During our demographic survey, I was interviewing a woman born in the same month as I am. We are both 27.
I am young.
I am finishing up my masters degree, I am orienting myself on the job-market, I am not in a relationship yet, I am free and my future looks bright.
She is old.
The last time she attended classes was 20 years ago. Now, the only reason why she steps into a classroom is to talk to the teacher of her kids, she has three. Her husband is diagnosed with CKD, and is not able to work anymore. He receives a small pension, which is not enough to support the family. She has her work cut out for her. She works in the fields to cut cane to support her children. Besides she needs to prepare for widowhood. She is already showing early sighs that her kidneys are affected too.
This is heartbreaking. The most heartbreaking part of this story is that we believe that this is preventable. We believe that the intense working conditions in the soaring heat are the cause of the kidney disease, and we are gathering evidence to proof this hypothesis. The end goal is not scientific knowledge, the end goal is a policy change that will prevent the agricultural workers from getting sick.
And this is why I work in Public Health.
-Dorien, Public Health Intern