Preparations for Africa

Yellow fever, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis A and B – these are all the vaccinations I needed for Africa.  The travel clinic also prescribed malaria pills and the antibiotic Cipro,  in case of traveler’s diarrhea, and recommended a comprehensive first aid kit.  The 65-page booklet specially prepared for our trip describes other scourges to avoid – dengue fever, rabies, parasites, opportunistic crime, ATM skimmers, rip tides, lions and sharks.  It provides further helpful information such as the Embassy emergency numbers and advice on travel insurance.

I’ve sprayed my outdoor clothes with insecticide (see photo) which works for 42 days or six washings.  This should help ward off disease-carrying mosquitoes and annoying flies.  If this product does what it’s supposed to, I’ll be spraying all my summer clothes to repel pesky Maryland mosquitoes too.

Packing for safari, town, adventure, and teaching is challenging enough; planning for the different temperatures to be comfortable in equatorial Botswana (high temp = 89) and warm enough in wintry Vryburg (low temp = 30 and no heat in the school; the students wear coats indoors) means my suitcase is full.

Reading travel and geography books about South Africa and Zambia make me realize that, despite all the dire travel warnings, many of the areas we will visit are modern, urban centers with skyscrapers, universities, and clean water.  It is a continent of contrasts. We here in the USA are incredibly lucky. Colonialism and apartheid set up terrible oppression and although some folks live in relative affluence and safety in these cities, millions of other people struggle to survive. The diseases I’ve been vaccinated against, the prophylactic medicines I’m taking, and my overall health and strength mean I have advantages unavailable to the citizens.