Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Fall of Goma

Well, it seems that Goma has fallen in the east, to the rebels that have plagued its borders for years. Hearing hurried reports via text message from Cleve in Buta, and passing them on to anyone who might be interested, sort of makes me feel like I’m in some obscure battle scenario.

The real outcome of the fall of Goma is unknown to us. I worry about the sanctuary in Bukavu.

But closer to home, Adam is sick, has a fever of 103º, and I’m hoping that it’s malaria.

I can’t believe I’m saying something like that -- “I hope it’s malaria”

Because if so, the first stage of treatments we gave him for malaria earlier today will kick in tonight and he’ll be better by the morning. His fever has persisted through most of the day, despite constant doses of Tylenol.

So if he’s better by morning, I’ll at least be assured that he has something treatable, instead of some unknown malady that I am powerless to control or remedy.

Powerlessness. It’s a common theme here, as pervasive as the thick morning fog.

I said to Adam earlier that a big part of culturally acclimating to life in most of Africa involves relinquishing control. Bikes break down, authorities demand an audience, bribes are solicited -- and there isn’t anything that someone can do about it. If anything, the inconvenience of the stress itself is less taxing that the exasperation that comes with the fight against the powerlessness.

But right now, it feels scary. Not because Goma is unstable. Goma is always unstable, and while part of me worries the other part of me is cynically nonplussed.

Adam being sick is another problem altogether, larger, in a sense -- less grand but far closer to home -- yet the rational part of me tells me to wait until the morning to worry.

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