West African Memories – Burkina Faso and Malaria
Howdy again. Just for one little day I’m taking a break from the Central Asia theme and returning to the ongoing story of my time in West Africa in 2006, reviewing my old blog entries and reacting to reading them again. And we’re at the tipping point today, when I contracted malaria. Actually it’s been a bit hard reading this back to be honest with you! But, nevertheless let’s go back to West Africa in 2006, it had been a week since I had last posted from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso…
Friday, February 17, 2006
no that was not the outside temperature, that was my temperature. I know i havent posted in a while, ive been in hospital with (probably) malaria. a few days back the temperature begin to rise and a fever set in. I was in Banfora, where id taken an interesting tour earlier in the day with little clue as to what was coming next.
So anyways i was given some medication, and had a pretty dreadful night of little sleep. I wenr back for tests the next day and they came negative, but with the fever the doctors seemed sure it was malaria. I got so weak i could sit anymore with fever, and before i knew it I was on a bed.
It was pretty grim as hospitals go. The doctors dont seem to have those armstraps when taking injections and attaching drips, so they tied a rubber glove around my right arm and proceeded to miss the vein altogether which rather smarted.
He returned with a light and with help of another PATIENT he got it right. Later in the evening another doctor managed to break two syringes (one not even out of the packet) and add the wrong mixture to the saline drip and had to throw it out. Im not sure what was worse – the malaria or the hospital treatment. Then they locked the toilet during the night. Well that was pretty grim too….
so been recovering and moved on to Bobo Diolasso not sure if ill be heading to europe really soon or what just yet;… won’t be much more than a week away though.
THOUGHTS: Well sir. Yes sir. This was a bit of a crisis point wasn’t it? In reflection I should have taken a bunch of photos in the hospital, but you know I simply didn’t think of it. It was a pretty sobering experience. I didn’t post from Banfora, so there’s a fair bit of stuff I didn’t write about at the time. The day the fever came on I was actually having a really good day, if not the best day of the whole trip. I remember I had a great steak when suddenly I started coughing. I went to an outdoor bar with a Czech couple I had met, and suddenly the fever came on from nowhere as I coughed.
I went to the hospital and got the drugs, but it was the next day I was admitted. I was staying in a little guesthouse the room was basically half a small hut. It heated up like crazy in the day time, the lighting was exceptionally dim. The floor was plain concrete. I had to walk over a kilometre with fever to the hospital. There was an internet place there but it was awfully slow and I only had time for emails.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
im feeling so so folks…. not sure if I’ll move on tomorrow or not, will wait and see how and if i sleep. Walked around the city of Bobo-Dioulosso today until I couldnt anymore and just collapsed in bed. Read a bit too. Pity I’m not 100 per cent as I’d have to say that this is the nicest city I’ve been to on the trip. Lots of trees, a great mud-sahlien style mosque, even a small but interesting museum. The museums in West Africa that I’ve seen have been pretty good. Just very under patronised.
There’s a curious thing around Burkina Faso though, especially in Banfora but also here to a smaller extent. The kids mainly refer to whites as ‘Les blanches’ which is, white in French. But they say it at you as you walk past…. Why and with what motive I’m not sure. It’s very unsettling after a while… I already knew I was white. And these places have plenty of expats and a few tourists, actually more here than I’ve seen in any other country which is surprising.
Then there’s guides. You don’t really need one, and the information they give you is well…. obvious anyways. I just had one follow me 500 metres down the street to this internet cafe. I said kindly I wasn’t interested, explained I was leaving tomorrow, and still he hung around the door after I was inside. People don’t take no for an answer and it gets exhausting. Then you have to balance it out with the poverty here. But those that seem really poor don’t hassle you, and i generally give a few francs to.
Oh well, guess I won’t be in Africa much longer, and they’ll be some serious reflecting to do…….
THOUGHTS: Well, there you have it. This was actually my last post from Africa in this trip. I spent at least another 8-9 days in Burkina Faso before flying out to Paris and then home the following day. And there will be more on that next week. However from this point on I barely had the energy nor the chance to post when I was there. There was a lot of time spent in hospitals and when I was out, I had very little chance to access the internet.
I DID try to leave Bobo-Diolosso the day after this post, but failed. I was on a bus and had to get off because I was just feeling so sick. Sadly Bobo holds some pretty crappy memories for me, although I did get out to see parts of the town. What I neglected to mention here was that I was having great difficulty swallowing – I had another infection on top of my malaria. It got to the point where I was barely eating anything. I had a nice little hotel room, but would wake with panic attacks during sleep.
Someone asked if I ever got lonely in Africa, and I said ‘not really’, but that’s not true on reflection. When in Bobo-Diolosso I was extremely lonely. I coulda killed for a friend. I was as low as I’ve ever been whilst travelling, the only plus side was that I got out of there in the end.
There’s a lot more to reflect on, and I’m not sure how I will approach it but it will be coming next week. I wrote a lot after getting home, not sure how much of that I will use though. Hope you are well and having a relaxing weekend wherever you are – May the Journey Never End!