Exploring Latin America by Benoit Talbot, Postdoctoral fellow

May 08, 2018

In September 2017, I joined an international project between four countries, including Canada, Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador, to study factors affecting density of Aedes egypti mosquitoes and transmission of Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya.

Many things had been fleshed out and decided before I joined, so I had to learn on the go and keep track with all developments. Although no plan was made about it prior to my introduction to the project, I took a leading role in writing the field and lab protocols for all the study teams to use, and to visit all study teams to ensure uniformity of the procedures across study sites (Posadas in Argentina, Ibagué in Colombia, and Manta in Ecuador).

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Interestingly, local universities and agencies were very receptive to my visit and organized venues for me to give a presentation about our project. I was even asked to be interviewed by the media in two places (Manta and Posadas; the recording of the interview in Posadas city news is attached above this paragraph).

For me personally, these trips were valuable because I had an amazing time meeting with the local population, and discovering the local fauna and flora. I also went out of my way to visit Iguazu Falls in Puerto Iguazu, Argentina. In Puerto Iguazu, I bought a bow and arrows crafted by the local Guarani people, which I sent in a beer cardboard box (reburbished to modify the shape) to Canada using Correo Argentino postal service. I have always loved travelling and adventure, so conjugating it with work is the utopia for me.

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INSIGHT Lab, University of Ottawa | Ottawa, Ontario, Canada