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Uploaded:2020-07-21
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Learn more about our project to help Partners in Health radically reduce maternal mortality in Sierra Leone: https://secure.pih.org/a/maternal-health-sierra-leone
You can also follow PIH Sierra Leone's work via their YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4rzBkrXLgO5WMjULV880mQ/featured) and audio updates: https://pihsierraleone.captivate.fm/listen or on their You

p.s. If you're able to donate $2,000 or more to this effort, please join our matching fund: https://secure.pih.org/a/be-the-match-for-sierra-leone

Clint Smith's poem "When People Say We Have Made It through Worse Before" https://readwildness.com/19/smith-people

Online nerdfighter communities: https://nerdfighteria.com/online-nerdfighter-communities

Hank Green's New York Times Bestselling novel A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor: https://hankgreen.com/

In which John brings back Question Tuesday to discuss silver linings, the pandemic, worries, vacations, our new owl overlords, and more.


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Good morning Hank, it's Tuesday. It's question Tuesday, the day that I answer real questions from real Nerfighters, so let's get right to it.

Favorite creature of the land, sea, and sky?
Humans, humans who are currently swimming, and owls.

Did you see that A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor is a New York Times Bestseller?
I did! Hank, congratulations!

What are your thoughts on finding silver linings in times of global distress?
I think we need silver linings in hard times, and that joyful experiences should still be joyful, and that good news should be sought and welcomed and celebrated. What I'm suspicious of is attempts to make silver linings out of suffering itself, especially other people's suffering. That reminds me of this great Clint Hill Smith poem that I'll link to below. It's called "When people say,
'we have made it through worse before' " and it begins "all I hear is the wind slapping against the gravestones of those who did not make it."

When was the last time you hugged someone, not in your immediate family?
March 11th, and it was Hank.

What's your morning routine and would you recommend it?
Wake up, put on clothes, brush my teeth, doom scroll through COVID news for forty-five minutes - I, I, I wouldn't recommend it.

Which lyric in "All Star" is your favorite?
I don't know why people keep asking me about this 19-year-old pop song, it's very weird, but anyway my favorite lyric in it is probably "The years start coming and they don't stop coming". I could listen to that for, like, ten hours. By which I mean I really could listen to that for ten hours.

What are owls plotting when they stare at us with those big eyes?
Uhh, I for one will welcome our new owl overlords. I will be so excited when the owls announce that they're just taking over because they don't like the way that we've handled all this. 

What's going on with the project in Sierra Leone?
A lot. For those who don't know, we're helping support Partners in Health and the Sierra Leonian Ministry of Health in a multi-year project to strengthen the healthcare system with a focus around maternal mortality.
You can learn more, I'm bad at pointing. But obviously Covid-19 is a huge challenge to healthcare systems around the world, like at Koidu Government Hospital in Sierra Leone - which PIH helps support - the emergency department had to close for a time because some healthcare workers contracted Covid-19, which meant that others had to self-isolate, and there were no healthcare workers to replace them. But the emergency department is back up and running and seeing lots of patients and PIH has been deeply involved in contact tracing and screening efforts around Sierra Leone and cases overall are down 18 percent from their peak. PIH Sierra Leone has a lot of expertise when it comes to contact tracing, and that's been vital not just in Sierra Leone, but around the world. Like, Partners in Health is heading up the contact tracing program for Massachusetts.
Also in really good news, later this month in Koidu Government Hospital a special baby care unit will open, which will be a huge milestone in providing better care for infants.
So I think there's a lot of encouraging news, but it is also really, really difficult. Like I've heard that seeing healthcare workers in PPE and smelling chlorine can be really triggering for people who have PTSD after surviving the Ebola crisis. And so any effective healthcare response has to include mental healthcare, and real listening, and reassurance. As Doctor Martin Bettingo said of the approach to care during this crisis, "kindness, patience, information, empathy, empathy, empathy."
In terms of our community's response, it's been incredible. In fact, donations have continued to go up every month, even amid everything, so thank you. Uh, you can learn more at PIH.org/HankandJohn

How does it feel now that you can find Wallet Island on Google Maps?
Really lovely. It would be a wonderful coda to my book Paper Towns if a place that only exists sometimes became real because it was named on a map.

How do you feel about schools reopening?
Worried.

What's your most common quarantine activity?
Oh, worrying. There's not even a close second. 

John, how does it feel to know your brother is TikTok famous?
Uh, mostly good, but a little worrying.

Are you writing another book?
I am.

How do I make friends online?
I recommend online Nerdfighter communities - links in the dooblydoo.

Are you and Hank ever going to use that vacation time there was a poll about over a year ago?
Yes. So last year, Nerdfighteria voted to give us each three weeks of vacation per year. I have not used much of that vacation, but I am gonna take next week off, because my brain requires it. I hope that's okay.

Hank, congratulations again on A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor hitting the New York Times Bestseller list. I will see you on Friday, unless you also need to take vacation, which is fine.