Sunday, June 14, 2009

Traveling and Malaria

To my incredible disbelief today is June 10th! Forty weeks down
now and just three to go, my oh my time has flown by. These past nine
months have certainly been an amazing chunk of my life and I am without a
tinge of regret glad that I chose to come here. That said, I am so very
excited to be coming home and I cannot wait to talk to many of you face to
face about the experiences I have had here. Alright, well on to today's
subject, two things that took up much of my time in April and May, traveling
and malaria.
First I will get the unpleasant out of the way. After 8 1/2 months in
Ghana I was pretty cockily confident that my good health was going to get me
through these ten months without having to deal with malaria. WRONG. The
nasty little bug was merely waiting until I least expected it to hit me.
Before coming to Ghana and also prior to getting it, malaria was of course
one of the aspects to African life that I hoped to avoid, but as a precursor
let me just say that malaria was not quite as unpleasant as I thought it
would be. It still wasn't fun though. The first signs of the sickness were
a very painful headache and even worse pains in my neck that made it so that
I couldn't really turn my head. Next followed a really lovely cycle between
burning hot fever accompanied by fountain like sweating and then arctic like
chills. When the fever and chills hit I thought that a trip to the hospital
would probably be a wise idea. At the hospital the Doctor, who was a very
kind and caring man I should mention, diagnosed me with malaria after I had
barely let out the words "headache" and "fever" ( unfortunately I imagine
that even if a person were to only have a common fever or flue of some sort
they would still be diagnosed with malaria here). After the diagnosis he
sent me to a nurse who proceeded to give me two lovely shots in the buttocks
as well as prescribing me several anti-malarial drugs. The shots took
effect very quickly, first by completely numbing my left butt cheek and
giving me a lovely walk that would have without a doubt earned a place in
the "Ministry of Funny Walks" episode of Monty Python, and more importantly
by all but making my fever and chills disappear. From that point on effects
of the malaria lasted for almost a week more, but not nearly so bad as
before my visit to the hospital. I had some odd little occurrences such as
horrible stabbing chest pains that woke me up terrified in the middle of one
night (the thought of having a serious and sudden health ailment here in
Sunyani is scary because the hospital really couldn't handle such an event),
as well as terribly uncomfortable and itchy rashes that appeared at night
for several days. All in all it was not a terribly fun spell of time, and
one that sapped a great amount of energy and appetite, but I suppose, just
another African Experience to cross off of my list.
Now on to the fun! Traveling. Roaming about Ghana has without a doubt
been the fun factor for me during my time here. Life here in Sunyani
has been educational, eye opening, it has made me a more patient and
tolerant person I believe, but to be honest, a lot of the time it
hasn't been all that fun, so I am very happy that through traveling I
have been able to have some much needed good times. To begin with,
let me just say that I am going give a more detailed report on my
specific trips through a photo entry on my blog,
www.wesfinger.blogspot.com, so please check for that next week around
Tuesday or Wednesday. For today though, I want to comment on the ease
of traveling in Ghana. Not only is there a great public bus system
that reaches to almost every corner of the country, and if a bus
doesn't work out there are always tro tros (big vans, cheap but not so
safe) and taxis, but there are also cheap and usually comfortable
hotels and guest houses in every town and city and of course food
stalls everywhere. You can easily travel for four or five days for
under 200 Ghana Cedis, the equivalent of $135, which I doubt is
possible in any first world country. And for that 200 Ghana cedis,
you are not getting a cheap, bare bones experience. In Ghana there is
so much to see, beautiful coastlines, rain forests, African animals
galore, bustling cities full of life and colorful culture, and much
more. There are a few downsides, such as poorly maintained roads that
making getting around a bit tough, but nothing that has discouraged me
from traveling. So far I have been on five wonderful trips,and I can
honestly say that in the many days of travel I have had I have not had
a single unpleasant day and barely any situations that I would label
as more than slightly unpleasant.

1 comment:

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