Saturday, February 9, 2013

Farewell to the HIV in Kenya Blog

After just over four years of blogging about HIV and other development issues in East Africa and beyond, I need to move on. It has become too much for me to keep up with the reading and other things necessary to write such a blog. It has been an interesting experience, but I have become poor, not having had a paid job for five years. Volunteering can be great, but it has to stop eventually. And criticizing the HIV industry has probably not made me any more likely to get paid work in the field! Besides, I am no longer in East Africa.

I was offered a job as a grant proposal writer for an NGO in Cambodia called SISHA. So I arrived in Phnom Penh a week ago and started working on Tuesday. Writing grant proposals can be intense because there's a lot of work involved without any guarantee of getting the grant. There are more and more NGOs chasing after fewer and fewer funds. Also, huge grants tend to go to huge NGOs, small grants to small ones and none at all to ones that have never had grants before!

OK, that's an exaggeration, but it's hard to get going and hard to move up. And it's the easiest thing in the world to move down or stay resolutely in the same place, indefinitely. So I don't fancy trying to do that and then chase after the latest HIV research in my free time. I need to spend time working, getting fit, learning Khmer (or trying) and maybe some other things. More importantly, I am now a married man with my first child on the way in June or July. I hope to blog on Blogtivist from now on, where all my other blogs will be available. I'm sure I'll return to HIV in Kenya from time to time if I can. But I doubt if I'll ever again have the time needed to do as much writing and research as I did over the past four years.

Everything will remain available as long as Blogspot (owned by Google) keeps it available. I am grateful to all the people who have read and comment on posts, some of whom I have met face to face. I hope we all keep in touch. To those also blogging, I hope to hear from you and to continue to visit and comment on your posts from time to time. Maybe I'll see you on Blogtivist, you'll be welcome. THANK YOU!

allvoices

19 comments:

Joyful said...

Dear Simon, I was saddened to hear you moved on from Kenya. But I certainly understand the need for paid work.

The awareness you've been bringing to the HIV issue is very important. I'm sorry I haven't been able to read more and comment more. I do hope you will leave your blog in published mode so others can learn and benefit.

Sorry we never met up in Arusha but I have not been to Kenya for long time. I wish you all the very best in your new gig.

Joyful in Canada

Joyful said...

Oh I didn't finish reading before commenting *sheepish.

I want to congratulate you on your marriage and you and your wife on the recent birth of your child. May you all thrive in your new place of residence. All my best!

Xannasan said...

Hi Simon,
Loads of thanks for all the useful contribution, I learned a lot.
Sad you're ending your contributions, I would have liked to read more, but also very understandable; one needs to move on.
Wish you success in Cambodia, with the new job, and not least, also the expanding family..
We stay in touch.
Cheers, X

Anonymous said...

Hey Simon, many thanks to you for being such a dogged and determined digger of information, and for sharing it all with us. You've certainly influenced my thinking and writing.

Hope things turn out brilliantly for you and yours in Cambodia (and that you are able to get through pregnancy and childbirth without self-combusting over all the weird and not so wonderful things that happen in that field!)

All best wishes, Sue Holden

Simon said...

Thank you Joyful and thank you for your comments and communications. I was in Kenya in September and the pre-election vibes are not good, so we can only hope things go smoothly. They baby is due in June/July!

Simon said...

Thank you Xanna, of course we'll be in touch, I'll still be on Don't Get Stuck With HIV! All the best to you too.

Simon said...

Thank you Sue, it's all so new to me, but also exciting!

Maxwell Taro said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hugh7 said...

Thank your very much Simon, for your work debunking the myths about circumcision and HIV. There in the field, you are in a far better position than any of us to know what the real story is.

Simon said...

Thanks Hugh, as a human rights issue I shall continue to follow news on the mass circumcision programs in Africa. But as I'm not there any more and do not have much scope to research HIV, I'll turn my attentions elsewhere. All the best to you with your advocacy work!

Anonymous said...

All the best Simon. You'll be missed. Kwaheri.

Simon said...

Asante Ananymous, kwa heri!

Petite Poulet said...

Simon, you were one of the few articulate voices on the complexities of HIV in Africa. Thanks for all of your blogs. Grant writing is a crap shoot, so good luck with this.

Simon said...

Thanks Petite Poulet and thank you for all your contributions. You're right about grant writing but I gotta do something! All the best.

Anonymous said...

Pity, I only just discovered this blog today, a lot of interesting content. All the best for the future.

Simon said...

Thank you Anonymous, the content is there for the foreseeable but I have to stop blogging on HIV for the moment, it takes up huge amounts of time that I now have to spend working instead!

Boys Deserve Better said...

Thank you Simon! The largely American circumcision industry is a national embarrassment and your posts have allowed me to help expose the medical fraud, cultural bias, and medical colonialism masquerading as public health.

~Devon Osel, Boys Deserve Better

Devon Osel said...

Thank you Simon!

Your posts have helped to expose the (largely American)circumcision industry's medical fraud, bias, selective reporting, medical colonialism, and disgusting use of questionable studies to support non-therapeutic infant circumcision.

~Devon Osel, Boys Deserve Better

Simon said...

Thanks Devon, you're right, it is largely US driven. I've spent a long time trying to figure out how there can be so much enthusiasm for circumcision, even among ordinary Americans, who certainly don't have any profit motive. And I can only conclude that there is a strong element of cultural imperialism: people who circumcise are clean; those who don't (the majority of men in the world) are not clean.

The mass male circumcision drive is worryingly close to eugenics, where bogus public health programs are promoted with the purported aim of improving 'hygiene', as if a significant proportion of development is a matter of poor hygiene. Decades ago, we (cultural imperialists) were quite frank about our desire to impose 'hygiene', setting up schools of hygiene and courses in hygienic practices, even for poor people in our own countries. Now we do it in developing countries, where we can still get away with the racist slight, and call it development.