My oh my...it has been a while.
And for good reason. The Wednesday after I emailed/blogged last, I got malaria. Since the symptoms take 2 weeks to come, that means I got bitten by a mosquito carrying malaria getting off the plane. Just my luck. Luckily, no field study student has ever gotten malaria twice, so hopefully this was my only time to get it. Since it was so early in my field study and I have not yet started my research, I consider this a good thing.
Basically, on Wednesday morning at about 12:30, I started vomiting. And boy, do I mean vomiting (I actually developed a taste eversion against cabbage stew and cookies because they do NOT taste good on the way coming up). I threw up probably 8 times. Most of it was just dry heaving, but it was pretty yucky. In the morning, I told Margaret (my facilitator), and she walked with me to the clinic. As a malaria survivor, she took good care of me. In the clinic, I had a blood test, and then they tested all of my vitals. I had a slight fever, but I was still doing ok. I had been drinking some crystal light to get some fluids and electrolytes in me, but I threw that up at the clinic. My shirt was a lovely shade of pink, though. I had a blood pressure of 80/50, so they brought me to a nice room of my very own and gave me two IVs of saline solution. It was really cold, and I loved it. The nurses took excellent care of me, and I fell asleep. When I woke up, I was ready to go. I got my pills from the Dispensary. All together, the treatment cost 10 cedis (under $10). Now that's health care, hehe.
The next couple of days, I just recovered. I wasn't vomiting anymore, and they gave me pain killers, so I slept through most of it. I lost a bit of weight, but not too much. Basically, I was sick for one day, and I was woozy for four. Not too shabby. I got over it on Sunday night. I felt bad because I was going to start observing in the schools that Wednesday. Sad.
Monday was African Unity Day. I had an extra day to recover because I could not go to school. It wasn't open.
Tuesday, though. Tuesday was my first day of school. I took a first day of school picture in honor of Kwistin (remember last fall?). I went to the school and met the headmaster, Peter. He and all of the teachers have been so kind to me. I love it. I love the students, too. They keep teaching me Twi and lots of different hand games. I think the thing I like least about school is watching corporal punishment with canes. It's pretty scary, but it's just a part of the culture. I'm learning to understand and not be too judgemental. A great learning experience.
I love how strong the kids are. The other day, they brought their desks outside. Not only are their desks made attached to the chair, but they are made for 2-3 students. They are huge, and most students carried one by themselves! Incredible!
Speaking of making observations, I got IRB approval! YAY! That means I can start my research finally. And, I got a scholarship from the Kennedy Center, so that always helps.
Friday is my one-month mark. Today is four weeks. It has passed so fast so far, but I still feel like I've been here for a year. It's really been an incredible experience so far. I have been able to begin accomplishing one of my life goals: to serve people in Africa. I have wanted to do it ever since I learned about AIDS in 6th grade. I absolutely love the people here, and I hope that my research helps people all over the world become healthier and happier within their own cultural contexts.
I'll keep you all posted.
Devin...9 months. Just sayin'
I love you all!