Up until now, the HALI blog was largely in the hands of the UC Davis One Health Institute's David Wolking, who cultivated a casual yet informative space for the telling of the HALI Project's stories. David's role within the One Health Institute has evolved over the past year, to the point that it now makes sense for him to pass the privilege along to some new bloggers. That's what this post is about.
I'm Justin Cox, and I'll be running this blog alongside my colleague, Desiree Aguiar, for the foreseeable future. As a sort of passing of the baton, we had David ask us five questions of his choosing, which could give you some insight into who we are as people and how we'll approach this blog. You'll hear more from us in future posts, but for now, you can read that interview below.
But first, a quick note that David isn't going anywhere. His office is about 35 steps away from mine and Desiree's, so his knowledge and experience will remain.
David: What exactly do you do for the UC Davis One Health Institute?
Justin: I help the One Health Institute tell their stories, mostly online but also in print. That means everything form press releases and reports to our quarterly multimedia publication, Evotis.
Desiree: I work to connect with people. My biggest goals are to let people know who we are and what we do, and keep in touch with our current supporters. Posting to our social media sites, working events, and keeping administrative processes going in the One Health Institute are all important aspects of my work.
David: What led you to a career telling stories about One Health?
Justin: My background is in journalism. I was a reporter for a newspaper and an editor for a couple of websites before joining the One Health Institute. I love telling stories online because there are so many tools available to help convey the subject matter in interesting ways.
Desiree: I come from a public relations background, so I believe that the best way to communicate with people is to tell them stories. I am a writer at heart, and love sharing new information with people. Writing about One Health is fascinating because it is relevant to everyone.
David: Have you ever been to Tanzania? If not, what’s the most interesting place you’ve visited?
Justin: I have not been to Tanzania, or Africa at all, for that matter. But I would jump at the opportunity if it presented itself. As for travel I have done: I spent a year living in Spain in college and I traveled across China with my grandpa for three weeks shortly after graduating. Those were both amazing experiences. I also happily married into an Ecuadorian family a couple of years ago, and my wife and I traveled to the Galapagos Islands for our honeymoon, which was unforgettable as well.
Desiree: Unfortunately I have not been to Tanzania, but traveling to Africa has always been a goal of mine. My most extensive travel experience to date was my six-week trip to Israel during college. I was also able to tack-on traveling to London for a week. I really enjoyed interacting with the unique mixture of people in Israel and experiencing the many cultures represented there. I made a few friends that I still keep in touch with!
David: Unapenda ugali? Do you understand Kiswahli and do you like to eat ugali? (like eating grits with your hands - a staple over there)
Justin: I don’t understand Kiswahli, but I would eat those grits with my hands in a heartbeat.
Desiree: Eating grits with my hands sounds fantastic, and no I do not understand Kiswahli.
David: What is your vision for telling HALI's story to the world?
Justin: My vision for telling HALI’s story is to make this blog a vehicle through which those doing the actual work can tell their stories. The people making HALI a reality in Tanzania are busy doing their jobs, so it’s not automatic for them to dream up a blog post and make the stories available to the world. My goal will be to keep an eye on the work they’re doing and capture those stories as often as possible, because it would be unfortunate for them to go untold.
Desiree: Telling stories is a great way to spread the word on the important work of the HALI team. I’m sure that there are tons of HALI stories out there, waiting to be told. My vision and hope is that through this blog, and other online outlets, we can find more opportunities to bring the HALI story full circle.