West Africa bound!

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deeker

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My wife and I are going to be taking our three boys on a wee bit of an adventure. We're going to volunteer at a small mission hospital in Togo, West Africa for a 6 month stint. We're leaving on April 15th.
The hospital is the 2nd busiest in the country, performing around 600 baby deliveries and 2200 surgeries yearly. They see between 80-100 people daily in clinic. The hospital is open 24 / 7 and has 50 ward beds.

We hope to be able to make lots of day trips to the surrounding area, and neighbouring countries. We'll also be heading to Kenya for a couple of weeks at the end of our time on the continent to do a small safari trip and investigate another hospital (for a possible return opportunity).

Although the internet connection is a little sketchy, I'll still be able to maintain some contact with the rest of the world. If you don't mind some weird and wonderful pictures of some crazy and/or cool vehicles and some different scenery I will try to post about what's going on with us.

We've got a few small details to polish off before we depart, but at this point we have a comfortable amount of time remaining... but things never stay that way for long. And Africa has a way of altering the best laid plans - for better or worse!

Here's a few pictures from when I was there in 2013, just to give you an idea of what things are like.




This old Rover was loaded with people, so the dude had to hang out the back to get a ride.






 

Laughing Otter

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Love Africa...some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet! I spent some time in South Africa as a child and teenager. I was also in East Africa in Somalia in both Operation Gothic Serpent and Operation Restore Hope...I served in 9th PSYOP (Psychological Operations) Battalion assigned to the 2nd Brigade 10th Mountain Division. Then in 2006 took my late wife there for vacation. We hit Tanzania, Rwanda, and Zambia.
 
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Laughing Otter

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My wife and I are going to be taking our three boys on a wee bit of an adventure. We're going to volunteer at a small mission hospital in Togo, West Africa for a 6 month stint. We're leaving on April 15th.
The hospital is the 2nd busiest in the country, performing around 600 baby deliveries and 2200 surgeries yearly. They see between 80-100 people daily in clinic. The hospital is open 24 / 7 and has 50 ward beds.

We hope to be able to make lots of day trips to the surrounding area, and neighbouring countries. We'll also be heading to Kenya for a couple of weeks at the end of our time on the continent to do a small safari trip and investigate another hospital (for a possible return opportunity).

Although the internet connection is a little sketchy, I'll still be able to maintain some contact with the rest of the world. If you don't mind some weird and wonderful pictures of some crazy and/or cool vehicles and some different scenery I will try to post about what's going on with us.

We've got a few small details to polish off before we depart, but at this point we have a comfortable amount of time remaining... but things never stay that way for long. And Africa has a way of altering the best laid plans - for better or worse!

Here's a few pictures from when I was there in 2013, just to give you an idea of what things are like.




This old Rover was loaded with people, so the dude had to hang out the back to get a ride.






Lovin' those old Rovers! Great photos!
 

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Sounds like an adventure! Have fun.
 

Robert OB 33/48

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Please do write a lot and send nice pictures. I do not envy you for the things you gonna do. But you do have my high respect and I think you both are very good people.
But doing all those trips......... Iam not jealous. :grinning:
 

Michael

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My wife and I are going to be taking our three boys on a wee bit of an adventure. We're going to volunteer at a small mission hospital in Togo, West Africa for a 6 month stint. We're leaving on April 15th.
The hospital is the 2nd busiest in the country, performing around 600 baby deliveries and 2200 surgeries yearly. They see between 80-100 people daily in clinic. The hospital is open 24 / 7 and has 50 ward beds.

We hope to be able to make lots of day trips to the surrounding area, and neighbouring countries. We'll also be heading to Kenya for a couple of weeks at the end of our time on the continent to do a small safari trip and investigate another hospital (for a possible return opportunity).

Although the internet connection is a little sketchy, I'll still be able to maintain some contact with the rest of the world. If you don't mind some weird and wonderful pictures of some crazy and/or cool vehicles and some different scenery I will try to post about what's going on with us.

We've got a few small details to polish off before we depart, but at this point we have a comfortable amount of time remaining... but things never stay that way for long. And Africa has a way of altering the best laid plans - for better or worse!

Here's a few pictures from when I was there in 2013, just to give you an idea of what things are like.




This old Rover was loaded with people, so the dude had to hang out the back to get a ride.






We will definitely be following along! Thank you for sharing and we look forward to talking with you during your adventures!
 

deeker

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Time for an update, I'd say!

We've been in Togo, West Africa for two weeks now. It took a bit to get internet access sorted out, but we're fully functioning at about a carrier pigeons pace. Not 3G or LTE for sure!

We're adjusting to the heat and humidity, there's no AC except for in the OR or some vehicle. It was 110 F the other day, including the 97% humidity. I stayed soaked in sweat most of the day.

We talked about buying a vehicle for the 6 months we'll be here, but a long term resident suggested that we just 'rent' a hospital vehicle for personal use. That's going to be our plan, since they have nicer vehicles than we could afford to buy for short term use. A 2005 HiLux will cost about $13,000. Too much for 6 months use.

And besides... the hospital vehicle pool consists of TWO Land Cruiser 76's (with ARB bumpers, snorkels and skinny tires, no less) and a 4-door HiLux, as well as a couple of HiAce vans! That should do the trick! Both would be dream vehicles for me back in North America.

I realized I don't have a picture of the LC's on my phone so I'll rectify that tomorrow.
The HiLux...



The roads here mostly suck. Potholes, wash-outs, and a high percentage of poor drivers - many without an actual licence - all make for exciting drives. We have gone on a couple of short trips just in the immediate area, but plan to go further as time permits.

This is one way to carry your chickens home from the market. Two on the bars, one in the lap. (These cheap Chinese knock-off motos are everywhere!)



And as is the case everywhere, the kids are fun.




My wife is busy at the hospital. A couple of nights ago they did 3 c-sections back to back to back. All healthy babies! There have been some sad cases also.

I've been busy repairing all sorts of things - ceiling fans, OR lamps, an old Ford 3000 tractor from the mid-70's. It's used for cutting the grass runway.





Sent from my iPhone using Overland Bound Talk
 

deeker

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We went to the May Day 'parade' in a neighbouring town that's a fair bit larger than ours. They had a parade (more accurately, a 400 yard walk) that was followed by food and dancing. Everyone was in a great mood to celebrate. I was taking some pictures of the parade but every time I looked over at where my wife and a couple of the boys were, there were just more kids around them.

I snapped a quick picture during a break in the actual parade.



They were standing by the hospital's Land Cruiser in the shade, surrounded by inquisitive kids touching my youngest boy's whitish blonde hair and lightly tanned skin.


Sent from my iPhone using Overland Bound Talk
 
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deeker

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This is what happens when you go off the side of the road on the switchbacks. The truck sat there for more than two weeks, until they finally came and picked it over.




This is the view of our airfield and the edge of the hospital compound in the bottom left, right at the base of the mountain. ( I use the word mountain loosely here. It's really just a steep hill, but the locals call them mountains.)


Here is a picture from one of our outings. Thus is fairly normal for a small village off the main highway, but with asphalt and not just dirt or gravel. The dirt or gravel would be less damaging if you misplaced a wheel!




I'll be sure to include more pictures as we travel around more.


Sent from my iPhone using Overland Bound Talk
 

deeker

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Forgot to take any pictures as we drove a bunch of back roads. I remembered just before we got to the little village we live near. Silly iPhone focused on the bugs on the windscreen more than the washed-out roads in front. I did get one good picture. It's of the sign for our village. Sad skills!



I'm going to try to get out with the Community Health Education team next week. They go into some pretty isolated areas with bad roads / foot trails, so it should be fun driving and benefit the little villages.


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Daniel Etter

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Great story so far! I'd love to go and travel across Africa at some point! I'm can't wait to see more of your story and pictures!