You may recall that I’ve been involved in an Asian tsunami relief effort called the Canadian Committee for Relief to (Sri Lanka’s) Eastern Province. Our first mission, during which our team (which did not include me, in case you’re wondering) delivered emergency medical supplies to affected areas, returned last month. One of their tasks was to administer a survey, part of which I designed, to children living in refugee camps, in an attempt to measure the extent of post-traumatic stress syndrome as a result of both the tsunami and the decades-long civil war.
Well, I’ve just spent the past 3 hours entering data from the surveys into a statistics package, and hope to have some analyses ready for presentation very soon. Why do I mention it? Because this has been the most emotionally trying data analysis project I’ve ever endured. It’s actually quite difficult to read these surveys of children who are reporting that they watched their fathers drown, who have nightmares every night, who cry when they see the water, and who are suffering from headaches, stomach aches and fevers while living in cramped refugee camps. It’s one thing to consider these things from afar, but quite another to read their accounts, written in their own hand, at our behest.
So keep this stuff fresh in your minds, people. It may be off the front pages, but it’s still going on.