Many thanks and much love to everyone who showed up at Triple Rock last night, I loved seeing all your faces in one place! A very special thank you to Mr. Seamus and Ms. Annabelle, who not only stayed past their bedtime, but also brought me some lovely reading material for the plane, as well as a nightlight for those scary Ghanaian nights.
On Saturday I got to meet my new boss Jason and his lovely girlfriend Dorrie and their friend Tiu. What I thought was going to be a two hour coffee meeting turned into an all day San Francisco adventure with three of the loveliest people I’ve ever met. I hopped on BART at midnight thinking that I could just get on a plane now and skip the next six weeks here. That’s how cool they were. As I walked home through the mean streets of North Berkeley round 12:45 I even called my Mother to tell her how excited I was. She didn’t share my enthusiasm.
She did however, ask me what exactly I planned to do about Ebola. These days that’s the first thing anyone asks me “But what about Ebola?” My answer is the same every time. Ebola is a terrible dreadful disease that has given me nightmares since I was 13 and first read the Hot Zone (almost as good as Demon in the Freezer but nothing is as scary as Smallpox), but it is not something I’m too worried about. Quick facts about this particular Ebola outbreak:
1. The fatality rates for cases of Ebola in the current outbreak are hovering around 60%, as opposed to 80 or 90% which has been the standard for Zaire Ebola in previous outbreaks.
2. Ebola is only transmitted from human to human by direct contact with the bodily fluids of an Ebola infected patient after they show symptoms.
3. Ebola can be transmitted from animals to humans through the consumption of Bush Meat, particularly fruit bats and apes. I’m planing on being vegetarian for at least the first few months as I give my stomach time to adjust to new foods and flavors. We’ll see how that goes.
4. Ebola has an incredibly fast burn out rate–simply put, it usually kills people too fast to effectively maintain a presence in the human population. This outbreak is a unique because it has lasted so long. This doesn’t mean that this Ebola outbreak is any less deadly, nor any more permanent in the human population; rather, population density is so high that it’s far easier to transmit between patients and their families, caregivers, etc because people are sharing more confined spaces.
5. Ghana has yet to experience ANY cases of Ebola. The closet cases to any Ghanaian border are over 200 miles away, and while borders (especially in Western Africa), are very fluid, I’m not all that worried.
You know what I am worried about? SNAKES. I really, truly deeply hate snakes, and while Ghana has yet to develop Ebola, I can assure you it has it’s fair share of Mambas, Gabon Vipers, and all sorts of Cobras. When I asked my Wilderness First Responder instructors what to do for snake bites in Ghana, you know what they said? They said to not get bit. That’s the same thing they said for lightning and Ebola. So I’m going to avoid snakes and crazy storms and people who are bleeding out of their eyeballs and I should be just fine. No one said life was risk free, and if it was, I’d be bored with it.