Saturday, March 17, 2012

Burkina Faso: Nazinga Park

Before I went to the conference, we took a two day tour outside the capital. We spent one night at the Nazinga Park, near the southern border with Ghana. It is an animal reserve famous for its elephants. Here are some pictures of the animals we got to see:

We saw too many elephants to count.


A variety of antelope

Whole warthog families

A herd of water buffalo crossed the road in front of us.

The cabin where we spent the night

This elephant almost ran into us on its way to the water hole! I know it seems far away in the photo, but we almost crossed its path!

Burkina Faso: APOC and River Blindness

So, why did we go to Burkina Faso? I had to attend annual meeting of APOC, the African Program for Onchocerciasis Control at APOC´s headquarters in Ouagadougou. Onchocerciasis or Oncho is the name of the parasitic worm that causes River Blindness. I attended the conference to meet people and find ways to expand our current River Blindness project in Kuando Kubango province.

Oncho is transmitted by the black fly that lives and breeds in fast-moving rivers - right where farmers want to be. Infection can cause painful itching and eventually the worms can lead to blindness. There is a drug - called Mectizan - that can cure infection (though not blindness). If an entire community takes the drug once a year for several consecutive years, the parasite can be eliminated from the environment.

Below is a short video that describes the Oncho project pretty well:

Burkina Faso: Five Airports in Three Days

From March 3 to March 14 we were traveling to and from Burkina Faso. Let me say, it would have been easier to fly from Luanda to New York than from Luanda to Burkina. Because of flight schedules and the way the prices doubled if we flew any other day that Sunday - it took us three days to get there and three days to get back.

Our route was Luanda to Johannesburg to Addis Ababa to Accra to Ouagadougou.

We have now earned enough frequent flyer miles with South African Airways to visit the lounge at the airport in Joburg. You can get free internet, magazines, food and drinks. You know how excited we were about that!

An Amarula display: a giant beaded elephant.

We spent a night in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

A brief layover in Accra, Ghana.

Murals at the airport in Accra.

And finally to Ouagadougou on Air Burkina!