BEFORE THE TRIP

Community Service project in Livingstone, Zambia

Zambia, also called "The real Africa" (hence the name of my blog), is located in Southern Africa right under DR Congo. The city I will be staying in is Livingstone, it borders to Zimbabwe and Botswana. It is a huge tourism centre for the Victoria Falls and its population is approximately 136,879. 

The project I decided to do is Teaching & Community where I will be an assistant teacher in schools for children. In the afternoons there are a few other activities the volunteers help out with, which are: After school club, Reading club and Art club. The After school club is for children who are forced to grow up too quickly, this activity gives the kids the opportunity to experience what childhood should really be like. Such as doing different sports, colouring, and just interacting with each other and having fun.

Even though I will be living in one of the poorest countries in the world, I'll be living quite comfortably, theres even clean water from the taps (and I've heard they have wifi!). There's a guard outside the accommodation 24/7 so I won't have to worry about getting eaten by lions in the night (MOM!). 


Vaccination

So I've just started my vaccination "process", which means I still have a few shots to go and a few (possible) side effects to experience. I will be traveling to Zambia but also to South Africa for a one week safari, and possibly another country, maybe Botswana (which is superclose to Livingstone). The recommended AND required vaccinations are:

  • - Hepatit A+B (Twinrix) At the moment I've recieved shots 1 of 2 before I leave for Africa and shot nr 3 is for when I come back from my trip. (You only have to do this vaccination once in your lifetime and then you're all set for the next 30 years or so)
  • - Yellow fever is required if you travel between countries who have yellow fever, right now it's not required for Zambia or South Africa, but its better to be safe than sorry.
  • - Cholera and Typhoid vaccines are both oral vaccines, so I'll have to drink it (yum..)
  • - And arguably the most important one is Malaria. There isn't a vaccine for Malaria but there are Malariaprofylax which you have to take once a week. The pills dont work entirely on their own, you'll also have to have mosquito nets during the night and use insect repellent during the day.
  • Which antimalarial medicin should I take? I went to a vaccination agency and almost right away they suck a needle in my arm with the first shot of Twinrix (Hebatit A+B shot). They also gave me a malariapill called Lariam to try at home. There is some controversy with Lariam because of the superscary side effects which can occure. The vaccination lady told me that I would possibly experience nightmares for a week and this is the most common side effect. Well nightmares aren't that bad because they're not real (right??). But there is this site called google and If you want a real horror story read about Lariam on there. Which I did :). The side effects listed on the official drug site in Sweden are pretty scary. Words like depression, anxiety, suicide (!!), panic attacks, hallucinations come up. The alternative pill is Malarone, and the side effects aren't nearly as scary, but its more expensive. So if for some reason the Lariam pill gives me more than just nightmares I'll have to switch to Malarone. I took the Lariam pill and I haven't had any nightmares yet (its been one night). We shall see if the horrifying google warnings are right or if I'm out of the woods. OF COURSE the side effects might not happen to me but can happen to someone else, I'm not a doctor but I think that the body reacts in different ways to different things. 

- Dr. Shaina


Update!

No side-effects from the malaria prohylaxis Lariam after one week! This means I will start taking them again one week before I departure. I also got the Cholera and Typhoid vaccine and will take them 3-4 weeks before I leave. I also did my second Twinrix (Hepatit) shot and yellow fever shot this week. AND I had the opportunity to buy a mosquito net from the vaccination agency.