Trip Back from Burkina Faso and a Little Catch Up

I wake up before the sun rises so that way I have enough time to explore the area in the morning time and still make it to my bus by 07:00. I get another shower, just because I paid for it, so why not. I pack all my stuff up right as I can see light breaking through my window. I leave the place and go to the front desk to turn in my key. There is no attendant behind the desk, but there are two men on the lobby couches fast asleep. I shuffle my feet loudly and clear my throat just loud enough to get one of them to wake up. Apparently they’re the hotel staff because he comes over to the desk to deal with me. This is much different from the hotels I’m used to back home, especially ones of the same luxury. I take the same route as last night and head to the right. There is a woman serving some kind of food out of a cart and I immediately ask her for some. I decide to skip the words and just pretend like I’m to tired to want to talk. I point at some of the food and starts to serve. She grabs a baguette that cut like an open sub sandwich and starts to load some kind of meat in the middle with other veggies covered in a lot of sauce. The bread is big enough to absorb the sauce and still stay crunchy on the outside, but not too much bread to overwhelm the rest of the food. This is by far the best breakfast I’ve had off the street since being here. The taste and crunch and freshness are out-of-this-world good. I have to say there is no competition between the Burkina food and Ghana, sorry Ghana but you lose by a long shot. I walk down the street trying not to be too obvious with how much I’m thoroughly enjoying this treat. I don’t walk as far because I want to make sure I get plenty of time to walk through the main part of the road.

 When I get back to the main group of vendors the first one immediately catches my attention. The woman is cooking some kind of bread in a big vat of oil. I get one and when I take a bite I realize it’s a fried croissant. The outside is crispy like a donut and the inside soft and buttery like a croissant. Again, another point for Burkina in the food department. I see a woman serving koko and kosi and I have to go over and try the kind from another culture. I want to be the koko and kosi connoisseur by the time I’m done with my traveling around West Africa. She gives me a bowl and spoon to eat it with. I’m surprised because I’m used to just sucking the koko out of the bag and eating the kosi with my hands. She doesn’t give me any kosi and I point to it and start to say me pe and then realize these people don’t know Twi. She gest the gesture and takes the kosi and crushes it up in her hand and dumps the crumps into the kosi. With almost the same reaction I had when they added the mayonnaise; I catch my self and realize this is just a different way of enjoying the same thing. All the seats are taken by people over stretching and no one makes room for me to sit, so I take the bowl and stand next to one of the close shops, further back from the road. See, this is where Ghana has Burkina beat. A Ghanaian would gladly get up to give me their seat or at least scoot over and offer me piece of the bench to sit on, even if it made them a little bit uncomfortable. As good as the food is, I much prefer the genuine and generous people over any French food. I don’t mind because this makes me finish my food faster so I can continue to walk down and look for more food to try. There’s not much else other than the usual rice and stew that you can get anywhere in Ghana. I’m really searching for more pastries. The shop that I went in yesterday was closed today and I’m sure it will open right around 8, when the bus is leaving. I get to the bus station and get a ticket and reflect on my short experience I just had in Waga. I really didn’t get to see much other than this one street and the market, where I first arrived. I think my experience would have been a lot different if I could speak French and ask more questions. The people didn’t really look much different from those I’ve seen in Ghana. However, they did seem much more with the French progressive scene for music and fashion, where Ghana is kind of in it’s own world and mostly copying the U.S. I think. I hear some U.S. music in Ghana, but for the most part it’s their own music, which I really respect and enjoy to hear. In Burkina I could tell that the artists were not from around here and the fashion didn’t seem to have the same West African feel. It seemed more European. I didn’t get to see many buildings, but they looked pretty much like those in Ghana, except for the exceptionally nice looking huts that I noted earlier. Well my Burkina visa lasts for another three months and I will need to renew my visa in 60 days from today when I enter Ghana. I’ll make sure to come back here with some more time to explore and get to know the culture. The bus arrives an hour late at 09:00, I could probably still have run and gotten pastries, but I didn’t want to push it and miss the bus and that will just be another reason to come back here soon.

 I left the bus station at 09:00 and didn’t arrive in Tamale until 19:00. From there I caught a bus that didn’t leave until 21:00. That means I got back into Kumasi at 03:30 on Saturday. Not in the best mood in the world I avoided the harassing taxi drivers and found my way home. From there I just want to catch up the last few weeks and maybe it will explain a little bit about why I’m so far behind on this blog.

 Well, some background first. For the past month I’ve had reoccurring stomach problems, some that I’ve mentioned here and some that I skipped over. When I got back in Antoa Saturday night, they decided to come back again, but with a vengeance. All night I was kept up and the next morning I had some blood in my stool. Freaked out a little bit I woke the nurse, that I live with, up and told her. She said we would have to wait until Sunday until the clinic opened where they can do lab tests. Sunday went with the same problems, but I took some Imodium to help the diarrhea or the running as they say in Ghanaian English. The running didn’t stop and I took the rest of the Imodium. That just stop everything for the rest of the day and I tried to sleep it all off. I woke up Monday, not much better. On Tuesday I was still running. I told Fad, the nurse, right as Daniel, the Doctor, was getting home. He walked with me to the clinic and they admitted me for treatment.

 It was kind of odd because I know all the nurses there and I’ve visited a few times, but never as one of their patients. They signed me up and took me back to the beds where they treat the patients. The walls were freshly painted, but you could tell everything in the room was pretty old and probably given, with hesitation, by the government. Daniel came into the room and told me he needs to hook up an IV and give me some drugs intravenously. I felt a bit embarrassed because while my stomach hurt a bit, I didn’t feel any of this justified having an IV. He took out a needle that must have been three inches long. He grabbed my hand and for some reason skipped the alcohol swap part of the deal and just stuck it into my hand. It really didn’t hurt when it first entered. Then he pushed the needle about two inches into my hand and did something that got my attention real quickly. It was a sharp pain followed by an intense aching. The pain didn’t come from where the needle entered though. It came from where the needle ended, down by where my wrist bends, about two inches from the point of the needle entering the skin. He started the drip and took some other drugs in a device that had a plastic plunger that he hooked up to the middle of the IV. He pushed down on the plunger at an alarming rate and shot all of it at the same time. I could actually feel the liquid going into my hand and I swear it felt like my veins were bulging from being overflowed. That added a nice sensation to the needle wiggling down in my wrist. Somehow I think I would rather be in my bed right about now. Or at least next time I’ll go to an actual hospital. They left me there and I pulled out my book to read and get my mind off of the whole situation. Today is Tuesday and I’m counting down the minutes until I my program started. I called one of the tutors and had him go and buy the snack and waters and told him I probably wouldn’t be showing up today.

 Around 11, a nurse came in to take off the IV and let me rest. When she pulled out the needle of my hand blood started to shoot out of either my hand or the needle, I’m not sure because I couldn’t bear to look. I finally mustered the courage to look again and could see blood all over my hand and on the sheets. Okay, now I’m definitely not coming back here. She left and told me to rest. I sat there for another hour until about 12, before I got impatient and walked to the front desk. I told them I’m better and I want to get on with the day. The nurse, so graceful with needles, asked me for 35 Cedis for the visit. I was surprised that it was only 35 Cedis to be seen and treated with all of those drugs. I gave her the money. Fad came out with 10 Cedis and gave me back the money. She knows I’m not paid much and don’t have too much extra money so I appreciated her concern. Then she gave me a mountain of drugs to continue taking. Apparently the 35 Cedis is for all these drugs. I get back home at 12:30 with some food and take the drugs and a little bit of food. I left at 12:45, still determined to make it to my program on time. I called them to tell them I’m coming and see how they were doing getting the snacks. Everything was going smoothly and I got to the JHS exactly as they were leaving to walk down the road to the primary. I apologized for being late and we continued with the session.

 That night I took some drugs to kill worms, some to kill malaria, and a few more to get rid of bacteria. I went to the session on Wednesday in Wonoo and felt much better. Then on Thursday I started to feel nausea. It was bearable and I didn’t leave my room the whole day to try to recover further. On Friday, the nausea came back and I had a headache. I couldn’t make it to my program in Antoa on Friday because I felt like I was on the verge of throwing up the whole day. At any point I would have been glad to throw up just to get it over with. It never happened. Saturday, I felt a little better and left for Kumasi to do the SAT tutoring. I was trying to go mind over matter and put it aside for my session that day. I got to where Spencer was holding his session and found of none of my students showed up. Feeling a bit defeated my mind was feeling up to battle the sickness. It came back again and I felt the pain in my stomach, but now mixed with nausea and a headache. I told Spencer and he told me to just go to the hospital on Tech campus. I gave in and went there. I pulled out money in case it was as much money as Spencer said his visit was and after I checked in they only charged me 35 Cedis. That’s better than the 200 that they charged Spencer. I found out why when they just brought me to a doctor, instead of admitting me. The doctor looked like he just graduated high school he was so young. He wrote me a prescription for a very powerful antibacterial.

 After being pin balled around different pharmacies I found one in Kumasi and was charged 105 Cedis for the medicine. I called Spencer to tell him I’m just going to go home from there which was about the same distance and cost to go back to Kentinkrono. I caught the Tro Tro and made it home where I got some food to take with the medicine.

 That takes me to this whole past week. Even the first day after taking the medicine I felt much better. As the week progressed I felt much stronger and could actually eat full meals again. I caught up with work stuff and seeing the people around the town, who where very concerned something happened to me. It was nice to felt missed by the town I have only known for a few months now.

 Two days ago, on Friday, I finished my last pill of the antibiotic. Saturday I had my SAT lessons at Kumaca and taught them about writing the essay for the SAT. Then, yesterday I met with Eva. She’s related to the Janney family and was the one I was introduced to down in Accra when I was left of by Jennifer and spent the day with Eva before she dropped me back at the Janneys. We only chatted for a bit, but it was nice to catch up. I went back home yesterday from Kumasi to continue to catch up on some work stuff from this past week.

 That finally catches me up to today, Sunday. I’ve basically spent most of the day doing Expo stuff and catching up on the blog. Although I’m still worried about my stomach. I don’t think anything is wrong yet, but when I first started having the problems I took Cipro and that only made the symptoms go away for a week before coming back again. I’m really hoping that’s not the case this time.

 This coming week I have a lot to do. The Wonoo program is on it’s last week. That means that I will give them the final test and then the final week we will have the closing ceremony where I will give out awards an announce the scholarship winner for the tutors. I am going to interview the candidate and update everyone with much more about him when the time comes. The Antoa program also probably have it’s last week this coming week. That way the following week, their last week of school, they will be able to show up for the closing ceremony. That’s it for now. I’ll hopefully be much better about the blog this week now that I’m healthy and in a better mood to write about the day. 

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