Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Lack of Christmas Spirit

Finally, after four days of wondering and worrying and giving Adam a variety of drugs, hoping that something would work, we found that after giving him about 2500mg of Ampicillin twice a day, his fever has finally come down to 100º, which is 4º from what it was originally, and a whole TWO degrees from what it’s been hovering at for the last two days.

This news, is of course, great because I know for sure now that he’s actually getting better and that he’s not going to die here, in the relative middle of nowhere, on our tiny, smelly twin bed.

Being sick has its real penalties, though. And a lot of it has to do with being discouraged, and craving creature comforts like hot showers and air conditioning that couldn’t be farther from the realities of our happy and simple life here.
Which is entirely understandable. When I had malaria, I was nearly ready to throw in the towel and go home if only just to have that (false) sense of security.

So I understand when Adam hangs his head, tired and continually feverish, and I feel a good deal responsible for his suffering because he would not be here (and ergo sick) were it not for me.

And, while being tired and stressed when Adam was at his sickest, an official cornered Polycarpe on the road from the sanctuary, demanding to see our paperwork for the “legal detention of Congolese fauna.”

AKA -- where was the permission to have the Sanctuary/Rehabilitation Center? Or were we just a FRONT for FedExing chimpanzees to all those jerks in Indiana who keep coming to my blog via google searches for “pet chimps for sale”?

While we may be waiting for the eventual completion of the huge sanctuary in Kisangani, and may be waiting for some sort of paperwork here, everything is moving on Congolese Time and we have none of the above at the present moment.

The crazy part is that this is a “normal” routine in Congo-- this obsession with documentation and “legality” when, in fact, I have no idea where these countless pseudo-meticulous “fiches” go to.

Does paying some guy $17 in the middle of the jungle really make us any more legitimate?

And IF these environment guys were doing their jobs (and protecting the fauna of Congo), would we HAVE so many orphans to take care of?

Regardless, fighting with this super-portly leather-vest clad official, wearing his neatly pressed pants and his insanely buckled and Elf-like pointed toe shoes as he pranced from brick to brick in our front yard to avoid the mud, was not something I had the energy or inclination to do.

But it had to be done. Because it always has to be done, and it is my job and responsibility to do it.

How does one manage to preserve diplomacy, gentility, and more importantly, sanity, when yet another official arrives at your door, pushing his huge motorcycle, because he has automatically assumed that you will pony up for gasoline for his ride home?

It turns out that the inquiry into our legitimacy comes via letter from Kisangani, the home of the infamous FAT SHADY, which leads me to wonder whether this little foray into the land of More Tedious Bureaucracy isn’t in fact another one of his devious maneuvers.


Adam and I did eventually conquer our blues yesterday, but we splurged and spent $3 on 2 Cokes. After not having drunk soda in so long, it tasted really funny (and pretty bad) but the sentiment was still intact. It does certainly help that, even though his fatigue remains, that his fever has diminished a little and that he feels less like death.

We might need to break out the big guns today -- and start watching the Christmas Yule Log DVD, which plays Christmas songs and has either a picturesque snow-covered cabin or a Fireplace burning.

That should get our Christmas fires burning!

No comments: