KETR

Marc Silver

With his skill as a psychiatrist, Dr. Hussam Jefee-Bahloul is reaching out to the troubled people of his Syrian homeland, offering guidance for health workers who work with mental health issues in a population traumatized by war.

And with his love of words, he tries to capture his longing for his homeland in poetry.

In truth, there is no way to come with a 100 percent accurate count of all the health workers who have died since the conflict in Syria that began six years ago this month.

That's because it takes a lot of checking to verify a death — Physicians for Human Rights, for example, wants to know the victim's name, job, the location and date of death and the cause of death. And they want three sources who can back up the account.

On Wednesday morning, a Red Cross staffer in Afghanistan pushed his vehicle's panic button.

Three Red Cross vehicles were heading to meet up with a convoy of trucks carrying "winter feed" — food for livestock — in the remote northern province of Jowzjan in Afghanistan. The plan was for the Red Cross staff to help distribute the 1,000 tons of feed, which is critical for farmers. In the winter, there's nowhere for their animals to graze.

It is a very attractive truffle.

It's made of the usual ingredients — cocoa butter, sugar, chocolate — with a not-so-typical addition. Thirty grams of dried tomatoes from Nigeria.

And it was served at the World Economic Forum last week in Davos, Switzerland, with a very specific goal in mind: "to raise awareness on food waste and hunger," as stated in a press release.

That's a big job for a bonbon — and it's the reason for the tomatoes.

When Kennedy Odede was a kid, he lived on the streets of a slum in Kenya.

He'd grown up in tough circumstances. His stepfather was violent. There wasn't enough food to go around. He wasn't sent to school. A friend convinced him he'd do better out on his own. He'd have his freedom, he'd be able to find his own food.

So when he was around 10, Kennedy left home. His new world was a world of violence. He was caught up in gang fights. He remembers being stabbed in the arm: "I still have the scar," he says.

When people see our blog for the first time, they usually say something like this: How on earth did you get that name? Goats and Soda?!?

Sunday was a bad day for a certain goat in Pakistan.

Employees of Pakistan's national airline took a black goat to the tarmac, near an ATR-42 aircraft that was ready to depart on a domestic flight from the Islamabad airport, and sacrificed the animal.

"PIA lampooned for bizarre goat slaughter," read the headline in Pakistan's Express Tribune.

It started with a poster he made at Kinko's and displayed at his wedding in May 2007: Would guests donate to help start a new kind of health care program in Liberia?

He got $6,000.

Now he's won a million dollar prize for his efforts.

Do you know any global health stories that should be getting coverage — but are overlooked by the media?

Ian Brennan wanted to make a record with music performed by prisoners. He's a Grammy-winning record producer who likes to bring attention to the voices of people who aren't usually heard.

So when he heard that a prison in Malawi had a band, off he went to the maximum security facility. "We just took the leap of faith and went down there," says Brennan, a California native who has worked with artists like Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Bill Frisell and who now lives in Italy.

Paul Farmer has spent a lot of time in Haiti over the last three decades. But what he saw on his visit this past week left him "surprised and upset and humbled."

Here at Goats and Soda, we are always on the prowl for breaking goat news. And this week was a good week for goats.

Goats to the rescue

The star of a new HBO documentary called Open Your Eyes is wizened and gray, although she's most likely only in her 60s – exact ages can be hard to figure out in Nepal, where she lives. She lives with her husband and son and young granddaughter. Playing with the child in an early scene in the film, she says, "When I feel her toes, it feels like mine."

On Sunday, aid worker Jeremiah Young couldn't tell if he was hearing thunderclaps or bombs.

That's the scene in Juba, capital of South Sudan. Rainy season has begun. And intense fighting broke out on Thursday — a new round of fighting between supporters of the vice president and troops backing the president. Heavy gunfire was exchanged, along with mortar and grenade explosions.

What do girls want? What do they really, really want?

That's the topic of the 1996 song "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls, which was definitely aimed at would-be boyfriends ("get your act together we could be just fine").

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