I am the team member that has been MIA due to “extended calls” recently (see Eric Ams’ blog). Although the negative aspects of my illness are numerous – e.g., being unable to attend meetings, not going on after-work excursions, sleep deprivation, and being prevented from my usual 3 hour 350 lbs. squat and dumbbell workout – certainly the silver lining in my condition has to be the cultural experience of visiting a medical clinic in the outskirts of Accra.
I went to a private clinic because we were told that the local public hospital was not of high standard and it would take too long to receive treatment. Thus, Ams and I took a taxi to the St. Moses Clinic in Pokause, which is one kilometer away from Fise, our current residence. Situated behind a house, a few shacks and a large sinkhole, the clinic was a two story concrete structure with dilapidated white paint. Under a 9 square meter unenclosed roof, sat close to 30 people, most of whom were women. As expected, Ams and I were the only “brunis,” or white people.
Observing the clinic and its operations gave insight into the medical options available in our area. Although the toilet didn’t function, and there appeared to be only one doctor on site, the care given to me was enough to get me back on my feet. Some inefficiency in communication was apparent and there certainly was a thick bureaucracy (perhaps not so different from the US!). But for the time being the medical attention was suitable for my needs and surprisingly affordable; I paid a total of 28 Ghanaian cedis, or about 18 USD for administration of an IV of saline solution and a supply of metronidozole and tetracycline.
Initially, I thought my ill condition could be due to eating moringa seeds – we have been told that moringa seeds may act as a laxative – but it is highly unlikely that it is the cause of my gastrointestinal problems because they have been so severe. Nevertheless, I do not intend to eat moringa seeds for the foreseeable future (but I will be drinking moringa tea and using moringa biodiesel in my car).
On a final note, my nickname here is “Red.” It has been useful to use this name since I share the same first name as Ams. The name is also fitting because of my red hair and beard; it is even more appropriate now since my face is getting sunburned due to its heightened sensitivity caused by the tetracycline.