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MSH/SDN Global Health Fellowship

Leila Roumani | Malawi, Ecuador, India, Lebanon, Guinea

“Blood on My Hands”: Nabatiyeh, Lebanon. Shi’ia holy event of Ashura. Few cities mourn the loss of Hassan and Houssein through more demonstrative and bloody rituals. One of these rituals include cutting a wound into their scalp using a machete. Few families also involve their children at a young age, passing on these traditions to the following generation. Here, an adult is cleaning blood off this young boy's hands.

This exhibit shares a taste of a few global health issues that I have come across throughout my journeys in Malawi, Guinea, India, and Lebanon over the past three years.  The photos capture a range of public health issues around commonplace discussions, such as transportation safety and waste disposal, and specific regional issues, such as health/safety in the face of violence.  

Revisiting my own photographs stimulates not only my sense of sight, but also the sense of smell, touch, and sound that accompanies these memories.  I cannot forget the poignant smell of blood that hit my nostrils entering the city of Nabatiyeh, or the strength of the sun's rays on my skin as I inhaled the putrid smells of waste on Conakry's shoreline.  And more importantly are the relationships I fostered with the subjects of these photographs, whether through direct interaction or even with their permission to let me enter their lives for a brief moment.  My memories color each of these photos with layers of meaning that I can only hope to partially impart through a split-second capture.  


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