Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Another holiday weekend spent hugging a toilet

(I originally wrote this on Sunday but wasn't able to post it until today) The last few days have been spent in a fever induced stupor. As I mentioned in my last entry, I had what I thought was the flu on Wednesday. Turns out it was a little more than the flu – the PCMO said it was either malaria or dysentery. Though I have no background in medicine, I’m leaning towards dysentery. If it were malaria, I’d probably still be in bed. More on that in a minute. Let me expand upon the Thanksgiving festivities.
Though I’d had a temp of over 102 on Wednesday, I was feeling okay on Thursday morning. The original plan was for all of us to cook in the morning and get together for a potluck on Thanksgiving afternoon around 3 or 3.30. We were supposed to have the entire day off, seeing as it’s a major American holiday. However, on Wednesday night, half of the group got phone calls from our training director, saying that they would have to go to Accra on Thursday morning to open their bank accounts. Why this couldn’t be done on another day, or why they waited until the night before to tell them is beyond me. They were assured, however, that they would be back by noon.
While I was feeling better, I wasn’t feeling so well that I wanted to go about making 60 apple pies (McDonald’s style pies, not big ones) all by my lonesome. So instead of starting in the early morning, I moseyed over to New Tafo to use the internet and what not, waiting for the others to return from Accra. I knew they wouldn’t be back by noon, but I wasn’t expecting them to arrive at 5.30 in the evening! By about 2, I resigned myself to making the pies alone and started peeling apples. Luckily, Kimmie and Andy took pity on me and came to help. Mame Esi was also instrumental in the pie making process (she is after all, a professional maker of meat pies and other tasty items). While she thought our filling was way to sweet, she liked the changes we made in her dough. Instead of Maggi (shrimp flavored bullion cubes), which she usually adds to the dough for her meat pies, we added sugar. By 5 o’clock, 60 steamy apple pies were being pulled from her big clay oven. We threw them in a box and headed to the spot (we were too pissed off to have the potluck at the PC office, so we went to our favorite spot in Kukurantumi and bribed Sister Grace to let us have a party there). I was instantly a hero. Half the people who were supposed to bring food couldn’t because they’d been in Accra all day. But when 60 warm apple pies walked through the door, the evening was salvaged.
The plus side of the trip to Accra was that we got some mail. And, joy of joys, even I got a letter. The stars aligned just right this week and the Thanksgiving card my granny sent actually arrived on Thanksgiving Day – something that never happens, even in the states. In the end it was a good Thanksgiving, even if by that time I was feeling too sick to eat anything.
Like I said, I had been feeling better early in the day but by Thursday evening, my stomach was rebelling again. When I finally left the Thanksgiving celebration, all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball on my bed. I had no desire to go to session on Friday, especially when I woke up unable to control most of my bodily functions. But I knew that the PCMOs were coming to the hub office to give another talk, so I dragged myself out of bed and staggered to the taxi circle. When I got to the hub office, I went to lay in the sick bay to wait for the PCMOs to arrive. A few hours later I woke up completely drenched in sweat and every muscle in my body ached. According to the ancient celcius thermometer I found, my temperature was 39.3 (102.7). I lost count of how many times I went back and forth to the toilet. It was not fun. As I said earlier, when the PCMO finally got there, she decided that I had either dysentery or malaria and therefore gave me medicine for both. I got permission to spend the night in the sick bay, since there was a fan and a flush toilet. By about nine, my fever finally started to break, even though I was still having trouble keeping food down and keeping away from the bathroom.
I didn’t go home until last night but by this morning, it was like I had never been sick. I even ate all my breakfast! Braimah is convinced that it wasn’t dysentery, but simply too much yam fufu. Hmmm – interesting diagnosis. If eating yam fufu leads to dysentery-like symptoms, I’m screwed. That’s all they want to feed me at my site. I can’t wait to set up my kitchen.
On a happier note, I just heard a Christmas song on the radio. Even in Ghana, a few days after Thanksgiving is not too early to start with the carols.
Don't be surprised if you don't here from me until later next week. Things are getting very hectic in the run up to the election here and I want to avoid all the crazy crowds. In addition, everything will be closed and even taxis aren't running on election day (Sun, Dec. 7), so I won't be coming to use the internet. There are lots of plans and backup plans in place for our safety, so no worries, ya hear!
See you on the flip side. Next time I post, I will be done with training!