going to africa - the logistics

In the last few weeks, my trip to Burkina Faso has become very real.  More than just I'm going to Africa in January.  A couple of weeks ago, Dr. McCreary had me and the other nurse who is going with her over for breakfast to talk details.  

That relieved a lot of anxiety for me and allowed me to simply be excited about this trip.  We looked at some photos, talked about what we would be doing and how things ran at the clinic, where we would be staying, and details about getting there.  

The next steps involved getting the necessary vaccinations.  Yellow fever is the only vaccine required to enter the country, but there are several other vaccines that are recommended for travel to that part of the world: Hepatitis A and B, polio, meningococcal, tetanus, and typhoid.  Fortunately, I had Hep A and B prior to going to nursing school.  The rest however, I had to get either for the first time or get boosters.  

I made an appointment at a local clinic that specializes in travel medicine.  I ended up talking to the doctor for over an hour about what I should and shouldn't get as well as malaria prophylaxis and any other medications I might need while gone.  We decided on five (!) vaccines (typhoid, yellow fever, polio booster, TDaP, and a meningococcal booster), the right kind of malaria pills, and antibiotics for travelers diarrhea.  

We also decided that since I tend to react strongly to the TB test I have to get every year, that maybe we should do one vaccine per arm and I could come back and get the rest at a later time.  That way, if I had a reaction to one, we would know what it was and be aware for the future.  Good thing too, because my tetanus shot made my body rather angry...

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Now I have all the required documents to apply for my visa, which I will be doing this week.  

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I also purchased our plane tickets last night.  I'm surprised that my credit card company has not called me yet to ask me to verify charges.  They were rather expensive.  However, we were able to work in a two day layover in Chicago where we can visit my grandma.  I think this will be a nice way to split up almost 10,000 and 36 hours of traveling.  

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We still have to work on gathering supplies that we need to take with us as well as figuring out how to pack all of it.

Also, if you are interested in donating to this trip, please email me (martha.rosenstein@gmail.com)!  I previously mentioned donating through Alaska Medical Missions, which you can still do, but know that your donation will not go to our trip or the McCreary Foundation.  I am working on setting up a website for the McCreary Foundation, but in the mean time, get in touch with me and I will share with you how to donate.

Thank you for all of your interest and support in this adventure!

Martha Rosenstein, FNPtravel