Food Poisoning in Togo

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I am fine, I feel better, however, my brain is stationary and who knows, if I start walking around I could feel either better or worst. I think my body is fighting something that was not suppose to enter.



I think canned vegetables are making me sick here in West Africa.

I woke yesterday, packed my bags and took a collective taxi from Atakpame to Lome, Togo. By the time I arrived I could hardly move. I went to my normal room and lay down on the bed. I barely moved for 20 hours, all day, all night, I was having a mass attack of lethargy. I had a fever, but for some strange reason I stopped sweating, I was dry, but I was burping a lot.

First Sickness in Africa
Africa appears to make me sick, one time in Niger I was delusional and achy for three days and it took two month for the weakness to end. I flew from Niger to Cote d’Ivoire, and finally decide to fly to Thailand.

Second Sickness in Africa
Bamako, Mail, I was extremely sick, lied in bed, could not move, and finally flew to Thailand.

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Lome, West Africa --- Wednesday, December 1, 2010


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I have vowed to stay in Africa this time, even though I feel the doctor and medical situation here is the worst on the planet. This is the third time I believe I have some type of food poisoning in Africa. This time appears to be a minor case, I was reading about Botulism poisoning and the paralysis aspect describes how I feel exactly.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botulism



I do not get sick often; mainly because I normally eat street food from vendors that obviously are doing a lot of businesses. My theory, which has kept me safe for years, is this,
"I do not eat leftover inventory."

I want to see the food being cooked, which translated means I eat a street vendors. I seldom eat in restaurants where there is a kitchen not seen by me, and almost never in tourist restaurants. Second is the street vendor must have a lively business, there must be people consuming the food fast, whereby there is no leftover inventory.

I Violated the Leftover Inventory Rule
I have been eating canned vegetables, and I feel this is the problem. I have been looking closely at the cans here in West Africa, many have dents and rust, I was thinking the other day, the Lebanese could ship down damaged cans from Europe, and then sell them here.

Bottom line is this; there is no clear way to know how long the canned vegetables have been sitting on shelves. Expirations dates, blah blah blah, this is Africa.

I will give up eating canned vegetables, this is going to make my life complicated, and I will have to buy raw vegetable, soak in chlorine water. Sadly, restaurants on the planet have almost completely stopped serving vegetables.

Hmm, at least I can stop carrying this electric hot plate, which takes up a lot of room.

Food Poisoning in Togo

Asiabill

Sorry to hear you're sick especially as you are alone without any friendly face to help cheer you up nor nurse you back to health. I guess such sickness often goes along with the "adventure" destinations you chose while you wer in Guatemala / Latin America. I'm sure Africa must be the main dumping grounds for all inferior products, foodstuffs , fake auto parts, fertilizers, poisons, appliances and machines.

I haven't been taking vitamin supplements since running out this past July in Vietnam and have noticed in recent weeks my energy level is lower than usual. I had a weird bothersome health problem last year which lasted nearly a year and nothing the doctors prescribed seem to work or cure the condition so I started experimenting and stopped taking my one aspirin everyday or two and the condition cleared up. But since then I haven't had any blood tests etc so maybe my other #s aren't as healthy. So today with a new supply of vitamins bought on sale in Honolulu at Walmart and Longs I filled my plastic weekly pill box. Time will tell in the next few days if I feel more energetic and "youthful".

TAKE IT EASY ANDY and TAKE CARE of yourself. GET WELL SOON! Bill


Gadget

Hissing noise, wow, I thought normal.

I do not enjoy cooking, and if I wish I can use alcohol as fuel. I am slowly giving up the Americanism of not asking for help. I have learned I can walk up to women and ask,
"Will you cook this."

In Africa men do not cook, except in restaurants, and they feel I need help Go figure why men cook in restaurants.


Pato

I agree strongly with Robert.

I generally get fresh vegetables, wash them with antibacterial soap, rinse them well, and then cook in boiled water.

I generally make a lot of soups or pasta (just toss the vegetables in the water with the cooking pasta).

I agree strongly about avoiding vegetable from restaurants -- a quick glance at their prep/ storage methods is enough to realize that they are little time bombs of sickness. I have no idea if what is bring brought out to me has been washed well enough (or washed at all) and I like to have an idea about that which I put into my body.

Good to hear that you are feeling better.

Walk Slow,

Wade


TravelingArtist

Hi Andy! I need some advice. I'm an avid traveler, and I like to think that I'm pretty smart with my money when booking flights- but after reading your page on 'round the world travel and airfare...I've decided I can do a whole lot better!

My goal is to travel Africa. Ultimately, I'll be departing from Toronto, Canada but am willing to travel to any other city (LA, BC, NYC) in order to find the cheapest airfare to the continent. I am also willing to begin my journey anywhere in Africa, although (if I had a choice), I'd love to do so in Ethiopia or Senegal/Guinea.

Any suggestions about this?

In addition, I want to avoid the packaged "adventure" tours if I can however, as a 5'1 blonde, I'm a bit hesitant to do this trip solo. So, break it down for me- is it safe? I'm aware that one can find themselves in a dangerous situation anywhere in the world, but unfortunately, being a woman -especially a petite one- can present some problems at times...and I've experienced these first hand (with no unfortunate consequences thankfully).

Have you ever tried these "GAP" or "Intrepid" overland tours through Africa? If so, are they any good- or do they alienate the travelers from the locals?

Thank you very much for your help- love your blog.
You rock!!!!!
Deanna


Gadget

Deanna, this type of answer would be better on the proper subject, the (New) around the world airfare page, you can comment on the bottom and I can reply.
http://www.hobotraveler.com/around-the-world-airfare/index.php


Motorcycle Bob

Andy wrote: "Hissing noise, wow, I thought normal."

many cans hiss inward when you open them. THAT is normal. Canned food should be in a bit of a vacuum as the food is canned hot, then it cools.

If it hisses OUT, you have a problem. Sometimes you can tell if it is OK by looking at the ends of the can, they should be flat or bow inward a little.

But of course, this is Africa, who knows.