Africa: Illness

I was home sick yesterday, and now again today.  All the running around and fun-having while Kisha’s been visiting has caught up with my immune system.  Nothing too serious, I hope, but enough to keep me home and a cough that doesn’t want to give up.  Super-duper annoying.

I also read a blog post today from a PCV in Tanzania about the general state of health care (westernized, that is) which doesn’t look to be real good.  I am guessing it was a new-ish volunteer (turns out when I looked she’s been there almost a year) because she was overly critical and didn’t really seem to be understanding some of the bigger issues.  I suppose we were all like that once though. At one point she remarks “Overall, the entire experience was extremely eye-opening and I now understand why the Tanzanian citizens, at least around my area, seem to distrust medical care and tend to opt for solutions provided by witch doctors and superstition.”  I get where she is coming from, but I wish she wasn’t so down on the solutions provided by witch doctors and (so-called) superstition… because right now all I could use is a good Samoan fofo (call it what you will, but it sure ain’t western medicine!).

Being sick though has reminded me of all the times I’ve been traveling and gotten sick. The time in El Salvador when I forgot and brushed my teeth accidentally with the tap water without thinking and then asked to die later that day.  The time I was in Cuba on an old Russian plane and thought my sinuses might actually burst.  All those times in Samoa – strep throat was the infection of choice, but I really remember the time when we were all waiting to move to our posts and a bunch of us were still at the Tatiana.  I had come down with some sort of flu or something, and before the Peace Corps nurse had gotten to me, I was relying on other volunteers for help.  We had been boiling water and putting it in a variety of containers and sticking it in the fridge.  I remember at one point asking someone for cold water.  Turns out the water out of the niu vodka bottle in the fridge turned out to be niu vodka – which I didn’t realize until after I had already downed half the glass.  I was tired and weak, but managed to curse at them in two languages, and tell them that they better get me Teuila (our nurse/mother).  Now.

After reading about all of the potential illnesses in Tanzania, though, I’m glad to have this cold or flu or whatever it is.  I made a joke about having the plague yesterday to a friend, but that appears to be a possibility in Tanzania.  Good times.  Wishing good health to everyone!




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