves around it. I’m constantly logged-on and  surrounded by tech at work and at home I sit hard wired to my computer or iPhone. I check updates at the dinner table and sometimes I say more to Siri in a day than to an actual person! I’m completely attached, connected, addicted, dependant…

I’m sure you’ve heard the news reports and read the headlines of society literally crumbling around us as we sit, oblivious, taking photos of our food. I know an older relative has interrupted you as you check your newsfeed to complain that the art of conversation is lost. And I know there’s a good argument to say that life is passing us all by, one selfie at a time. But as 4G kicks up a digital dust of distractions from which no amount of swiping seems to cleanse, I find myself marvelling at the benefits of our technological age. Especially the connection between myself and UoL and the intermediaries that foster learning and progression through my MSc. Read the rest of this entry »


The UOL subject guides

September 13, 2014

Time flies. It's up to you to be the navigator. - Robert OrbenIt is the weekend again; and this means allotting time for studies. For the entire week, I haven’t been able to sit myself down for a good, solid session of studying. Looking at the approaching weekends with the relish of spending hours with books might sound strange to some people; to me, however, swotting up on literary terms, or assimilating a critic’s work is an ideal way of enjoying my free time.

"The key is not to prioritize whats on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities." - Steven CoveyBalancing work and studies could never be an easy task. Besides feeling dead beat at the end of a working day, the realisation that I haven’t read a word always weighs me down more. Although I have tried to squeeze some reading time in during the day, such as when I am traveling to and from work, or when I am having my lunch break, it is still insufficient to study productively.

Therefore, my weekends are really precious. Just like how a working mother would look forward to the end of the week as a time for her children, I always anticipate with pleasure the joy of spending my Saturdays and Sundays with my books. But no matter how many weekends I have, I don’t seem to have enough time to complete reading everything on my list. It is precisely at such acute moments of frustration that I pleasantly discovered how I could make full use of the UOL’s subject guides.

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“Up, up and away!”

September 8, 2014

LLB student blogger Hammad

Meet our newest blogger – Hammad

Fear causes a man to do many a thing. Fear of failure, fear of people judging him (or her) wrongly, fear of hatred, fear of being classified incorrectly  - which serendipitously leads a man to do things that he couldn’t even fathom before. Sometimes, life throws such a curve ball (baseball) at you, or an in-swinging yorker (cricket), that you aspire for more and better, and maybe the best. You go for the full swing. It’s all or nothing. You want the best and nothing less. Such is my story and such is my calling…

My favourite author quite eloquently stated:

“If there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers.” -Charles Dickens

Since logic and religion; philosophy and theology; reason and inspiration; Aristotle and Abraham; all relate that there will always be bad in people, I seek to find what the law says about it. I believe that no one is inherently bad, not even Satan. It’s our actions which lead us to being good and being bad. So here lies the truth in my pursuit of LLB from the University of London International Programmes. Not to prove anyone wrong or right, but to make myself good for myself, actually the best. Let those who judge be the judges, all I know is that to be a judge you need to read the law. (Who says legal humour lacks taste?)

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