life in africa (part 2).

Here is more information about life here in Libreville (see part 1).


Right now Gabon is in the dry season. It is almost always cloudy, but rarely rains. The average temperature in Libreville for June - August is between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit, so it's really not that hot. The rainy season starts in September. I haven't been here during that time (yet).

Libreville is a city of around 800,000 to 900,000 people, and it comes with all of things you'd expect in an urban setting - traffic, crazy taxi drivers, and pollution. In addition, there's little to no regulation or monitoring of diesel or car emissions. And, sometimes, people clear out fields by burning them. So, sometimes it kind of stinks outside.


Before we came to Africa last year, I got several immunizations - Yellow Fever (required for entry into Gabon), Hepatitis A (first of two in the series), Meningococal, and Typhoid - and an updated Tetanus shot. Luckily, most of those vaccines are good for a few years, so I didn't need to complete any more (I had already taken care of the second Hep-A shot earlier in the year. I also take anti-malaria medication (Doxycycline) daily.

The biggest threat, of course, are mosquitoes. We have mosquito screens on all the windows at the house. I have bug spray for my clothing and lotion for my skin that I use most days. Mosquitoes are more of an issue during the wet season and at night. There are also bufudus - tiny bugs that you can't see, but that leave little bites on your skin that itch long after they've gone - but these are more of an issue in the jungle or at Bongolo.

Worms are also a common problem here. As a matter of fact, every patient who comes to the medical clinics at OSPAC gets worm medication, no matter what complaint brings them to the clinic in the first place. So we carefully wash produce, use filtered water, and wash our hands thoroughly before handling food. I also don't walk on the ground outside without shoes (to avoid worms that live just under your skin).

The estimated HIV infection rate in Gabon is between five and ten percent (ranked 14th in the world, according to the CIA World Factbook), so to be safe I also make sure any open cuts are covered with a bandage, especially when I'm going to be spending time at Hope House (at least until we've been able to get HIV tests for all of them).

It all sounds like a lot of extra work and precautions, but it's really not, I promise.

What other things would you like to know?

1 comment:

  1. how are the toilets running these days?


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