As of last week, I have officially been initiated to Africa. This initiation came in the form of malaria. One of the priests here says that you are not truly living in Africa until you get malaria which is the most common tropical parasite seen here. I had been doing my absolute best to avoid it- taking my prophylaxis religiously, perfectly tucking in my mosquito net every night, and spraying on layers and layers of bug spray most evenings. But somehow, despite all those things, the pesky little mosquito still found a way to deliver its sting. And let me tell you, it was not a fun journey.
|My Sweet Silla|
After laying in bed for almost 8 days, receiving IV medications because I couldn't keep pills down, and sweating out what seemed like half of my body weight, I am finally good as new! It's amazing how many people truly care for you and pray for you when you are sick. I am absolutely convinced that was the reason I got better so quickly. Thankfully, I had the best nurse I could ask for, Ariel. She constantly brought me cold water and towels, tried her absolute best to get me to eat, and even gave me my malaria injections. I really think I'm going to make a nurse out of her yet! She was such a blessing and helped me to feel so much better even when I felt miserable. The kids were also amazing. I'm pretty sure most of them thought I was dead because I didn't leave my room, and they didn't see me for over a week. But after a few days, I started getting knocks on my door and it was some of the kids coming to check on me. One day, the kids were gathered around my bed and one of the girls, Silla, said, "Let us take this time to pray for our sister." Then she led us in prayer. It almost made me cry. It was the sweetest and most thoughtful thing somebody could have done. The next day I got a pile of letters and prayers from my P7 class with the cutest messages. My favorite was when one boy said that he was sad I was sick, but he was even more sad that since I was sick he couldn't take the vocabulary quiz that I was supposed to give to him and the class. Such good students! Although most days I just didn't want to see anybody, when I heard the knock on my door I couldn't help but open it to see my kids standing there smiling. And I am also so grateful for my family, friends, and strangers at home who prayed for me. One day my mother informed me that the checkout lady at Staples was even praying for me. Leave it to my mother to inform the checkout lady of my sickness! But really, thank you dear friends, family, Ariel, students, and Staples lady for your help and prayers. God definitely heard them and placed his healing hands on me.
|So happy to be back in my "Office"|
Now I definitely have a better appreciation for people who come to the clinic with malaria. I knew malaria was serious, but I didn't know the extent of it. I just handed patients their medicine and told them to get better soon. But malaria is no joke. And people here get malaria like it's a common cold-- over and over again. I can't even imagine. Maybe I'm just a huge baby, but one time with severe malaria is more than enough for me! With the help of your prayers, some great meds, an even better site partner/nurse, and lots of sleep, I am back to the crazy, busy life of Maridi, South Sudan. I still can tell that nasty parasite isn't completely out of my body. I still need frequent naps and my appetite still isn't back to how it was before. One student came up to me the other day and said, "Sister…you are just so….so…not fat anymore" to which I laughed and said that is what being sick does to you! But just give me a couple of weeks, and I'll be back to my big, healthy self again.
Slowly but surely I am recovering and starting back to work. The clinic has been running as usual. The number of patients has been increasing again which is keeping us busy. There is nothing new to report in the school. The first term will come to an end in about a month, so I am looking forward to a little break at that time! Well it only took 7 months, but looks like I am officially initiated to Africa! And I can easily say that I would have been perfectly fine if I was never initiated in the first place. But, again, thanks to you all for your prayers and good thoughts, because now I am ready to get back in the swing of things and refocus on this mission and my personal mission.