Africa: Getting Shot With Yellow Fever (Our Trip To Grand Rapids To Recieve Immunization)

My missions trip to Africa is only a month away which means me and the team had to get our shots! I’ve missed a few normal shots since I haven’t been to the doctor in awhile so got those all done locally at the health department but there was one rare immunization we needed…

Right now in Africa, there is a Yellow Fever outbreak so it is mandatory that all travelers receive immunizations for the fever. Since Yellow Fever is uncommon in America, not many clinics carry the immunization. The closest location for us to recieve the shot is Grand Rapids, Michigan!

Before The Shot

The night before I got my shot, I just couldn’t get to sleep! Ever have one of those nights?? I wasn’t nervous about the shot, I just kept tossing and turning. I pet my pupper, Huntlie, every time I moved and she was in a different position every time so I was probably keeping her up too! Out of the 3 hours and 45 minutes of possible sleep I could have gotten, it felt like only one of those hours were spent asleep. (I have to get up at 4:30am for work).

I ended up hesitantly rolling out of my comfy bed, throwing on the outfit I had in mind. Want to know what I chose?

SEE BELOW– for those interested, I will link my outfit at the end! (sorry for those who may not be into fashion reading this lol):

I worked from 5am-7:15am at the YMCA, leaving early so I could meet the gang to get shot up together! I am going to Africa with the coolest people! My head pastor, who will be helping with drug abuse in Nigeria and the sweetest, happiest lady in our church are going with me!

On the drive to Grand Rapids, we joked, laughed, and came up with questions we were going to ask the organization director, Peter, who was going to call on our way home.

At The Health Department

After checking in, we waited for our names to be called and all 3 of us piled into a room with the nicest and most knowledgeable nurse! She informed us on what to look out for while there, travel tips, and our past medical records before giving us our immunizations.

Some things I learned while in the consultation were:

》Carry your passport in a protected bag that prevents others from reading your passport chip, stealing your identity.

Sign up for S.T.E.P. (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) which is a “free service to allow U.S. Citizens/nationals traveling abroad to enroll with the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate.” (Visit for more) They inform/warn you of happenings or weather in your region of travel along with other perks.

》The Yellow Fever immunization is made using an embryo of an egg so she asked us if we had egg allergies.

》You can buy “permethrin pre-wash” from Amazon or any sports store like Dunham’s to wash your clothes in for repelling mosquitos! (It’s only like $8)

Do not eat anything outside your organization. Fruit with a covering like an orange is most likely ok to eat but sometimes they infuse oranges with water making them appear larger. The water they infuse could have parasites or other harmful organisms so we need to be careful.

》Wearing close toed shoes is a good idea in case the dirt contains harmful substances. (Especially in the “drug jungles” where pastor will be).

》We NEED our Yellow Fever, yellow cards to enter Africa and return to the US since there us an outbreak there. (We received them after our shot)

》You dont need deet higher than 35% (anything over that is just as productive but lower percentage is better for your skin) for mosquito repellent.

Those are the main tips she gave us that were helpful to know. She also gave us a folder containing even more info about Nigeria. See below:

Once she ran over everything with us, she gave me my shot first. Yep, I was first. The guinea pig! It didn’t hurt much at all. It was quick and she gave it while we were joking around. The nurse said that we got along so well that we were going to have so much fun together in Africa!

Julie was next and she had no reaction either. Same with Pastor Marc. I wanted to film the shots but was only able to take a picture. I did get some footage beforehand that will be in my Africa Travel Vlog.

After The Shot

We all were fine right after the shot! We were hungry though. On our drive back to the church in Stevensville, we stopped at Arby’s to eat. I got a lamb gyro with curly fries! If you’ve never had a gyro from Arby’s, you NEED to try one! They are delicious and addicting!

While we were eating, Peter, who is with the organization in Nigeria, called. He went to Nigeria 20 years ago and found out he was called to stay with his family. We asked a bunch of questions and he had answers!

We found out more about our trip like:

After we arrive at the airport in Abuja (capital of Nigeria) we look for a man with a huge smile named Amos, who will be driving us.

This is Amos:

●There will be bag handlers to help us with our luggage so Amos will tip them. Cool!

●We are going to stay at a hotel-like place on the first night to avoid traveling at night (Nigeria has a curfew for all who live/visit there)

At this hotel, they do our laundry, take our order and pick up food for us after traveling for 18 hours on a plane (with a 6 hour layover in Germany)

●Thoughout the week we will be doing a little bit of everything since it’s our first time visiting from our church

Me and Julie will be focusing on being with the orphans at a few different sites inside and outside the city of Jos, Nigeria. The orphanages separate the kids by age so we will get to be with a variety of kids!

● We are able to throw parties at ALL the orphanages by wiring over only $200, which covers soda, food, and prizes for the kids!

●We will also visit the medical site, the widows, the prostitutes, the refugees, prisoners (jail ministry), the substance abusers, and the homeless! We got to choose where we wanted to go and we decided to try and go to all the sites so we can experience it all to let others know for future missions.

Woman have to wear long skirts, shirts with sleeves, and a head scarf during worship services. I got some pretty ones, including an animal print one, from H&M!

Men have to wear non-jean pants (khakis) with a collared shirt while out ministering

● We get to choose if we want to eat Nigerian food or American

● There arnt many animals left there due to the Nigerians hunting them but there is an animal rescue similar to a zoo that we can visit

● There are pretty sites we will see while traveling to our sites like a plateau and rock formations

Here is a map of Nigeria so you know where I’ll be:

ABUJA: The capital where we fly into

JOS: Where we are staying for the week and where some orphanages are

PLATEAU: We may be doing some exploring and sight seeing there

It was exciting learning about our mission! We were stoked after talking with him!

We got back to the church in 3 pieces (Get it? There were 3 of us! lol) and went our separate ways. I had to get home to take my pup, Huntlie to the vet for her shots and bloodwork! She is just like me on 4 legs, as our dog sitter says! She’s not lying!

Later that evening I got weak so I took a nap and developed a fever from the shot. Since I play slow pitch softball on Monday nights, I took some Advil and played the game. I play catcher and I ended up getting on base twice! My sister ran for me since that wore me out just hitting and getting on base. I slept good that night!

After a couple days of taking it easy, for the most part, I feel normal. I had a slight cold before the shot so otherwise i might not have had any trouble. Julie and Pastor Marc were fine without any side effects.

This has been our Yellow Fever shot adventure! Stay tuned for more!!!

Let me know if you want to know more about our trip! If you would like to donate and become a sponsor, let me know! I have $700 out of $2,000 left to raise for the trip OR you can donate to help fund parties for the orphan kids! Of course, we REALLY NEED PRAYER as we reach those who need reached and grow our hearts through this experience.

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Like promised above, here are links to my outfit (Tap the pic to shop):

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