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Feb. 12, 2014

Terrie Taylor: One head cannot hold up a roof

Feb. 12, 2014

University Distinguished Professor Terrie Taylor is an Internationally recognized expert on malaria. Taylor’s battle against malaria, which she refers to as the “Voldemort of parasites,” has been waged for the last 28 years. She has spent six months of each of these years in the African nation of Malawi conducting malaria research and treating patients, the vast majority of whom are children. 

The 28th “season” of MSU-supported malaria research in Blantyre, Malawi is underway.

Mutu umodzi susenza denga, or one head cannot hold up a roof.

This proverb is a “teamwork” proverb and refers to the process of building a mud hut—the hut and the thatched roof are constructed separately. The final step is lifting the roof onto the hut—and that requires several people, all working together.

Seven medical students, one fiancé and I are settling into the “MSU House” (in the Mandala neighborhood of Blantyre, and easy walking distance to the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, our clinical base).

We are luxuriating in restroom renovations, courtesy of Dean William Strampel (College of Osteopathic Medicine)—we’ve moved from three toilets and two showers in three separate rooms to four toilets and three showers in four separate rooms. THANK YOU, Dean Strampel.

With all of our new capacity to wash and flush, the increasingly frequent “water cuts” are more noticeable—so, we’ve all been excited about the process of having a reserve water tank installed.

The tower (built on site, including arc welders!) is 25-feet high—and the exercise of raising the tank to the top of the tower, by hand, with no power devices AT ALL, was amazing (see video).

One head may not hold up a roof—but it can hold up a water tank!

Check out the video below to see the tank being raised.


Photo by Jim Peck, video courtesy of Terrie Taylor