15 July 2005


It finally happened.

For over a month I had been in the best of health of my life. I'd been faithfully going to the gym, laying off the drinks, triple-washing every food item, boiling and filtering water, taking all my meds etc...and STILL the bugs managed to get me!

I don't know what caused it, but lets just say two nights ago you would have found me half passed out on my kitchen floor, surrounded by plastic bags, alone in the darkness at 2 am. I was so sick. As I clung to the floor in between bouts of nausea, I opened one eye and came face to face with a cockroach. I blinked, looked around and realized there were actually quite a few of them peering at me from dark corners. At that time I welcomed their presence, while simulatneously realizing this was one of my lower moments. Jon came in and gave me a malaria test, which involves pricking your finger for blood. Apparently that was too much for me and before my skin was punctured, I fainted. Ah yes it was lovely. No malaria though, so that's good.

I'm still not really sure what's wrong but I've been drinking copious amounts of juice, tea and water with rehydration salts (pray you never have to drink this). The problem is, it could be anything. I am feeling much better though.

As you can guess, it's been a relatively slow week here. I'm reading a book about a dragon, which takes my mind off to yet another faraway place. I read Life of Pi but didn't enjoy it. Has anyone else read it/liked it?

At language school we had a cultural lesson about "going to the market". What began as a lecture about seasonal produce prices quickly turned into a rant session. As Dr. Salala told us the correct prices for vegetables and fruits, our class became really frustrated. We all insisted that we are charged much more than the prices she was listing. We realize that Tanzanians think all wazungus are rich, but it is simply not the case, as most of us have come to Mwanza as volunteers.

Somehow, this inspired Salala to seque into a lecture on socialism and how it is a superior and very healthy economic system and way of life. Funny, because Tanzania is not even a socialist country anymore. Hmmmm. One of her main points was that here money is viewed as a "flexible commodity, like any other market item." She said that in Tanzania you are expected to give according to how much you have. To be frugal or to save your money when you could be sharing it is the worst of offenses here. In theory, even though I am not making a summer income, I should be paying 5 times the price a Tanzanian would pay. It's certainly different than Canadian, capitalist philosophy. There are many good aspects of this system of ujumaa (of one), but it can be difficult to wrap one's head around at times.

Tomorrow I am going swimming. I cannot wait to jump in that pool and swim the first lap. Then back and forth until I just relax in my element. Simple pleasures, folks.

Alright, so more pictures on the way. Keep safe and treasure that Canadian tap water. I'm pining for it now.

1 comment:

j'tan said...

I read The Life of Pi last week to pass the time in Malaysia. The forest fires in Jarkarta were kicking up a storm, and I couldn't go outside much. I hear the elderly were actually dying from the haze (!) and the gov't declared a state of emergency as we were leaving.

Despite my mostly anti-religious views, I really enjoyed the book. I thought it got a bit tedious and cyclical part way through, but the ending was moving and well played. I don't believe in God any more than I did before I read it, but it helped me better appreciate something I'd usually criticize as irrational dependence and blind faith. Or maybe I was just glad to have something to do indoors.

Wish I had a bengal tiger. *pouts*