Monday, June 23, 2008

Sick in Africa

I looked at the date of the last posting and really couldn't believe it. It's been over 10 days since I last wrote something. Somewhere in my mind, I think that all the things I see through my eyes, somehow make it to you all, without me writing anything.

I was really sick the last 24 hours. Welcome to Africa. (I say that a helps me keep my humor) Who knows why or what I encountered to make me sick, you just live with it. People told me to expect to get sick every now and then, so I guess it was time. I've been here for a month and the nurse said all my US immunities have probably worn off by now. It's no fun being sick alone. I was so sick that I started to wonder if there was perhaps something seriously wrong with me, but by the start of the 2nd day I felt better, although weak. The nurse said I can go 2 days being very sick before I need to worry or take medicine. Thanks for that!

For those of you looking for a good book to read, pick up White Man's Grave by Richard Dooling. It's a novel, but it's based on actual events. The book is about a Peace Corps volunteer who goes missing in Sierra Leone and the best friend and father who go looking for him. The book has lots of history of SL and local customs. It will help you get familiar with this country. On or about page 166, there is a story about the first time the friend gets sick in Africa. Let's just say he describes it well.

Here are some personal messages to see who's reading my blog, and also some recent perceptions of being here:

Vilma: It was so great to finally be able to run again for the first time in a month...and on the beach no less! I ran about 2 miles and walked a mile or so. I got way way overheated because we ran at noon and I think the temp was about 85 with the humidity at least that. All that running might be the reason I got so sick on Sunday. I probably over-did-it. However, I DID manage to pay volleyball and water frisbee on Sunday before I got sick.

Pam: I got your two postcards today. We only get mail about every two weeks. It was so nice to get your cards! If you want to have fun, you can send me some US stamps and stationary and I will write you and your Dad. There are no stamps here and I am running out. Greeting cards are also pretty difficult to come by, so if you get a hand-made birthday greeting, that's why.

Regina: I really really miss our manicures! I have only found one girl to do them here, and she does not do acrylic nails. So my beautiful nails are going to crap. I would love it if you would send me some nail polish because I will probably have to start doing them myself. The girl I found is also unreliable because she does not have a car. Again, welcome to third world! If you want to do the mailing, just send cotton balls, clear base coat, and a couple of bottles of light pink. I'm not as daring as you with the reds! As Pam for my address.....

Regina 2: How are the renters doing? Is the house back in MLS for lease? Any leads yet? Oh, and how is the pie shop? YUM>>>>>>>

Angela, Ryan, Laura: Someone write soon! I'm going to deduct mommy points if I don't hear from one of you.

Laura: I'm waiting for your care package. We got mail today, but it was only letters and bills. I'm hoping the package will be here soon. Oh, the reason you never got your NYT is because they would not allow it to be mailed to a PO box and for some reason the street address of your old apartment did not come up on their records as a "place for delivery." I guess you are not smart enough in Millerton to receive the NYT.

Ryan: I have an IRS letter to mail to you about your tax surplus check from President Bush. Have you gotten your $$ yet? Also, you have a subscription to "The Week" to renew. If you don't want it, I DO! We can get magazines here; albeit two weeks late. But I have determined that late news is preferable to no news. (this coming from a daily reader of the NYT, I know.)

Angela: Have you gotten your birthday card yet?

Allison: No, your package has not arrived yet either. Does it have any Pico in it??? I can't have it right now since I've been sick but.....

Allan and Rachael and Roy: The adventure is even more daring and exciting than I imagined. Every day I look out the car windows and see things you would not believe. I probably already wrote some of them, but really, the poverty is so prevalent that it overshadows everything. Here is something humorous: The taxi's here have all these "religious" sayings on them; like "god is great" or "praise Allah" or "the spirit is in ya" or whatever. I think they write those things so they can stay alive for the next days driving. Driving....oh my. The taxi's just stop in the middle of the road to pick people up. NO warning, no break lights (hardly any of the cars have lights of any kind) and you have to drive carefully not to hit someone entering or exiting a taxi. The dogs roam freely all over here. They sleep on the sides of the road and never seem to take a bit of notice of cars literally inches from their sleeping bodies. Most of the dogs seem underfed and mangy. Some are so thin I wonder how they will find their next meal with so little energy. Food is scarce for humans and animals.

Ok. Enough for now. We sick people have to get our rest.



Tom said...

I'm glad my card finally made it to you as well....hope fully the care package and skype phone will be there soon. Get better.

Z. Marie said...

Hi, I don't know you, but we're in the Foreign Service, too (in Trinidad in the West Indies). I love your descriptions of various things -- and am glad that although we're in a Third World country, it's a little less so than Sierra Leone!

MozzarElla said...

Hello, Becky!
Greetings from your happy tenants! All is well at your comfortable house, with Bronco missing you lots.
It's delightful to read about your first month in Africa, though sorry to hear you have already gotten sick.
Your descriptions of daily life make it easy to "see" what you see. Ah, the beach outing sounded marvelous!
All the best,
Carol, Michael, & Ella