Ides of August Album Two  

Professor of Biology Eric Wetzel joked that he could understand why his talk had not been scheduled right before lunch—some of the images he showed of parasitic infections in children and adults in Peru were unsettling. The statistics were moreso: more than two million deaths from mosquito-borne malaria and more than one billion people infected with roundworms worldwide.

"These parasites cause disability, disfigurement, disease, delayed growth and development,” Wetzel said. “They are both the result and the cause of poverty.”

Wetzel, who spent last spring in Peru, has seen the suffering up close. He has been trying to develop a global health initiative at Wabash that would include research and service, drawing on the liberal arts and the College’s mission statement “to live humanely.” The program would involve students, faculty and staff, and alumni in learning about global health issues. It would involve students in service and community development projects related to global health, including work in Peru and addressing the problems of parasites and disease there.

Toward the end of his time in Peru, Wetzel said he was meeting with village leaders and discussing the problems they face and the program Wetzel hopes to develop. He recalled that "one of the men came up to me and said, ‘We are asking for your mercy.’"

Read Professor Wetzel's blog from his time in Peru here.

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