Bolama Islands Ebola Corps. 6 Month expedition through the jungles of the Bolama and Bissagos islands. Searching and finding villages and spreading community awareness about Ebola

Guinea-Bissau's flag
Africa » Guinea-Bissau » Bissagos Islands » Bolama
October 5th 2015
Published: October 5th 2015
Edit Blog Post

Update Bolama Islands Ebola Corps 20.02.014

The Bolama Trios picked up their action of Ebola community awareness and since 3 weeks we’re up to full speed.

In a fragile wooden boot which barely could face and withstand a stronger wave without getting wrecked we sailed 3 hours through the Atlantic waters to reach our first destination Bolama City. Such are the boats which too will carry us to the other islands.

With our awareness action we have almost covered Bolama city and the rest of the city’s island. Throughout we found the Bolamer population to be of great support to our cause. Everywhere we came we met expressed gratefulness and blessings towards our mission. People appeared in great numbers to listen to what we had to say and from the population we could observe a willingness in action to change habits.

Our work as such is:

1. Find village leaders, headmasters of schools, priests, traditional healer and other persons of influence. Gather them and give a teaching/presentation about Ebola.

Such teaching includes: Prevention, what to do in a case of an outbreak, the current situation in affected countries, question and answers.

Hand out a first aid Ebola emergency kit to the village leader.

2. Find 3 activists who will carry on our work after we are gone. Gather them and give a teaching.

3. Go to all the schools and classes and give a presentation and distribute hand wash buckets with a drip system and a1l bottle of chlorine.

4. Gather the entire village or more if such are near each other and give a presentation.

5. Organize together with the village leader and the activists a common village action. This can be cleaning, building latrines or improving other standards concerning w

6. Register all households combined with a small survey.

Update Bolama Islands Ebola Corps 20.03.015

Deeper we move into the raw wild life of the Bolama Islands. The capital Bolama city and its island we left behind and with it left behind are the busy markets and Coca Cola. Unfortunately we had to let go of 3 Bissauans too who we had employed to fill up our trios. They used a sufficient amount of our common food money for private issues which might cause us some problems to satisfy the need of our stomachs but we work on solving the lack of money.

As deeper as we penetrated the other islands jungles as more our Ebola awareness action developed an expedition character. The comfort of a roof we exchanged with the flexibility of tents and where ever we go we first put up a tent castle from which we spread out

The wild life though as beautiful as it is gives us some challenges to adapt to. Not one day passes by without the stinging or biting of uncountable diverse little creatures which desire their share of our blood. Here too we encounter a fly which likes to put its larva under our skin or toe nails. We even came up with a name for the unpleasant process of getting rid of them little parasites. We just called it: having an abortion. In this sense we already had 14 abortions in our Bolama trios.

The most of our food we carry with us, sometimes even chicken alive but in general we can buy live stock in the villages we meet on the way. Each member of our Bolama
Ilha de MaioIlha de MaioIlha de Maio

Washing our bodies with beach sand
trios has a 3 dollar food budget per day. For this amount we found a cook who now is traveling with us. Like this we always have one person staying in our camp and we save time which instead of buying food and cooking we can invest in our awareness action. It is a big help.

In the first village we came we received a warm welcome and we got offered a place in a cashew forest to put up camp. The cashew season just started and welcoming we enjoyed the new ingredient in our diet. The village provided our camp with chairs and a table and about 50 woman and teenager were carrying water from the nearby well to fill up our water tanks. Even one of the village dogs came in our camp and decided to stay with us for his share of a daily bone. He immediately took over his dog task and watched our camp. The extra flea bites from the dog are bearable compared to all the other insect bites throughout the day and night.

Our work as such repeats itself like described in the 6 steps in the last update but every day the new encounters with the Bolamer population is the spice and joy in our important and necessary mission.

Following are two encounters representing the spice and joy in our work.

Amelia da Silva

In Bolama we met the 75 years young Amelia da Silva from the small rural village Marsas.

She is an enthusiastic lady and very fond of the work we are doing.

Amelia says: it is unique and heart enlightened to see a group of people from so many different countries who left behind their families and homes to come together for one purpose – to help people in their most of need. She says, she wants to be of use within this example of humanity united and commit herself to the need of her people.

She decided to be an activist among the group of activists who could be her grand sons and daughters. Amelias energy and will of making a difference is a power emanating example for the young activists at place. With pleasure we welcomed her amidst the group of activists. We believe that once we’re gone that Amelia alone, her exemplary strength combined with her live experience and committed will to the purpose at hand is a guaranty for success in further spreading the Ebola awareness and too we belief she will be a spearheading force in preparing the minds of her surrounding for a possible Ebola outbreak.

This example which the person of Amelia represents is very encouraging for us. Right now our work of finding activists is in direct competition with the Cashew season which just started. Very often people demand or expect money for doing the task of an activist; money of course we cannot pay. Who could blame them? The cashew business is the only income of the year for most of the families and the money one person receives in one cashew season matches about a 3 day’s net income of a Danish person. As I heard, even some school children stop going to school for the family needs the extra person’s income.

Thank you Amelia

Ilha de Galinha;

one of the most undeveloped areas we’ve visited so far. One man as active as a hummingbird harvesting the nectar of a flower is about to change it all. He is the doctor and the one who unites the people of his 500 head strong village and neighbouring village to work together for reaching better living conditions. In a good mood, emanating love, he always has encouraging words and caring touches for young and old passing by his appearance.

With the help of the doctor we experienced an entire village digging several latrines like moles extending their housings. All over where we glanced people cleaned their environment like ants taking care of the surrounding in their reach. Dish racks too get erected all over.

We visit a good facilitated clinic and for the first time we can witness a ready build quarantine house for 8 patients with a separate room for the care taker.

To have built such quarantine center was a wise foresight since at the beach come and go and live the fisherman from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea Conakry. This fluctuating movement happens uncontrolled and as a fisherman told me: Conakry is less than a day sea travel away. In Conakry and Sierra Leone the Ebola Virus still demands 100 – 150 new victims each passing week.

The doctor said he needs our help for the people to listen but as much as he needed our help we needed his just the same. With this in mind we worked together as a unit. It was a pleasure and a beautiful experience to have been part of this unit.

Odyssey in the Atlantic Ocean

At 16:30 o’clock we, khris, Matshediso, Ociano, Peter, Bacar and Michael set out from the shore of Ilha de Galinha to reach our monthly Ebola Corps meeting in Gabu. krisz had to reach the hospital for he had a fly larva abortion gone wrong and his knee was painful infected. Happy and full of new experiences and stories we load and board the canoe. 17 people, 3 motor bikes and all kinds of luggage caused an over load to the canoe but generally speaking: all boats leaving these shores are over loaded.

On half way from Ilha de Galinha to the west shores of Ilha de Bolama suddenly the engine stopped with a choking sound. After 15 minutes trying to fix the engines problem we came to realize that we had a more serious damage. We reached for our cell phones to call for help but the signal was strongly waving and we couldn’t build up a stable enough connection to reach the dry land. No paddle, no sail, no navigation, nothing to fix the engine, nothing of help – helpless we were delivered to the oceans forces.

The sun was setting and the waves and wind got stronger. This was a serious problem since already in calm waters the canoe had stability problems and threatened to tip over. Now with the stronger behaving ocean some of us had to act as counter weight and changed position according the impacting waves to secure the stability of the canoe. After some time we realized happy that the wind and current was drifting us to the distant shore and not to the open ocean but in shore direction another danger was hidden beneath the surface of the water – rocks.

For most of us the shore was too far away to reach it swimming and others didn’t know how to swim but this didn’t really matter if we would tip over with the canoe for drowning or be eaten by sharks was the choice of going out.

Finally somebody got a stable cell phone signal and could call for help. We were waiting; what else could we do? The night started to cover the ocean with its dark blanket and the distant shore line of Ilha de Galinha became a fading shadow on the horizon. The wind and waves got even more violent. Some of us had fear, some made jokes to distract themselves from their inner discomfort or maybe too because it was just funny spinning stories of what could happen next, some of us enjoyed the experience as such and did let the next moment take care of itself, some were concerned for others and some were like: yeah, whatever.

At some point we sighted a dark dot on top of the water surface; it was the canoe which came to our aid. With torches we gave signal for direction. The approaching rescue canoe was 3 times smaller and the heavy waves made it impossible to board the other canoe. Both canoes changed position of being 2 meters above the other one – the ocean was playing with our nut shells. We decided that the rescue canoe should push our canoe to the shore. Slow we moved. The waves swapped into our canoe and one man often was busy to get the water out again. We did hit some rocks and a vibrating shaking went through the structure of our boat. Everything was pitch black. Finally we saw a torch lightning up at the shore. As we sailed nearer we heard children shouting out aloud. The noises and the torches light was our navigation for the rest of our Atlantic odyssey.

At about 20:30 o’clock we hit the east shore of Ilha de Galinha and we met very helpful villagers.

Commonly we decided not to use the services of (Captain Jack Sparrow) again. The name we gave to the canoe captain. One week before he had hit some rocks and was stuck there with our project leader Bacar for 10 long hours until 3 o’clock in the morning. It was to our amusement because we were just sitting at the shore on the veranda of our beach house and could observe the spectacle from there.

Exhausted but happy to have come out of this adventure alive we put up camp and at 22:30 o’clock we went to bed
22. Ilha de Orango (5)22. Ilha de Orango (5)22. Ilha de Orango (5)

2 children making cashew juice
without having dinner for we didn’t take any food with us but that was just ok because no one wanted to eat after the disaster we had. The next day without breakfast and lunch we set forth our travel to Bolama and a handful of peanuts and some biscuits helped against the roaring demands of our stomachs. We arrived in llha de Bolama after Captain Jack Sparrow borrowed an engine in the village that accommodated us the last night.

Update Bolama Islands Ebola Corps 15.4.015

…and uncountable aborted pregnancies later

After the Atlantic Odyssey (last month we had a distress at sea situation and had to be rescued), we had hired our own canoe which will be at our service until the end of the Ebola awareness action. It is one of the bigger canoes with two engines and an experienced six-man crew. We now sailed more secure but apart from that, we needed to hire this canoe to reach all the remaining islands with our awareness action within the given time. The time was moving fast and we lacked behind our goals. It always was a big logistical task to get all our equipment to the next island and as well, we often sat idle for some days because there just was no canoe available.

Traveling longer distances here in Guinea Bissau often turned out to be an adventure with multitudes of unexpected challenges; over sea or land there is no difference in the time consuming aspect of obstacles to overcome.

Means of transportation are most frugal here. Cars are maintained for coming through the next travel and the maintenance is done only on the necessary parts. The rest doesn’t work and the chassis look like they had been rotting for several years in a scratch yard. This shall not suggest that here are no cars in a good and maintained shape but to hire such more modern and reliable transportation is far out of our budget.

The canoes are in a little better shape. They are wooden but the water income through the conflations of the wood planks is immense. What is more interesting are the means of navigation – they don’t exist; not even a map or a compass and the ocean around all Bolama islands has no light towers or buoys as navigational help.

Let me visualize one of those travels for a better understanding of the conditions here.

We sailed from Ilha de Bubake at around 11 o’clock in the morning to Ilha de Caravella. The trip should take somewhat like 6-8 hours. In the middle of the ocean at around 16 o’clock, our canoe got stock in low water. The power of the engine could not free us, so we jumped out of the canoe to push it free but we didn’t succeed and just 30 minutes later all water was gone. In the middle of atlantics “nowhere”, we were stock on tideland. Nothing we could do but waiting for the next flood to come, waiting for six long hours, until 22 o’clock in the night. However, instead of the useless attitude of waiting, we used this time for a delightful and calming tideland hike.

We could see two islands from the tideland and I asked the experienced boat crew for the name of the islands but no one could answer that question. The following question of if they knew where we were, found no satisfactory answer. Now I just had to ask one question that logically follows: How do they navigate at night? The answer was: the stars and how the water flows. From this moment on, I knew that this sailing trip would become more adventurous as wished for but I didn’t share my suspicion with my colleagues to avoid unnecessary and fear creating discussions full of assumptions, but my guess is that some of my colleagues had the same suspicion but kept quiet as well. We sat forth our sailing as the water came back. At about 2 o’clock in the morning we met another fisher canoe in the open sea, somewhere in nowhere. We went alongside the other canoe and seriously: our canoe crew asked for directions. I was stunned and at this moment I had the slight upcoming wish of Klaus Block (best skipper in world) being here at our side. Well, meanwhile everyone knew we were lost but everyone took this knowledge with patience and a nonchalant “nothing new attitude”. At around 3 o’clock we went to anchor for since we were lost it was too dangerous to sail further at night where we couldn’t see anything and maybe end up with no diesel on half way to the Caribbean. With the rising sun we set forth our trip. We found an island and at the islands beach we could see people moving. We decided to stop and one person swam to the beach to ask the islands population of our whereabouts. We were on ilha de Maio; meaning: instead of Northwest, we sailed north and maybe 50 sea miles or more off course. Our fuel was empty too. We all entered Ilha de Maio and again we were stock. We started to investigate the island to find some more fuel and we figured that only five small villages existed here with no possibility to buy anything – not even a chicken for lunch. We called our project leader Bakar who still was in Bubake and he came with another boat and with help of the local NGO Adema, to bring some more fuel plus a man who knew how to navigate to ilha de Caravella. We arrived one day later as expected at 18 o’clock in the evening and the entire trip took 31 hours.

After the last Ebola Corps meeting in Gabu we went directly to Ilha de Bubake. The reason for choosing Bubake was the Easter time and the big three days festival taking place there. About 6000 visitors from the surrounding islands were expected to come and came, flooding the island with the same amount of people as inhabitants are living there. It was a big event with international artists.

Bubake is more developed as the areas we had visited before. This is due to the small amount of tourism on this island. Here one can find a dozen affordable lodges for tourists who dare to leave behind the security of modern live and society. Here too one can find expensive looking tourism ruins that tell from chattered dreams of making money in a paradise location. Sure, this place here has potential.

From a capitalist point of view, it seems to be tempting to rob the island’s innocence for the sake of serving the money dream. If we look at Guinea Bissau’s gross national product, then unfortunately we can see a need for a touristic income for money moves the human race and is the rotten backbone of the “having a good live” dream.

We as the human race commonly agreed and still agree that money is real and you can’t escape from reality also if such reality is just an illusion fixed in all of our minds; an illusion which commonly is believed and agreed to be true.

Anyway, to see through such illusion changes ones perception of modern society but still one has to live and deal with the common dream and in this sense: to build up tourism in Bubake appears to be a tempting good idea within this separation-causing dream of humanity.

But back to the Ebola awareness action.

In Bubake we introduced our selves to the administration, police, hospital, radio station, Adema (local NGO), military, district leaders (Bubake is a small city) and the head of education. We gathered all of them and gave a presentation. We too got invited from the city council and took part in the festival organization meeting where most of the above mentioned people were present too. Again, with our awareness action and representing ADPP, we were received most welcomed and enjoyed all needed help.

For our Bubake time we had to approach our way of work differently since all schools had closed and people were busy with organizing the festival. We decided to be part of the festival as an attraction but we didn’t want to attract all the drunken people who constitute the majority of this festival as we got told. Therefore, we decided and put up a lot of information placates which after some time will penetrate a drunken head too and as an attraction, we created a program for children with a small Ebola exhibition placed beside the children fun. It was a big success. We too worked close together with the local NGO Adema.

Hereafter we went to Ilha de Caravella and then to Ilha de Caras. Reaching Caravella the above described canoe trip took place.

The cooperation, which we did build up with the NGO Adema on Ilha de Bubake, just came with the right timing. As I wrote and explained earlier in this update: because of the difficulties to travel, we did lack behind our timetable to reach all islands within the time given to us and we already could foresee that we would not reach our goal. Adema but showed interest to take over some of the other islands that we had not covered yet. They know the islands, worked there already and as well, they have the manpower and a canoe to be able to fulfill the task at hand. We already gave a workshop, trained the people of Adema and we are looking forward to a good partnership.

Update Bolama Islands Ebola corps 20.05.015

Ilha de Maio

is the island where we stranded without fuel about a month ago.

Here we find the last human stronghold with five drowsy villages. Ahead only the vast open Atlantic that disappears in far distance of the looking eye into lively magic of imagination. Our base we have in the little village Boatei, which is located on a tableland that elevates just from the beach. Boatei is surrounded by a jungle coulisse with majestic-outstanding trees that infiltrate ones being with a sense of deep respect and easily, just by watching, one is put in a state of awe.

White virgin beaches, yet to discover, waiting for Robinson Crusoe to be touched. Straw roofed loam houses, unpretentious life. Roosters introduce the day with a cawing concert; the waking day life follows on. Everything moves its way as it did some hundred years ago. Forest and sea provide the indigenous population with the needs to make a living and foreigners are an outermost rare picture. No boat connection to the mainland or the other islands is established. (This statement is true for the most of the islands.)

When you are here – you are here.

A touch of innocence moves through the quiet soul of this garden and it seems like nothing can interfere with the peace on spot. Neither churches nor mosques are present to make the minds crooked (1) and no advancements of modernity, with their mind conquering influence, have yet arrived here (2). The state too, like all states a Moloch (3) with many control-seeking octopus like arms (5), has not yet shown interest to institute its executive powers (6).

Being here, one touches an insight of which somewhat everyone has a hunch: that for a society to function there is no need for a state but a need for a state arises, if there is an interest that for a few people needs to be protected from the many.

Being here,
8. Ilha de Bolama (189)8. Ilha de Bolama (189)8. Ilha de Bolama (189)

the fruit bat which is thought to be the main host for the ebola virus
the heartbeat slows down, synchronizes with the natural rhythm of the environment.

A baby pig passes by, “grunt-grunt-munch-munch”, sniffs with its nose through the sand, looks up, recognizes the observer, “grunt-grunt”, and moves on with its sniffing busyness – pure excitement if the heartbeat is slow.

Being here, the mind gets calms. The busy chitchat with its recurring nonsense ceases to be and gives redeeming space – known as natural state of happiness.

Being here, one has the experience that seemingly – time did stop. Merely the movement of nature as such reminds, that time must be here for movement needs time to exist.

The indigenous knows: there is no need to rush for everything needs its given time to flower and wither.

Life whispers: all hurry is a state of mind within an artificial world of concepts.

Reason laughs: Life lives you or you live life; one perception holds happiness and timelessness, the other but holds strain and a race against time.

In the same manner we are here to counter balance an out of control raging bush fire (Ebola) and all “we” becomes a necessary part to harmony, to equate an
8. Ilha de Bolama (139)8. Ilha de Bolama (139)8. Ilha de Bolama (139)

colonial building
out of balance equation.

Until now, in this equation, we human have had the role of the denominator and in this role, damage control was the only thing we could do. Now it looks like that the joint effort of humanity has opened up another fraction, with the human as the numerator, where finally we have the possibility to zero in Ebola. Unfortunately, the rain season has set in with a new unknown variable and time will tell what it does to the harmony of our equation.

(1) Islam and Christianity are untouched in this sentence but meant is the belief governing institutions as such.

(2) Except some cell phones and a solar panel to charge the same, which is taken care of by the village school.

(3) Moloch: destructive force, something which requires blind devotion or cruel sacrifice.

Also an in the Bible mentioned god of the Canaanites whose rituals included human sacrifice.

(4) I just want to express explicit that the comparison from state to moloch and octopus is a generalisation and
10. Ilha de Galinha (25)10. Ilha de Galinha (25)10. Ilha de Galinha (25)

the only shop on ilha de Galinha
not specifically focussed on Guinea Bissau.

(5) The strong comparisons that are used are only a writing way to draw a mirroring frame around the uncomplex and simple-minded way of life on Ilha de Maio. This is applicable for “the states compared with moloch and octopus”, “the churches and mosques making the minds crooked” and “the mind conquering advancements of modernity”.

The story tells about a “back to the roots” experience, which only can be imagined from people living in our society now a day, and to mark this significant message I write what the mirror reflects.

Never the less, true is that what we call truth changes with the perceiver. With the words of Albert Einstein: “Everything is relative, even the mathematic”. This leads to the proverb: “nothing is true while everything is true”. Nothing and everything are two sides of the same coin, which cannot exist without each other. The coin but only exists if one perceives either of its sides and vanishes from existence the moment where both sides are experienced as one, for perception and our experience of life is always one-sided reflexion. This Plato visualized, more than 2200 years ago in the story of “Plato’s cave”.

With this in mind, one should read the story because with this in mind nobody can feel offended by the comparisons of the two societies.

Idena on Ilha de Canabaque

On Ilha de Canabaque we had our base in the village Idena. While approaching with our canoe the landing side for Idena, we had to sail a small hidden water path through a narrow grown mangrove forest. Approaching its end, a little shady opening gave way for the jungle to be entered. The sandy trail up to Idena was leading through palm forest interchanging with impassably interwoven jungle vegetation in which huge ancient trees were standing their ground. The island Canabaque was very traditional and many women did wear skirts made out of tree fibers (Saia de Biudjugo). The belief in magic was very strong and a hard punishment for steeling or other immoral deeds would be that the perpetrator got cursed. To take pictures of the people was not wished but at times, if asked very kindly, they gave permission.Here too was a forest where foreigners had no permission to enter. Only the tribal people, who went through an ancient inauguration, had the allowance to enter this forest. The indigenous but did not say that it was forbidden to enter the forest or to take pictures, they only advised very kindly not to do so and certainly, as a guest of this environment it did not beseem to have done otherwise.

The village Idena itself emanated a creepy atmosphere. Even our indigenous canoe crew did feel the creepiness crawling up the spine. Already if one entered Idena through the main gate, one came and met strange figures made of straw and on the houses; one could see arrangements with magical character. Around the village and within one could find holy places for ceremonies, decorated with natural materials whose arrangement gave an unearthly impression.

The monotone rhythm of deep sounding bush drums did its own part to the spooky but cosy atmosphere. The medicine man of the village was beating the drum from the morning until late in the evening, sometimes chanted to it, and continuously filled the empty space with a trance creating sound coulisse. Moreover, in the evening hours often villagers were chanting and singing to the drums.

Once, while coming from the harbor, walking through the jungle near Idena, a distanced whispering of a beautiful but strange melody kindly soft was touching my ears. Inquisitively in a stalking manner, I approached the melody by following an animal trail that opened up through the jungle leading towards it. In joyful anticipation I followed the windings of the trail like a child would do its adventurous walk to the end of a rainbow to find the treasure of gold lying hidden there, as the Irish legend of Goblins promises. When I saw the origin of the melody, I concealed myself for I feared if being uncovered that the effleurage, the affectionate touch of my ears would stop. In the distance, I saw a human shape about 20 meters high up in the crown of a palm tree singing a most beautiful melody while making enchanting sounds within the singsong, sounds I’ve not heard before. As the melody was telling, the human shape was very happy and was full of energy as it forcefully moved up and down through the crown. From the distance, I just saw a human like shape but
15. Way to Ilha de Caravella (9)15. Way to Ilha de Caravella (9)15. Way to Ilha de Caravella (9)

we tried to free the boat from the tide land
the child in me wanted to belief that this was a fairy, a small magical being – and so it was.

Enchanted from the melody I forgot about the time and cannot say for how long I listened to this melodic magic but it must have been a while since, as I came back in our camp, the food was almost ready.

But back to the village Idena.

Nowadays we call it creepy and spooky to express the felt atmosphere in such environment. In old days, people would have said that the village is spellbound or bewitched. Never the less, if old or modern expressed, it tells that here one meets a condition unknown to the thinking mind of modernity, here one meets an ancient thought structure that is express through overarching words like creepy or bewitched.

Something on my personal struggles.

The heat still sucks! and the food – well, some people say: you are what you eat.

Therefore, when I’m back, I have swim skin and instead of hair I grow rise-plant-leaves, than we know the reason.

…but worst of all are all the legions of teasing insects with military combat skills and I can assure you, they must have enjoyed a very good drill in tactical warfare, where they gained sophistic tent-to-tent fighting skills! Up to now, I have the impression that out there in the jungle are no insects that do not feed on blood or defend themselves with a painful or itching aftermath.

Until now, I thought the flea bites to be the longest lasting and itchiest points of annoyance if placed on my nerve endings. Well, up to now I had not the pleasure to encounter the Tzeze fly. That one surely is bad-ass evil and has aviator skills I have seen nothing alike. Tzeze’s fly skills include an abrupt and not pursuable horizontal as vertical change of direction without a visible pattern of when it is about to happen. Under Tzezeaneer this tactic, to confuse the enemy, is known as Sun Tzu Tzeze’s legendary “broken-pattern-zigzag-move”, which is a realization and combination of several verses of Sun Tzu Tzeze’s book: The Art of War. With Tzetze’s sovereignty over the air space, it took me a twenty minutes in-tent hand-to-hand combat, in which I suffered severe injuries, before I could call myself victorious. Several times, I did hit Tzeze with a punch nobody could have survived but Tzetze has unbelievable good taker-qualities. On the ground, Tzeze is fighting like a Ninja to its last breath and to mislead his attacker as victorious, he disguises himself as dead. Three times Tzeze used this tactic before he could not fool me anymore and still, it took at least 10 more hard impacting shatter-hands until Tzeze gave in with a last heroic breath.

My suspicion is that the devil in person has sent his little helpers to hunt me down. On top of it, my body reacts allergic, which makes the affected parts swelling up to a horrible size. In the battle just described, I suffered four bites and since I still was licking two bites from previous attacks, one could not see a difference between the marshmallow man and me.

…but enough with that wining, I’ll bear with it a little longer. Considering the purpose and the experiences I make down here, I do perfectly fine and the experiences are worth more as I ever could tell, though I cannot deny a subliminal background noise that unfolds itself as a yearning into Danish realms.

General update on the Bolamer trios.

The Bolama trios went through some major changes since
the last Ebola Corps meeting in Gabu. We had to let go two of our translators
and we felt very sad about it, since they became friends and had grown dear to

In our absence while we were in the monthly Gabu meeting, both of our translators had a cockfight with each other. The
outcome of the fight was that one needed seven stitches on his forehead.
Unfortunately, this did happen on the terrain of the local NGO Adema, with
which we had built up a good cooperation. With the name of Adema and ADPP
involved, we had no choice but sadly to let go of them.

We were thinking to find new translators but overruled this thought since the program
was almost at its end and to train new translators would have taken at least a
month, not to mention the time to find them.

Left with only one translator, we restructured our three trios and made two out of them, since as
well we missed two more persons (Lada from Norway and Peter from DNS-Denmark) who
got involved in other important tasks concerning the Ebola prevention program.
Now we had one trio with the entire native speaking people and one trio with
the English-speaking people plus the translator. Never the less, with only two
trios left, our speed of work did not suffer much. On the remaining islands,
the villages were more scattered and the population in such villages was much
fewer in numbers and most of the remaining villages had that Robinson Crusoe
character as described in the story of Ilha de Maio. Eye-catching was that such
villages were very clean. This was, because they didn’t have any goods which
would produce garbage.

With the canoe and the five-man strong crew at our service, we were able to rush from
island to island but also we could reach far away villages on bigger islands
much easier. Cycling often was difficult up to impossible because of the very
sandy conditions of the trails, and walking would have taken hours of time but
with the canoe, we took the waterway and sailed around the island. Like this we
did cover Ilha de Maio, - Formosa, - Ponta, - Canabaque, - Orangozinho and Ilha
de Orango, which is a national park where one can find salt-water hippos.

Bolama Islands Ebola corps 20.06.015

The first part of the Ebola awareness program has had its 6 month start up period and has come to an end. Until now the Ebola virus did not enter Guinea Bissau but in Guinea Conakry the virus is still out of control. Myself, I'll fly back to Europe on Tuesday. The program though will proceed in some areas of Guinea Bissau to further more enlighten the population concerning the Ebola virus. In this 6 month of pioneer work we have reached the amount of almost 240.000 people in Gabu and the Bolama islands. We registered several thousand households, recorded their living conditions and trained thousands of activists to proceed with the work we have done. All over we gave presentations, did build or helped to build hand wash systems, organized village cleaning actions and motivated the families to build latrines. The work here surely was not easy and loads of unpleasant situations had to be overcome but also I made a lot of new friends and travel back to Europe with tons of exotic impressions.
Thank you all for your support and let us hope that soon our scientists have found a medical treatment against the Ebola virus.


Tot: 0.159s; Tpl: 0.017s; cc: 6; qc: 52; dbt: 0.0476s; 1; m:domysql w:travelblog (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.3mb