The guinea worm is due to inflection usually through ingestion of the nematode called Dracunculus medinensis this disease is extremely painful to those that are affected by the illness. The parasite travels through the body and then tries to pierce the skin often in the lower appendages of the infected person. it is prevalent in Africa and Central Asia. The parasitic worm lives within drinking water of the people in these areas usually the neighboring ponds and lakes. For those living in countries in these areas going to get the day’s water can serve as a social event. It is a chance for the women of the village to get together and walk down to the lake and gather water. This is a similar to how in developed countries like the US mother will grocery shop together to catch up and gossip about things going on in the town. Water is also viewed as a source of life for civilizations. Water is something your body needs to keep going. You use water to cook, bathe, wash clothing, etc. These lakes can also be seen has a lavatory for some villagers which means that the water is not the pure life source the locals view it as. In Ghana, and other West African countries getting access to clean filter drinking water such as that you buy at the grocery store is not an option. It is too expensive and often not store nearby due to the lack of widespread urbanization. In other countries such as India, that have development methods of irrigating water to the rural areas there has been the development of gangs that attempt to regulate the access to the water taking as much money from families as possible. During the Jimmy Carter administration an effort was started to eradicate this water borne parasite and its associated illness.
I decided to take a look at the work the anthropologist Bernhard Bierlich who was studying the belief systems of northern Ghanaians and how that was affecting their inflection with Guinea Worm disease. Most importantly he wanted to know how they people would feel about their water being treated with chemicals to kill the parasite to that they would be able to ingest the water. He found that the people believed the water was not the source of their sickness but in fact it was something that was a part of the human body and that getting the illness was not something that you could easily avoid. Which I thought was interested because it showed just how common the disease was in the area that they felt they were bound to get it.