Diagnosis – Malaria.


Imagine having the worst flu of your life. Now imagine having the worst flu of your life and you’re on vacation, far away from home. Malaria. Have you heard of it? Have you ever wondered what exactly it is?

Trust me, this is one illness you do not want to have when you travel, or ever, for that matter!

Very briefly, malaria is a parasitic infection transmitted by a particular type of mosquito. The culprit is the anopheles mosquito, and more specifically, it’s the female anopheles mosquito that transmits the parasite responsible for malaria.

It all begins with a parasite known as Plasmodium and there are several types that infect humans, but the one that causes the most infections and the most severe illness is Plasmodium falciparum.

It all begins with a mosquito bite

The most common way people become infected is by being bitten by an anopheles mosquito that has been infected with the parasite.

When the infected mosquito bites you to feed on your blood, some of the parasites in the mosquito’s saliva is injected into you and voila! The parasite is now in your bloodstream.

But there are other ways that people can become infected. They can become infected by receiving the blood of an infected person through a blood transfusion, or through an organ transplant. An infected pregnant mother can also transmit the parasites to her unborn child during the pregnancy or delivery.

Malaria is very serious. It can and does kill people.

Many children under the age of 5 living in Sub-Saharan Africa die each year due to malaria. Immune compromised people are also at a greater risk of dying.

Travelers from countries where there is no malaria and so have never been exposed to malaria are also at greater risk of getting quite sick, and so are older adults and pregnant women.

7–10 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito, you will likely begin to feel sick.

You’ll feel sick enough to want to see a doctor. The local people living in an area where malaria is common or endemic are quite familiar with the symptoms and may tell you that it seems that you have malaria.

Anyway, you should see a doctor right away. The doctor or the lab technician or phlebotomist obtains a blood sample from you and examines it under the microscope. Malaria is diagnosed if the parasites are identified in your blood.

What it feels like when you have malaria

Malaria is no joke. For some reason, mosquitoes love me. I used to suffer from malaria a lot when I lived in Nigeria and more recently, a few years ago when I was in Ghana and Nigeria.

Let me tell you what it feels like when you have malaria, and why you do not want to get it.

At the beginning of this episode I asked you to imagine you had the worst flu imaginable. When you have malaria, this worst flu feeling is just the tip of the iceberg of how bad you will feel.

First after you have been bitten by an infected mosquito, but you won’t even know that you have any problem until about 7–10 days later when you start having a bad headache. Then you have a fever — and it can actually be a high fever. You get the chills and you shiver. And then you sweat. You feel hot, you feel cold. Sometimes hot and cold at the same time. You are weak. You have nausea and sometimes you vomit. Sometimes you have diarrhea. Sometimes you have both. You can hardly move. Your body aches all over. You just feel absolutely miserable.

And then miraculously, after a day or so, there is a lull in the misery and you begin to feel a tiny bit better. Your fever seems to have reduced a little, and you begin to think that you’re getting better. But, then the whole thing starts all over again. But now, you are even weaker than you were when the symptoms first started.

I used to also become a bit jaundiced and the whites of my eyes would look yellow and that had to do with what the parasites were doing in my liver as it progressed through its lifecycle within my bloodstream. As a result of all that is going on, you can even become anemic.

Complications can arise especially if malaria is not treated quickly. It can attack the brain. It can kill by causing breathing or pulmonary problems. Sometimes the complications can lead to organ failure.

Even after recovering from a bout of malaria, you can feel sick and weak for quite some time — weeks even.

Malaria can be treated, but it has to be treated promptly. There are a lot of anti-malarial drugs available, but I’m not going to mention the names of drugs here because I am not a doctor, but your doctor will let you know.

Where malaria is endemic

I mentioned earlier that there are some regions of the world where malaria is endemic. Those areas are countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, that is, the regions of Africa below the Sahara Desert.

You can also find this pest of a parasite in Southeast Asia, South America, the Caribbean and the Middle East.

Some people have asked if malaria is contagious. The answer is no. It is not. You can’t get malaria from someone who has it. The only way you can get malaria is by being bitten by an infected female anopheles mosquito, or by an infected blood transfusion, or passed on to an unborn child by an infected mother, or through an organ transplant.

So what can you do?

Is there a way to prevent malaria? Well, there are some things you can do to reduce your chances of getting malaria.

Follow health guidelines. Check with your doctor or travel clinic. Let them know that you’ll be traveling to a country where malaria is endemic. Your doctor will likely give you a prescription for an anti-malarial drug. Most times, the medicine has to be taken a few days before you travel, every day during your visit, and for several days after you return home.

But what if you didn’t get a prescription for antimalarial medication before you left for your trip? In this case, chances are, you can purchase anti-malarial drugs sold in clinics and pharmacies in the country you visit. I know that this is the case in Nigeria and Ghana.

So yes, you can get the medicines in the country you visit, but you have to be very careful where you buy medicines when you travel abroad anywhere. The U.S. has stringent standards and regulations when it comes to drug manufacturing and sales, and I am sure that other countries do too, but I cannot vouch for those countries.

It’s always best to get the medication in advance of travel. If you are in the U.S. just get the medication before you leave.

Other than medication, what can you do to minimize your chances of getting malaria? Here are some options. Try to sleep under mosquito nets in rooms where there are no screens on the windows. Stay in hotels, air BnBs and guest houses that have screened windows.

You can also spray mosquito repellent in the rooms before you go to bed. Spray the bedroom, close it off and then leave the room for some time, at least for an hour, before going to bed.

You can wear shirts or blouses with long sleeves and trousers or long skirts or dresses. You want to cover up as much of your bare skin as possible, especially in the evenings.

You can spray your clothes and skin with mosquito repellent specially made to be applied to fabric or directly on the skin, if you are comfortable doing so.

Following these precautionary measures will significantly lower your risk of getting malaria during your trip, leaving you free to stay healthy and enjoy your trip.

Do yourself a favor

So if you are traveling to any country where malaria is endemic, please do yourself a favor, see your doctor or travel clinic personnel before you travel, get anti-malarial medication prescribed and take it as prescribed. Trust me. You don’t want to get sick with malaria while you are on vacation and far away from home.

For more detailed information about malaria, check out the CDC’s Malaria FAQs: https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/about/faqs.html, and also more information for travelers https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/travelers/index.html.

So that’s it for now, my friends. Until next time, stay safe and be happy. Bye for now.

Has your U.S. Passport Expired?       DepositPhoto


If you are a U.S. citizen living abroad and you need to travel back home but your passport has expired, there may be a way for you to do so.

A memo published by the U.S. State Department on December 28, 2021 stated that U.S. citizens living abroad whose passports expired on or after January 1, 2020 can travel home using their expired passport.

This temporary measure is available only until March 31, 2022 and was created in response to the backlog in processing passport applications for new passports, as well as renewal of passports, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

You may be eligible to return home using your expired passport if you meet the following required conditions:

  1. You are a U.S. citizen
  2. You live abroad and want to travel back to the U.S.
  3. You are flying directly back to the U.S. or U.S. territory, or have a short layover in a foreign country for a connecting flight on your way back to the U.S.
  4. Your expired passport was originally valid for 10 years, or if you were 15 years or younger when your passport was issued and your expired passport was valid for 5 years
  5. You are traveling back to the U.S. by March 31, 2022

If you meet all of these conditions, then this might be the best way to go home. Please check out the U.S. State Department memo before making any travel arrangements, just to make sure that nothing has changed.

Here is another article you may be interested in reading. Ready to Travel But Is Your Passport Ready?

Safe travels.


Is it time to renew your passport?  Depositphotos


People are beginning to venture out again and you are feeling more secure and confident about traveling too. In fact, you are definitely ready to travel, but is your passport ready? This article refers to renewing a U.S. passport.

Ready to go

You’ve begun flipping through articles and glossy brochures and visiting websites about exciting places you’ve been wanting to visit, You are thinking that now is the time.  Maybe you’ve have gone so far as to block off time to travel and starting to check out flights, fares and amazing tour opportunities all over the world, some at incredible bargain prices. Perhaps you want to indulge in a luxurious vacation getaway or embark on an African safari.

You are so ready to go.  But there’s one thing  you might have overlooked. Your passport.  Is it travel ready?

This exact question popped into my mind one night when I was lying in bed, right at the point of drifting off, and it chased all thoughts of sleep away. I  bolted up, now wide awake, got out of bed and checked my passport.

I was aghast. My passport is set to expire soon and at the same time, I am getting ready to travel again soon.

Can’t leave the country without a passport

So most of us know that in order to travel internationally, you need a valid passport. But, do you know that most countries require that you have enough blank pages in your passport for visas and immigration entry and departure stamps? A visa alone takes up one entire page. So if you are going to be traveling  a lot, it is advisable to have at least six blank pages in your passport booklet.

Do you also know that you can be denied entry into a country if your passport expires in less than six months after your departure date from the country you want to visit?

When I checked my passport, I realized two important things.  One, my passport has less than six blank pages. Two, my passport is expiring close to the time that I want to travel.

Does any of this sound familiar to you, or is the case with you and your passport? Here is what you should do to avoid any nasty little surprises when you are ready to travel.

Apply for a new passport as soon as possible.  Why? Because processing time, as of the date of this article, is taking a long time.

I knew that I could pick up a passport application at my local library. Approved public libraries are among some of the facilities authorized to accept or assist applicants with passport application. Other acceptance facilities include the United States Post Office and approved public universities.

I wasn’t ready to do the paperwork when I visited the library, so I just asked for the form. I spoke with one of the women working at the desk and told her that I travel a lot and hope to travel soon.  Her advice was that I apply as soon as possible because of the length of time it is taking to process applications.  Well, how long is it taking? I asked.  Up to eighteen weeks, she informed me.  What?

Steps to take now

Here is what to know about processing time. Routine renewal processing time is about eighteen weeks and will cost you $110.  If you complete your application yourself and mail it in, that is how much it will cost you, not including the cost of your passport photo and mailing cost.  You will need a passport photo. Passport photos vary in cost, depending on where you get the photos taken.

If you decide to complete your application at a passport acceptance facility, in addition to the $110 that you will pay for routine processing, you will need to pay the facility a separate fee of $35.

If eighteen weeks is too long for you to wait for a new passport, you can choose to expedite your application process.  In this case, processing time is more like twelve weeks and will cost an additional $60.

Passport booklets usually contain 24 pages, but if you do a lot of traveling, you may want to request a 52 page booklet.  It does not cost extra.

When it comes to payment, you can only pay by check or money order. Cash, credit and debit card payments are not accepted. Checks are to be made out to: U.S. Department of State.

For the most complete, accurate and up-to-date official information about renewing your U.S. passport, please visit: travel.state.gov.

So, if you are ready to travel soon, now is the time examine your passport to make sure that when you are ready to travel, your passport will be ready to travel too.









Flying in to Kotoka International Airport, Accra, Ghana  


Ghana is quickly becoming one of the most popular destinations for visitors to West Africa. Here are some of the reasons why.



Okay, this one is a no-brainer. Wherever we travel, the country has to be safe and stable!



With the popularity of DNA tests and tracing of ancestors, many People of African Descent are identifying areas of Africa as the land of their ancestors. The area of current day Ghana is one of those places. Thousands feel an ancestral pull to the land. The Central Region of Ghana holds a particular place of reverence to African-Americans due to the presence of UNESCO World Heritage sites: Cape Coast and Elmina Slave Castles and Dungeons through whose Doors of No Return, millions of enslaved Africans were taken during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade era.



A little smaller than the State of Oregon, Ghana is one beautiful country!  From stunning pristine beaches and swaying coconut trees, to lush verdant rainforests, cascading waterfalls, lakes, rivers, mountains and hills, Ghana has it all.



Ghana, home to over 28 million people, is comprised of a variety of ethnic groups, all living in harmony, and each adding their unique cultural traditions to the splendid tapestry of the Ghanaian people and country.



The Ghanaian government makes it easy to travel to the country.  All you need is a single or multiple-entry visa, and they are easy to obtain. It’s also easy to extend your visit in Ghana by renewing your visa while still in the country.

Because of its reputation and strategic location in West Africa, Ghana is accessible by most international airlines



This one is my favorites and it is true. The people of Ghana are among the world’s friendliest and most welcoming.” Akwaaba!” is a word you hear everywhere, starting right from arrival at Kotoka International Airport in Ghana, and it means, “Welcome!”


Call or email us today to learn more about planning a trip to Ghana!



Heading to Nigeria

May, 2021 – I arrived in Lagos, Nigeria from Accra, Ghana aboard Air Peace Airlines. Emerging into the sunshine, I walked down the metallic steps and joined my fellow travelers walking the short distance to the terminal building. Here is a little information about Nigeria’s Covid-19 safety measures at Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos and what you can expect.

If you are a traveler with physical disabilities, or sore stiff knees, you will need to arrange for wheelchair assistance when you book your flight.  I say this because in addition to walking down the steps pushed up to the door of the aircraft, you’ll have to walk up two flights of steps once you enter the building, and then down another flight of stairs to get to the immigration area.

There is an escalator but sometimes it’s not working. Even for people without  physical challenges, carrying a few bags up and down those stairs can be quite challenging in itself.

If you do not know what to do or where to go, follow the crowd and this will take you to the immigration area.

As of this writing, masks are required. Your temperature will be taken by airport staff as you enter the terminal. Then you’ll join a line where your documents will undergo preliminary screening.

​​Prior to departure from your country of origin, no earlier than 72 hours before your flight, you must take a Covid-19-PCR test and receive a negative result.

You will also need to fill out the Travel Permit to Enter Nigeria form. I was not aware that I had to do this until I was asked for the confirmation form at the Air Peace counter in Accra when I arrived to check in for my flight. I was allowed to check in and advised to complete and submit the form online at the gate, which I could do on my phone using the airport WIFI.

While filling out the form, there was a section where I could prepay for a Covid-19 PCR test in Nigeria. Even though I did not fill this out this section, I received confirmation of the travel permit to enter Nigeria within minutes of submitting the form.

For more information, check here:

https://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng/onboarding/homepage, www.travelportal@ncdc.gov.ng, and www.covid19.ncdc.gov.ng

When you arrive at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, your documents will be screened. Some officials may make it sound like you must register right there at the airport and pre-pay for the Covid-19 Test that you are required to take seven days after arriving in Nigeria, but you do not have to. You can choose to take the test in seven days and pay the lab directly at that time.

You should be aware that travelers to Nigeria are required to self-quarantine at their place of residence for 7 days and then take a Covid-19 test at a government approved lab. Your test result will be automatically sent to immigration. I paid 50,400 naira for the test, which is equivalent to approximately $123.00.

Having evidence of your negative COVID result and travel entry permit, if you have it, on your phone is okay, however, I would still suggest that you have a printed copy of them.

After your documents are screened, you will be directed to an immigration line. I waited 30 minutes in line for immigration check.  This was the longest part of the process. Once I reached the immigration counter, the process took just five minutes.

Then I could to go to the baggage claim area. Luckily for me, I only had a medium-sized suitcase and one small carry on item.  I could manage without help.

​People will offer to help you with your luggage, but if you don’t require assistance, a courteous and firm “no thank you” will suffice.  If you do require help, you should be prepared to give a tip.

Here’s one more thing. If you are traveling to Nigeria any time soon, be aware that the international airport in Lagos is currently undergoing some renovations and the usual passenger pickup area has been moved. So ask around to find out where to wait outside if someone is coming to pick you up.

There will be numerous people milling around outside asking if you need a taxi. If you need to take a taxi, ask your friends or host in Nigeria beforehand on how to go about doing that, and how much you should pay so that you don’t get charged an astronomical price because your are a foreigner.

It can all seem a bit hectic, or even chaotic at first glance, but really, there is a certain order to everything. The important thing is to just go with the flow and ask questions. You’ll find that Nigerians are generally welcoming and helpful.

And that is about it. You’ll be okay. Welcome to Nigeria!