I first met Mike on the last week of July. 8 of us from around the country had come together in Toronto for our one week training session… our preparation to be Professional Fellows. We had long sessions, but we also got to know each other at outdoor concerts and through grilled cheese lunches on the street by the EWB National Office. Before July, the only thing I knew about Mike was that he worked for TransCanada. We had talked as a group on Skype and Facebook, but never one-on-one. Originally he was placed with another venture (project), so I figured I would only see him as much as the other EWB staff in Ghana, but that all soon changed. Mike and I soon found out that we were both placed at MBC in Accra, and would be spending a lot of time together! Mike and I worked in the same office, lived together, went to the same gym, and had a lot of the same friends… basically we were almost always together!
When Mike was in Tamale in August (during the same time I got evicted), he went to the clinic and was diagnosed with Typhoid. Now apparently everyone who goes there has Typhoid, so Typhoid is either super common in Tamale or that is their favourite diagnosis. Ever since then he hadn’t been feeling well and had been taking antibiotics and frequenting the clinics for tests. When I got back from South Africa at the end of September, Mike was feeling really crappy, and he decided he wanted to go to the hospital. The hospitals here are very open concept, and the opposite of what I would think when I picture what “sterile” looks like, since you have to walk outside to get from reception to the doctors room, to the wards, etc. You also have to pay cash up-front, which feels super weird as a Canadian!
The hospital decided he would get an IV to re-hydrate him, get some antibiotics, and stay at least one night. However, the nurses didn’t do a great job with the IV. They couldn’t get it in, and then when they did his blood started pouring onto the floor, it was quite a horrible sight! Thankfully he was fine, they put him in a bed, some friends came with some food and snacks, and I left for the night. Monday morning I went back to visit, and it became my routine to work from home and try to visit every day around noon and then again in the evening. It’s hard to be sick alone, and I didn’t want him feeling forgotten about. Plus I had to bring clothes, food, etc. from home… so many taxi rides!
Many phone calls back home (to work, family, friends, and insurance) later and it was decided he should be sent home. I could tell he was bummed out, but he thought it would be best for his own physical well-being. On Wednesday he was discharged and we packed up his stuff together. He got a chance to say goodbye to some of the friends he made here, and by Thursday night he was on a flight back to Canada. Thankfully he was not quarantined in Europe or Canada (we were worried someone might freak out about Ebola since he was obviously sick – he had no voice). Thankfully he made it back okay and was able to get medical treatment back in Alberta.
It’s weird to be here without him. I still have the same place and the same job but there’s an empty room where he used to sleep, and an empty chair where he used to sit at the office. We didn’t always get along, but it was always nice to have someone to talk to, and someone to enjoy activities with. I miss ya dude.
So I know I speak for all the Pro F’s when I say, “We’re sorry to see you go. We’ll miss you, and it sucks that your experience was cut short. But we’re glad you got to be a part of this program, we’re lucky to have met you. We’ll see you again in Canada – hopefully at conference!”