After two days of feeling “meh,” I knew this morning when I woke up that I had the full-blown flu or malaria. Clothing touching my skin was entirely too painful; every joint ached; putting my feet into my flip flops hurt. Nonetheless, there’s no time for this in the bush. I made some hot chocolate and took a warm bucket bath before heading slowly and painfully to the clinic.
"Cory!! Good morning!!" greeted Baka in his sing-songy English. "You look beautiful this morning!! You are wonderful!!"
"Hello Baka." I rasped in my newly-acquired Harmattan voice which makes me sound like I smoked cigarettes for the past 40 years. "I look and feel like shit. We both can see that."
"Hahaha. Oh sorry. You’re not feeling well," he said.
"No. I feel like I’ve been knocked by the lorry truck. My body is aching all over. It pains me to have clothes touching me," I continued.
"You could just take off your clothes and feel better," he tried.
"Yeah, you’d like that huh?" I asked. "Here, prick me," I said as I threw him a malaria test kit and held out the middle finger on my left hand.
"Oh! You want me to prick you. But you will cry-o!"
"I’m a big girl. I’ll be okay. And if you make me cry then I will beat you," I responded.
"If you beat me then I will cry. And if it’s malaria positive you can’t go to America," said Baka. "Malaria positive. Malaria positive," he chanted.
He pricked me. I did not cry and we waited small for the reading. It was negative.
"Ok then. I think it’s the flu," I said. "I’ve been taking drugs for it."
We treated just 6 patients before the pregnant women came for their pre-natal care. Baka and I counted out drugs for the women.
"Madame Cory is fast, fast," said George.
"Oh if she is fast, fast then she must marry a local," Baka replied. "She must marry Baka."
"Yeah. Yeah," I muttered counting out the drugs. Soon I finished with mine while Baka was still coining out his. "Ok. I’m off to take more drugs and sleep small," I said.
"Feel better!! You look beautiful!! Hahaha!!" Baka called after me.
I came to my room where I slept for five hours, woke for only one and one-half hours to take another warm bucket bath and return to my bed.
Another PCV texted me, concerned I might have malaria as her most serious symptom was skin sensitivity. I told her I had tested negative but knew that it could be a false reading because I continue to take the Doxycycline prophylaxis. I will start my journey to Accra tomorrow which will take two days so I would have the Peace Corps medical office run blood tests if I was still feeling crappy.
No matter whether it’s the flu or malaria, getting to Accra feeling like this will not be any fun at all. It also seems I fell ill this same time last year, right after Thanksgiving. So if my illness cycle continues as it did last year, I should expect fevers and vomiting to occur from Christmas to New Year. At least, I’ll be home in my own bed in America by then though!!
White House goes (RED) on World AIDS Day
The only thing that can hold you back is yourself…you can create anything your soul can imagine.
It didn’t matter that we couldn’t understand one another; it was the connection that mattered. The connection is what heals - it is love in its pure form.
The thing about Ghana is that it can really drive you crazy. In the chaos that governs each day, logic seems completely absent. And then you realize that there’s actually nothing missing at all…it’s just Ghana.
In the end, perhaps the most important lesson Ghana taught me was how to let to. I had to let go of a lot in those two years; my frustrations; my judgments and insecurities; and my comfort. I had to let go of the need to make sense out of everything - to fix it and to possess it. I struggled a lot, to be sure. Now I understand that I needn’t have struggled so hard after all; for it is only in letting go that we are finally free to live. It is only by looking beyond ourselves that we truly see what is around us, and it is only by opening ourselves to the world, that we can let the rest of the world in.
Love And Butterflies by Ghana RPCV Taylor McLean - lessons we all seem to learn here in Ghana
Here’s to not giving up on what I hope for out of life when I finish my service here in Peace Corps Ghana. Perhaps it took coming here to fully understand, realize and accept what I hope for, but now I know.
Love And Butterflies by Ghana RPCV Taylor McLean - which sums up my exact reason for joining Peace Corps at age 35 and after 11 years as a lawyer
DECEMBER 1, 2013: WORLD AIDS DAY
Transport in Ghana