Today at school as I was getting ready to leave (around 9:30 AM because I didn’t have an exam today) I noticed that one of the kids wasn’t okay… He’s normally all smiles whenever I see him and he has two younger brothers, Christian and Luis, and a sister, Eunice. I asked him what was wrong and he told me his head was spinning so I took him to the teacher’s office to sit and then went to ask what I was supposed to do and they told me to take him to the headmaster so that we did. We walk in to the headmaster’s office and I tell him that Jackson’s head really hurt and he also said his stomach hurt so he pulled two pills out and a water sachet and gave it to him. Later when I called one of the other volunteers working in the hospital I asked what paramol was because that’s what the child was given, she said it was like a vitamin. Seriously? What is that going to do? This kid was sick. He had serious chills and was shaking.\
I decided I wasn’t going to sit there and wait for the Headmaster to get it together and told his teacher I was taking him to the doctor and then home. I also asked one of the other teachers to make sure his siblings got on the right trotro to get home because they live quite far away from the school. We go to the clinic in Pokuase (where I live) and wait… Eventually we get in and the nurse weighs him, gathers other information and takes his temperature. He didn’t have a fever so she said she was going to do a test to see if he had a malaria parasite. Most of the time doctors/nurses here just listen to the symptoms and diagnose malaria so I wasn’t sure what a test was going to entail until she opens up three different packages, one of them revealing a razor blade. I soon realized it was similar to a blood sugar test or the one before you give blood to determine if your iron is high enough… She says something to the boy in Twi and then I say, “This is probably going to hurt…” and right as I’m saying it she pokes him and the look on his face was horrendous. I just grabbed his hand and squeezed it—I’m not sure it helped too much but it made me feel better.
Sure enough, poor little Jackson had malaria. Uncomplicated Malaria—whatever that means.
The nurse gave him three different medicines and explained the dosages to me. He really wanted to go back to school to meet his sister and brothers, but I wasn’t sure that if he went back and took the medicine with him it would make it home so I wasn’t taking any chances. We got some lunch. Rice and beans for me and when I asked him what he wanted he said just rice… I asked the woman what meat she had and she opened a pot and there was the front half of a fish, eyes still attached, covered in a red sauce—I’m pretty sure my face scared the woman…
The kid got the fish. Ew.
It took two trotros to get to Jackson’s house and then a fifteen minute walk. Can you imagine being 12 and having three other siblings with you and doing that EVERYDAY?
Only his Dad spoke English so I explained what the nurse said to him. He was extremely nice. The entire family (aunts, uncles, and cousins) were all there as well. It was neat.
Eventually I made it back to ACP and sat down for a coke.