Thursday, December 25, 2008

Vomiting Builds Character

It’s never quite easy to be so far away from home on Christmas, and it’s tougher even when you’re sick!

On Monday, I’d had a fever and went to bed at 3 pm and it went away. Fearful of having malaria at Christmas (what a terrible gift!) I was so glad when on Tuesday I seemed better.

Then, Wednesday, I walked through the heat to the market with Adam to buy some prezzies for our staff -- nothing big, about $2 per employee (a lot when their salaries are $1/day) -- but it definitely felt holiday-spirity! On the walk home, though, I felt light-headed, distracted only by Adam’s seemingly same symptoms.

Getting home, though, he felt better after taking off his “real clothes” -- he’d said before we went out that it was the first time in a WEEK he’d worn a shirt!

I, on the other hand, only seemed to get worse and everything hurt! My fever came back with a vengeance, too, and once again, the thoughts of malaria on Christmas were terrifying!

After I vomited, Adam was incredibly worried but we made sure not to make the same mistakes and we held off giving me malaria medicine, opting instead for worms/amoeba medicine -- the final medicine that had cured Adam just two days before! And, when my fever and chills receded, it seemed promising!

And of course today, despite continually vomiting (and having to pause some especially nice Christmas-Day-phonecalls for a puke break), I do certainly feel better!

It helped especially that we were awoken this morning by parades of children and adults singing and dancing in the street, celebrating the Noël! We even joined in the parade, walking (slowly, tremulously in my case) down to the beach and clapping along to the beat since we didn’t know the lyrics that everyone else seemed to know!

It was such a wonderful beginning to the day, since I’d missed the midnight mass at the huge cathedral last night with Polycarpe last night thanks to my illness.

Most people have nothing here, but the Christmas spirit -- the wild revelry and fabric waving and music playing and just an abundance of happiness like I’ve never seen for all the trees and Messiahs and caroling I’ve participated in in the US -- was incredible to see. We took video too and hopefully will get to post it one day (perhaps without bandwidth restrictions!)

Christmas, despite the vomiting, is just feeling so, so special. Adam is wearing the Congolese suit I had made for him for Christmas (see the entries before this one for a photo) and we’ve gotten several visitors and wonderful phonecalls all this past week!

So thanks to all of you! And to all of the people here as well!

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