Mission Rabies Ghana – Chapter 13: Oyoko

Our assignment this morning was a region named Oyoko.  It’s a small farming community, about a 40 minute drive from our base.  We had five of us, and Adusei said he was feeling a bit under the weather, so the plan was to split up into two groups.  Adusei and I would staff the static clinic, while Charlotte, our driver (Moses) and the CHO (community health officer) drove around announcing our presence with the megaphone, as well as going door to door to vaccinate dogs at peoples’ homes.  

In this particular farming community, the farms are located in a part of the region that is separate from their homes.  This means that in the morning, most of the residents are not home; they are out doing farm work because it’s the coolest time of the day.  So the five of us manned the static clinic until around noon.  At noon, they said, the farmers and their families would be returning back to their homes and we’d have our best chance of vaccinating.

The first part of the morning had a burst of activity, and the five of us were kept pretty busy.

I thought this kid with the basket on his head was carrying some kind of supplies or food.  

As you can see, I was wrong.

The basket/bucket/wheelbarrow full of puppies has become a common sight during my time here, but it never gets boring or old. Puppies are the best.  We vaccinated all of them, and a few more adult dogs. 

It tends to be feast or famine at these static clinics.  In one half hour stretch, we can see 20 dogs, and then in the next half hour, we get total silence.  This was indeed the case this morning.  Fortunately, the quiet period afforded me an opportunity to wander a bit and take some really nice photos.  Oyoko in general, and the little section where we were stationed in particular, is rich in visual impact.  The dilapidated buildings had a quiet strength to them. 

I felt like I was in an old Western movie, as the terrain resembled the wild west in the 1800s.

I spotted an interesting doorway, and I was setting up to take a photo of it, a chicken came through the door and perched next to the top step.

A little further down the road, I saw a small shirtless boy walking alone down the dusty street, past the crumbling buildings.

There are many partially constructed buildings all over Ghana. I spotted a boy sitting on the ledge of what was eventually going to be a window, in one of these half-completed buildings.

I went over to him and gestured that I’d like to take his photo, and he briefly nodded and just sat there and stared at the camera. 

Around noon, the others left to do the door-to-door work, while Adusei held down the fort.  During the two hours that they were gone, he and I vaccinated only one dog.  When the team came back, they reported vaccinating only about five or six dogs.  Yesterday we were vaccinating non-stop. It can really vary from village to village.

I reported to Jo that we had completed our area, and she told us to go to area 6-6 on our map, which is a community called Adampapa.  It took a while to get there.  Once we were there, we only really had about 30 minutes to go door-to-door before we’d have to head back to base camp, however, at every house we visited, there were dogs. Lots of puppies. 

Although we should have left the area around 4:35 or 4:40, we lingered until around 5:15, because of the demand.  We were the last team to arrive back at the base, and I didn’t arrive back at the hotel until about 6:30, making for one really long 12-hour day.  Hopefully we’ll go back to this area tomorrow, because there were still a lot of homes to visit, and judging by our short time there today, there are a lot of dogs in this community.  

Hard to believe that this mission ends in two days. 


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