on travel, thoughts, and the art of short fiction

Muito Doente

In Mozambique on March 8, 2008 at 7:29 am

Sickness is common here and happens often. The teachers and the students are always sick. This morning, we got word that our cleaning lady was sick with Malaria. Tracy was sick yesterday and still is. This morning, I woke up feeling really groggy and by noon I had a fever and a sore throat. It is no fun to be sick here. It’s already so hot and I’ve been feverish and uncomfortable all day. I’ll break into a cold sweat and then a fever sweat and then I’ll be exhausted and so thirsty.

It is hard to take care of yourself without running water, let alone if you’re sick. I have to walk to the well, fill my bucket with water, carry it home, boil the water, wait for it to cool then drink and all I really want to do is pass out. We’re going to get tested for Malaria tomorrow but I don’t think we have it. Something is going around that feels like strep, I’ll know tomorrow.

The bugs are driving me completely crazy. Last night I was in the dining room writing and I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. I looked up to see an enormous spider the size of my hand. The spider was flat to the ground and as soon as I jumped on my chair, it literally inflated before my horrified eyes and began to sprint in erratic circles and zig-zags across the floor. Tracy was in bed sick so she couldn’t help me (she’s not afraid of spiders). I jumped across the room and locked myself in my bedroom for the night. It was 7:30 pm and I wasn’t tired and I had to go to the bathroom but I wasn’t going back out there, so I hid beneath my mosquito net and fought off the images of spiders feasting on my sleeping body.

It was one of those “why am I here?” moments. Moments that come and go, but when they come, it’s difficult to pick up and move on.

And now I’m sick and sweating out all of my fluids, despite the fact that this is one of the coolest and breeziest nights we’ve had so far.

This is the rhythm of life here. Appreciate the upswings, the good days to your fullest. This is something the people here seem to do very well.

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