September 25, 2009
So, here I am now, still in bed at the hotel on Pemba. I was sleeping, but the hustle and bustle of life here along with crazy sick dreams keeps waking me up, so I thought it might be good to try to stay awake for a little longer. I’m finally starting to feel a bit better (though this morning, I was struck by how ironic it was that I was kneeling, albeit before the great porcelain god, at the time the sunrise/dawn call to prayer was resounding majestically throughout Wete).
I’m really upset with myself. If I’d just stayed back at the hotel yesterday, I probably would have been ok to go for today and not stuck back here in Wete resting while most of the group is with host families. I just didn’t want to miss out and I hate it when my body doesn’t do what I tell it to, so I was determined to push my way through it, which just wasn’t going to happen. I remember that I literally got off the dola dola and when Rachel asked me how I was feeling I said “I don’t know if this was such a good idea…”. Turns out that I was right and it wasn’t, but I really hate to disappoint others and cause problems and I was really looking forward to this homestay myself. Hopefully tomorrow morning I will at least be able to go and spend two or three hours there before we all leave in more dola dolas to head for the other coast of Pemba to be picked up by boats to go to Zanzibar.
I’m finally starting to feel a bit better as I don’t think there’s really anything left in my body that could be making me sick at this point. I do however feel like I’ve been run over by a dola dola, matatu, or gari la mgombe (ox cart). My muscles are all just as sore as if I’d rerun the Hood to Coast and many of my joints are swollen to various degrees (I think just from the unusual positions I’ve been slumping into and falling asleep in – I even fell asleep on the bathroom floor for a couple of minutes this morning. Lisa came to check in on me this morning before she, Rose and the walimus (teachers/professors) left for Tumbe today and said I felt like I still had slight fever, which seems incredible to me given that I’ve taken more alleve in the past three days than I ever have before in my life!
I’ve been trying really hard to wake up every now and then and drink a bunch of water so I at least stay hydrated, so I think I’m doing ok on that. I haven’t eaten anything for about a day and a half now, which I think is a good thing – I think my body just needs a break. I might try this evening to eat something, or just might wait until we get to Zanzibar. Lisa told me that I can go out anytime and talk to Kasim in the kitchen about getting food, but right now (even though there is a nice breeze coming through the window, the fan is on and I’m only wearing a kanga and a sports bra) I’m really, really hot and putting on enough clothes to leave the room (long sleeves, skirt and head scarf) sounds unbearable. Besides, my fellow students might like the boat ride to Zanzibar better if I come with an empty stomach!
The only upside to all of this, is that I’m feeling strangely proud of myself for not being homesick despite being sick. Maybe I’m just too tired to feel homesick or too angry at myself for not being proactive about my health sooner and taking rest yesterday when I needed it, but for whatever reason even though I’m dizzy and headachey and hurting and bored I’m pretty content just to lay here in bed until I feel a bit stronger.
Alex had told everyone at the beginning of the program that at about the 3 week mark, some of our bodies would really rebel at all of the changes we’d put them through and mine was definitely one of those. I think I’m also one of the people who’s lifestyle has changed the most though, so it makes sense. I mean at home, I’m crazy about exercising/just having an active life in general and here I’ve been sitting around for days on end more than I would have thought I could ever possibly do without going crazy. Also, I think unlike a lot of college students who eat a lot of fried and sugary foods, I hardly ever eat such things (which were really popular in Riruta), so my diet changed an awful lot, almost overnight. I can change that though back to more like what it is at home – I’ll just have to spend a fair bit of my own money in order to do so, which stinks, but is certainly preferable to getting this sick again. Also, once we get to Zanzibar I should be able to go running along the beach and swim in the ocean before/after classes once I feel better so that should help too. Now that I really stop and think about what I’ve been putting my body through these past couple of weeks, its really a wonder I didn’t fall apart sooner!
Hopefully I will feel better soon and I’m about ready for another nap, but before I do that, here are some things I’ve forgotten to write:
1. On the drive into Tanzania I saw lots of vervet monkeys running around by the side of the road!
2. Yesterday in Tumbe, one young man told me that my name (which he could not pronounce) was shining and beautiful and that my face was just as shining and beautiful as my name. At this point, I had both arms wrapped around my stomach and my head scarf was about to fall off and I was sweating more heavily than I have ever sweated ever, but I still managed to sort of whimper “asante sana” (thank you very much).
3. The dola dola operator who rode in the back with my dola dola group took a great liking to Anton and they had a very funny conversation in mixed Swahili and English for the duration of the ride.
4. Due to his darker skin tone, people keep thinking that Kai is an Arab when he wears his kanzu and man head scarf and several devout and well studied muslims have actually walked up to him and tried to start conversations with him in Arabic.
5. I’ve had such crazy, crazy dreams. Many of them have been unpleasant:
a. dreams of having a big tapeworm in my stomach/intestines
b. Lance getting eaten by lions (this dream kept happening over and over again, each time with more detail than the last…it was awful)
c. Going home from Africa to my house and finding no one is there and all of my family’s stuff is gone
but others have been hilarious like:
d. Robin Hood/Knight’s Tale like dream in which my friend Esme and I were riding our horses down Cedar Hills Blvd in Beaverton so that we could go to a jousting tournament and then for some reason we had to get off the horses and walk and I kept getting left behind because for some reason I was only allowed to walk on my tiptoes, but Esme could walk normally and even run and my horse kept stepping on my feet because I was walking too slow.
e. The Lewis and Clark group currently in Africa and I were all in Antarctica for some reason trying to capture penguins with our barehands, using boxes of digestive biscuits (a kind of a plain cookie), like we’ve been given at tea time, for our only tool.
f. I went to meet my friends Alison, Anya, Christina, Jessica, Henry, Danya, Jose and Bryan for lunch at a sushi restaurant (and probably more people I know too as people I know seemed to fill the entire huge restaurant), but when I got there, Alison had a monkey sitting on her lap for no apparent reason and Monty (a stallion I rode this winter) was there too and no one seemed to think that any of this was strange in the slightest, so I just kind of sat there and listened to Alison talk about how Harry (her dog) had just turned into a monkey overnight and Monty talk about how he wasn’t sure if he preferred to have the eel or the tuna.
g. Lance and I were the first dog/girl pair chosen by Nasa to fly a manned mission to Mars. That dream was pretty cool, though I think I woke up shortly before we landed…bummer! It also somehow involved lots of spaghetti, avocado sushi rolls, pumpkin pie ice cream and my dad’s carrot soup and green vegetable curry… though I can’t really remember all of those details…just know that I woke up with a fierce craving for all of the above and then promptly threw up.
And that is only what I can remember more or less clearly. For someone who doesn’t normally dream at all, last night was one hell of a crazy time!
Well, I’m off for some more strange and vivid dreams! I hope yours are equally colorful!