In the blood
Trip Start Sep 22, 2005
41Trip End Dec 19, 2007
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*This edition is brought to you courtesy of the PCV husband. Sayward has written the last two entries and it's my turn at bat. Plus, I'm the one that tested positive for malaria - and that's what brings us to Accra. But before we go into to that, let's rewind and cover the material since the last entry. So since August 9...
Trying to find a good formula for how long to stay in Damanko vs. Sibi Hilltop has been an ongoing problem. In Ghana, if you move around or travel frequently from your hometown it's a matter of stability. So its not uncommon to hear people calling us "unstable." We try not to get offended. Recently we switched to 2-week intervals and have found it to be relatively successful
While in Damanko we managed to keep ourselves busy with Guinea Worm eradication and soy milk production activities. On market day Sayward hosted a soy milk demonstration at the chief's palace with free taste tests and the day before she held a meeting at the house with ~30 women to plan a Soy Flour Demonstration Day. The demo will be led by a Nutrition Officer from Nkwanta who teaches the women how to add soy flour to their local dishes making them more nutritious. Although the meeting was an exercise in patience, we'll chalk it up as a success. The women selected the dishes they will make and plan to find four friends to join their cooking group. The demo was scheduled for Sept 6 at one of primary schools, and knowing Ghana it probably didn't go as planned but as long as the women learned something and had fun doing it - that's all we care about. Sayward has also been keeping her hands full with planning the 2006 Peace Corps HIV/AIDS Bike Ride, scheduled to take place in our district this coming January
I'm also working on a couple of new projects: (1) I started organizing groups for a Village Bicycle Project in Damanko, as well as Sibi. A small NGO by the same name, VBP, organizes shipments of used - but still in good quality - bicycles to come to Ghana. Then they work with PCVs to organize workshops to teach marginalized groups of people about bicycle repair and offer them a bike at a greatly reduced price. Old mountain bikes go for 260,000 cedis, or roughly $30. (2) I've been working with a man from the WatSan Committee in Damanko to do a household latrine project in the community. So far we have 40 people signed up, and we've written an application for a Small Project Assistance (SPA) grant to cover 43% of the project's costs. The other 57% will be contributed in-kind by each household in the form of sand, stones, water, and labor (digging the pit & building the superstructure). Because the SPA grant is provided through a USAID-Peace Corps partnership the funding needs to be allocated by the end of the US fiscal year. So things are moving pretty fast for a development project. I'll keep you posted
The problem cooking with propane is that you never know when it's going to run out, and usually its at an inopportune time. This time we were just about to cook some eggs for breakfast when it died. So I rode my bike back to Sibi Hilltop, disconnected our propane tank there, strapped it on the back of my bike and headed back to Damanko. However, that left us with an empty tank in Sibi. So on our next trip to Nkwanta we decided to take a trip down to HoHoe to fill the tank and then travel on to a beautiful rainforest area in the mountains between Ho and HoHoe to sight see. We started out by heading to Logba Alekpeti, and since it was market day, we didn't have a problem getting a ride to Logba Tota, a clean little town perched on the side of a mountain with a great view of prevailing Mt
And now for my story about malaria... While staying in Sibi Hilltop I had a meeting for which I had to bike to Damanko in the morning on Monday 8/27. After I took a bath to cool off from the morning ride, I started shivering and couldn't get warm again. (Mind you this is Africa and you just don't get cold here.) I curled up in bed with a sheet over me and nodded off for an hour. Then the fever started, and I perused my Peace Corps Health Handbook to feed my fears. According to the book as soon as malaria symptoms occur (chills, fever, headache, body pains) - and I had them all - you're supposed to prepare a blood smear and send it to Accra for them to test. I had every intention of doing just that but I've never been one for stabbing myself with anything in order to draw blood (sorry Mom) and I didn't do it quite hard enough. For the blood smear you need an ample amount, and even the few drops I could squeeze out made me nauseous enough to almost pass out. Fortunately I didn't, but I had ruined the two slides from the malaria kit. I called my Peace Corps Medical Officer and she told me to assume it was malaria. I started taking our malarial treatment med "Coartem" but kept having the symptoms every day. After finishing the regimen of medication my PCMO asked me to get a blood test and stool sample analysis from our district hospital. By this time the headaches were becoming very painful, and I was weak and didn't feel like eating
Anywho, that's enough info for tonight... Sayward's parents are coming to visit from Sept 19-28 and we're looking forward to having them in the country for a little while! So we'll be in Accra again before you know it. Take care and God Bless. And hey, don't forget bug spray... Mosquitos can be vicious.
Peace & Love,
Chris and Sayward
PS - Thanks to Jenny Mc, Holly and Leslie for the wonderful packages. You folks are really creative sometimes! And we received some lovely cards/letters from Grandma C and Ash. Watch your mailboxes for a reply from us soon. Until then, keep doing what you're doing.
PPS - What in the world is up with the Tigers this year?