Zé's contact in Ghana:
When the Brazilian José Geraldo de Souza Castro, 51, who is making a trip in a pedal go-kart (buit especially for the trip by the dutch company Berg Toys) from Paris to Johannesburg, where he will be present to attend the first World Soccer Cup in the African Continent, in 2010, decided to change the heat of Western Africa for the rain of the coast, he did not imagine the constant tropical rains and gales in his new chosen path. Worse… he did not imagine that he would be bitten by the feared female of the Anopheles mosquito and would become the newest malaria victim!
Pedal Joe run over... by a mosquito!
Since he has reached the coast, via the Ivory Coast, constant rain fills the environmentalist's day. Last Friday, the 19th, a large storm near Accra, the capital of Ghana, left several dead, homeless, and completely destroyed streets.
As soon as he felt the symptoms of malaria last Monday, the 22nd, Zé immediately started the treatment and now is housed in a hotel in the city of Tema where he is just resting. “In truth I do not know at which exact moment I contracted the illness… on Friday I participated in the aid to the victims of the flood in the locality of Malan, so I thought that the pains in the body and the head had their origin in that one drawn out exposition in rain. But when I was walking and felt the body softening, I took 5 steps in the direction of a place to sit down, had a collapse for maybe 5 seconds, and was certain that I had contracted malaria… I looked for medical assistance immediately and I am already slowly recovering. The diagnosis indicated that I was infected with the parasite Plasmodium falciparum, the most lethal of the four species of agents that cause malaria in man”.
Pedal Joe, member of the Lions Club of Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil, has been participating in many activities in conjunction with each of the Clubs of the countries that he visits.
In Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on the 26th of May, he was received by the members of the Lions Club Calao. In Ghana, on the 8th of June, he joined with the members of the Lions Club “Twin City” of the city of Tacoradi; on the 11th, he was given a reception by the CCLL of the Lions Club Crystal, of the city of Cape Coast. The 12th of June he participated, at the invitation of some members of the Ghanean Lionism, in the inauguration of the “Tema Lions Club Eye Care Center”.
The center, which is located inside the installations of the Hospital (the largest in the country) of the city of Tema (35kms to the east of the country's capital, Accra), was inaugurated by the Internacional President Al Brandel during his official visit to Ghana. Present at the inauguration were the members of all Ghana's Clubs, Ghana's Minister of Health, Dr. Sypa-Adjah Yankey, the Archbishop Justice Akrofi, the Ambassador of South Corea, and other municipal authorities.
In his intervention, the President of the Lions Club of Tema, Clement Torsutse, informed the assembly that “the Eye Care Center is an answer to the appeal of Hellen Keller, in 1925, to the members of the Lions Clubs to methamorphose themselves into Vision Knights, and today, we are happy to deliver to the community the largest and best equipped Eye Care Center in Western Africa, with an approximated cost of 650.000 dollars”. He also took the opportunity to give special thanks to the Ghanean citizen, native of Korea, Kofi Yim, whose contribution of more than 200,000 dollars allowed to endow the center with ultramodern equipment. He followed with an homage to the korean citizen by presenting him with the title of "Honorary Lion".
Invited to speak, Pedal Joe reminded the assembly of the important work that the Lions carry out in the combat against blindness (through the Campaign Sight First) throughout the 4 corners of the World, principally Cataract, Glaucoma and Oncocercosis, which the LCIF has pledged to eradicate in Africa until the year 2020. “The Lions is the largest Non-Governmental Organization in the World, with an outstanding presence in more than 200 countries and regions, with almost 1.5 million members. Each one carrying his own brick for the construction of a better world. It's works like this one that give us the measure that we are on the right path”, emphasized the CL.
“The construction of the Centre, prepared to receive 1500 patients per week, and with the capacity to carry out 30 operations every day, began to “come out of the paper” with 50 dollar donations from each member of the Ghanean Lionism, and with donations from society at large. The Leo Clube showed its nails and donated bags of cement and eye-catching wall clocks that will adorn the premisses, and will perpetuate the presence of our boys”.
The ceremonial was conducted by CaL Mary Nyarko. CaL Baaba Hudson led the Lions' prayer. Welcoming Words were offered by CL President Clement Torsutse. The musical interval was provided by the CCLL Nana Okuampah and Nana Adei Duah Brempong.
On Saturday, the 13th, he participated in an event in Accra, coordinated by the CL Willian Sam, Regional President, of the Leaders' Seminar, and last Wednesday, the 24th, he reached Tema where he assisted at the ceremony of endowement of the new directorship.
Pedal Joe will remain in the city until the 30th, recovering from the 'aggression' of the malaria transmitting mosquito, then he will continue on to Lomé, capital of the Togolese Republic.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 40% of the world's population (around 2,4 billion) coexists with the risk of malaria infection in more than 90 countries – the African continent being at the fore-front, with nearly 300 million affected (which results in 1 million deaths) each year, representing the second most common cause of death in the continent.
Malaria reaches man through the prick of the female of the Anopheles mosquito. Altogether, four types of Plasmodium can cause the disease: P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale and P. malariae. Plasmodium vivax, in the last 10 years, has become responsible for the largest number of cases of malaria.