October 07

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Reflections

Seattle is a good place to be in the summer especially if you like being outdoors.  The temperature is bearable, a high of 32 °C and next to no rain, pretty similar to the UK. But in the last three weeks it has turned from being summer to autumn and the temperature is now in the low teens, with some rain thrown in.

The view from my apartment.

apartment-view

There has been a lot going on in and out of work so here is a snap shot….

FoneAstra

FoneAstra is a low cost low resource pasteurization system for breast milk that plays an important role in a much wider project remit that the Human Milk Team  at PATH, smiling below, are engaged in.  Their focus is on a more holistic introduction of breast milk to vulnerable babies that encompasses policy, advocacy and educational challenges in developing countries.  FoneAstra is due to launch by the end of the year and I am helping to establish a testing program that will ensure that the FoneAstra will be a safe and robust system for the Human Milk Banks.  Currently it is being used in seven trial sites in South Africa, with discussion going on with India. These are exciting times for human milk bank development and the technology is developing rapidly.  I am so very lucky to be contributing to something as important and meaningful as this.

Here I am in the workshop and at an evening function with the milk bank team.

team

A day trip to a Human Milk Bank

Earlier on in the summer I was lucky enough to go on a day trip to Portland, with Laura and Minnie, to see the good work that Northwest Mothers Milk Bank do.  We were shown around the facility and what became really apparent is that there is a deep rooted passion for this work and is not only demonstrated in Portland but reflected with the team at PATH too.

hmb

An evening show and tell at the PATH offices

PATH had an event at their offices  for 350 local Seattleites, where they shared their work around a variety of projects, for instance how they are helping women around the world raise edible insects for protein and a source of family income. There were lots of hands on demonstrations, including the Milk Bank Team who did a fantastic job fielding all the questions from the enthusiastic visitors.  We also managed to fit a handling trial in that looked at tightening lids on jars where the data will be used to drive further development on FoneAstra.

after-hours

 A Flurry of visitors

So outside of the project I’ve had a series of visitors which was nice.  Firstly my family came out from the UK and joined me for a couple of weeks.  I continued to work but it was great to have them around at the evening and weekends.  And whilst they were here Matt and his wife Sam came through Seattle and we managed to catch up with them for an enjoyable evening. And then a few weeks later Mark and his family were passing through Seattle, and I grabbed an evening with them.

 

Playtime

I have been trying to make the most of the evenings and weekends with cycling, dragon boating and hiking, mostly through a website called Meet Up, which I will be checking out when I get back to the UK in the New Year.

playtime

 

I am lucky to be able to have this experience!