The malaria parasite strikes back! Despite my diligence in:
a) consumption of anti-malarial pills (big waste of money),
b) sleeping under a fully tucked in mosquito net, sprayed with promethrin, and
c) constant use of toxic bugspray,
I have once more been infected with the (other) disease that puts
But, once again, the holy Jedi knights (me AND Molly, this time), have enough power from above and from within to combat the evil, parasitic monsters. Don't worry. We’re both fine. Two nights ago we had a malaria party. We stayed up late, sweating bullets, complaining, and eating cereal!
And yesterday I went mango picking and water fetching with the kids. All of Day Two of Malaria One was spent in bed, with me thinking I would never see daylight again. I'll bet Malaria Three will be a breeze. (That is so not funny, actually.)
I spent all of the day before thinking: It’s just a headache. It’s just a fever. It’s just joint pain. It’s just a stomach ache. It’s just exhaustion. But in the end, it’s just malaria. As common as the common cold. As fatal as a bullet wound. As fixable as a loose skirt hem.
My skin was burning of my body so I went to the clinic. The power went out while I was at the first clinic. The second clinic had power, but the lab was closed. The third clinic had power and an open lab, but took a while to get to cuz even though it was a close walk between clinics, I had to walk carefully cuz it was dark outside and there are random large holes in the sidewalks of Mbale town.
Do you want to hear something crazy (besides the fact that I have malaria again)? There are only two times in my 3 months here that I carried a laptop down the hill. Both of those days are the days that I was diagnosed with malaria! The moral of the story: Don’t carry laptops down hills. (It can’t hurt to be extra cautious.)
And the other funny thing is that I wrote Baby Eden (my niece) an email just that same day, introducing myself and assuring her of my health—I didn’t want her to be afraid to get near me. (B & B—malaria is not contagious. Actually, the natives think that you can get malaria from mangos. Molly has explained to them over and over again that the only link between mangos and malaria is that mosquitoes may hang out near mango trees once it starts getting dark. There were lots of “m” sounds in that sentence—oh! I do love alliteration!)
I have begun the three week wind-down of my stay here. Sick (physically) as this country makes me, the last few days have been the first of the next 18 to come, of tearful musings of my departure. To put it plainly, I have fallen in love with this place to the point of heartache and distress. I’ll look at one of my friends or a cow or a goat, a ripped shirt, a beat up motorcycle, even the rat poop on my floor, and with pathetic tears in my eyes I’ll whimper, “How am I going to leave you? How am I going to live without you?”
But let’s save all that gushiness for my final email. Hey—don’t you get sad! We still have loads of time before the final email!
I’ve spent this week and last week giving classes (Torah and writing), typing up the students’ work (for future compilation), and devising curricula for elementary and high school Judaism classes. I gave a seminar to the elementary school teachers about the use of flashcards and word games in English classes. I taught about the Hatikva and led an Israel-focused poetry workshop on Yom Ha’atzmaut (in Putti). I’ve continued teaching prayer-reading classes and have begun praying more with the kids at Hadassah. I went to Namutumba for a Shabbat (home of really good (white) sweet potatoes), Namatala and Namanyoni for a Shabbat, and Nasenyi for the Abayudaya Women’s Association bi-annual convention. I’ve met weekly with the boys from Putti, teaching Mishna and Halacha, over ginger sodas in a restaurant in town. I’ve sat outside with the P5 (fifth grade) girls (and Isaac and Kochas, my teenage-boy best friends) and written poems and stories with them. I got a dress custom-made. I spent way too much time online finding more dress ideas for the future dresses I’m going to have made. I’ve encouraged people, young and old, to read and respect books. (Am I a nerd, or what?) Hmm...what else? Oh, and I got malaria.
And now a question for the audience: Does anyone know of any jobs in NYC for this upcoming year? In what field, you ask? I have no idea. My quick resume: B.A. Philos./English. M.A. Editorial Studies. Other: many years as