Thursday, September 26, 2013

Leavin' on a Jet Plane...

in January.

I'll be going to Cape Town, South Africa for almost three weeks! I'll be traveling with my Epidemics class, and we'll be working hard while we're there.

I don't know how much I'll be able to share here, but of course y'all will be the first to know (after me, duh.)

So, any tips? Recommendations? Advice? I'm NOT going to be doing sight-seeing, etc. We're there to work.

In other news, school is kicking my ass (but what else is new?) I feel like I'm barely treading water, and it's only been four weeks since the semester started. I will eventually have some kind of routine going, but the extra class (epidemics) requires a TON of reading and a journal for each lecture (which is twice weekly), and that's on top of all my nursing stuff. Of course, it was my decision to take this class (which was by invitation/interview only), so I only have myself to "blame".

I KNOW it will all be worth it in the end, but right now I feel like whining, and if I can't whine on my on blog, WHERE CAN I?!

Well, I guess I should get back to work...


Blondefabulous said...

Mosquito netting & repellent!

doubletrouble said...

Could you bring back a pocket full of diamonds for me? Just any you see lying around; nuthin' special...

Cool trip- it's work, but probably a great experience!

Buck said...

What a great trip and experience that's gonna be. I'm only slightly green.

C-90 said...

Talk to BRM, he's raised in RSA.

Aesop said...

1) Read the State Department travel advisories for RSA & sub-Saharan Africa, both for medical prophylaxis/immunizations, and for general Advisories and Warnings To Travellers/Tourists.
Pay attention to it, get your shots, and understand the nature of the land you're travelling to.
Google/YouTube some of the local news stations and papers as your trip gets closer so you're not clueless about what's going on where you're going. FYI, January in RSA is July up here. Ponder the phrase "Africa-hot", and check on the weather averages there at that time of year.

2)Be aware the Africa is the HIV capitol of the planet, and that South Africa is the rape capitol of the world, with rape of white females particularly under-reported. It is orders of magnitude worse than the worst craphole in Boston if you end up in the wrong place or around the wrong people. I haven't checked in awhile, but note the status of things like malaria and any other endemic diseases for the region.

3) Look into health insurance coverage for foreign travellers, particularly coverage that includes "Evacuation Coverage", i.e. paying to fly you out to the First World and home in the event of some untoward mishap or illness, including by air ambulance if necessary. You don't want to have your surprise appendectomy in Capetown, Cowtown, or via local witch doctor.
Such policies are relatively common and generally affordable, even for students, not to mention pricelessif you ever need them. And 10:1 your own or your school's policy doesn't cover any of this.

4a) There's a gentleman named John "Lofty" Wiseman who's published a number of "SAS Survival Manuals". Buy or borrow the "SAS Urban Survival Manual", and read in particular the sections on travel and foreign safety. RSA is not the U.S in any sense of understanding, and a healthy dose of common sense goes a long way towards avoiding common travel problems.
4b) He also goes over an Altoids-tin sized personal emergency kit. Bandaids, tylenol, immodium, etc., small enough to fit in a pants-pocket or purse. Read his recommendations, and construct a kit that makes sense for you. A few doses of immodium, Tylenol, or ibuprofen, plus some band-aids, neopsorin, and steri strips, etc. could mean the difference between a minor problem and an awful time.

5) If you can find out what they're short of where you're going (barrier gloves, e.g.) you can a) bring your own, which doesn't burden someplace that might be already short on supplies we take for granted, and b) leave any leftovers behind for their benefit when you leave, which is never unappreciated.

6) Make sure any prescription medications taken along are current and labelled properly. Taking unlabelled drugs across international borders and through customs checkpoints gets people on TV and into movies, and not in a good way.

7) Before you leave, make several copies of your passport, visa(s), immunization records, as well as important/emergency information (personal and group emergency contact phone numbers there and back here, credit card 800 numbers, etc., U.S. embassy/consulate contact numbers), and keep them on or about you in multiple places (like jacket/pants/purse/backpack/luggage). The last place you want to be is stuck there waiting for new documents if something happens to the originals.

8) Take (or get) a decent but inexpensive high MP pocket camera, and a couple of extra storage cards and spare batteries, and take pictures of what is sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

You've got three months; knock it out in your abundant free time.

Christina RN LMT said...

Thanks, Everyone!

I've already had my "travel visit" to the university clinic, and I'm up-to-date on the required immunizations. (I only needed typhoid, nursing school is pretty stringent about things like Hep A and B vaccinations...).
I won't require anti-malarials because malaria is confined to the north/north-east of South Africa, and we'll be staying in Cape Town and surrounding townships. Lucky for us, because malaria is a fucking scourge.
I filled a prescription for cipro, for intractable/extremely severe traveler's diarrhea, and of course I'll have butt-loads (*snerk*) of immodium with me, too.
As far as physical safety goes, the university has done this trip for many years, with no incidents. Now, that doesn't mean it can't/won't happen, but we'll take precautions to minimize danger. Such as ALWAYS STAYING WITH THE GROUP.
All we can do is keep our eyes open, have some common sense, and listen to our professors, who are by now old hands at this trip.

Cliff Smith said...

Check with Lawdog an Peter the Renaissance man. They were natives and have expiriance with security. Be well, be safe, and have fun.

Old NFO said...

Definitely Mosquito netting and GOOD repellent (Back Woods Off is the recommended one). And be damn careful. Aesop is correct!