fear of pasta

Some Ghanaians won’t eat spaghetti. It resembles Guinea Worm just-a-little-too-much. I don’t blame them. After spending a day with Hannah in Fulfuso, the thought of a bowl of pasta would have made me queasy. We made our way to the containment center by 7 a.m., and a group of children were lined on benches, soaking their wounds in water and waiting for the volunteers to pull out the worm before school started. The worm craves water so that it can shoot out its eggs and perpetuate the god-awful cycle of Guinea Worm. Those who have the parasite must keep their wound emerged in water for about half an hour at which point a volunteer will wind the worm out little by little. The wound and hanging worm is then bandaged and the process will be repeated everyday until the worm is completely removed. It can take weeks, even months to extract a worm from a person. As you can see from the pictures, the whole procedure is excruciating, painful just to watch. There is a containment center in Tamale where suspected cases are usually brought, but because the cases in Fulfuso Junction are through the roof, they built a containment center right on site.

The thing about Guinea Worm is that it has not only been around since Bible-times, but it is so easily preventable. If communities continue to filter their water before drinking and if those who have Guinea Worm stay away from water sources, the disease can be eradicated. The Carter Center, community volunteers and Peace Corps volunteers like Hannah and myself continue to work toward behavior change.

Here's to the end of Guinea Worm. Cheers.

More photos in this post.


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