Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Angola is kicking my butt...

So, I had all these plans of things to make.  I was so excited.  Then the power was out for 8-1/2 days in a row.  We do have some electricity when the power from the grid is out because we have a small generator.  But it is only powerful enough for the lights and one row of outlets.  Sadly, our water pump is electric, so no grid power means no running water.  This is very hard to deal with.  On the ninth day I finally broke down and hand washed, rinsed, wringed and hung up a few essential bits of laundry.  And guess what happened a little bit later- the power came back on- d´oh!

Wash tub on the left, spinner on the right.
So, then I tried Saturday to start catching up on all the laundry.  But I can only fit 2 loads on the clothesline, so that´s all I could do.  Also, my husband fixed the hose so it connects to the tap now, so the second load was pretty easy even.  Previously I had to fill up buckets of water and pour them into our weird semi-automatic washing machine.  Now, never mind that I forgot to check that the drain hose was securely in the floor drain and I got dirty wash water all over the floor.

And then on Sunday, I just felt horrible.  Every joint in my body hurt!  And my head was killing me.  The only relief I could find was to soak in a warm bath.  Thankfully, the power was still on.  Never mind that the first bath I tried, the shower nozzle (no faucet in our tub) that I had laid on the bottom of the tub decided to change its position and started spraying water all over the bathroom and into the hall.  Twice, I took 1000mg of Tylenol (Paracetamol), and it didn´t do anything at all.

When I still felt this bad on Monday, we went to the clinic.  I wanted to go to the clinic only one block from our house so we could walk.  There are much better clinics, but they are further away.  All the roads right around our house are dirt (read bumpy) and my spine was killing me.  Alas, the waiting room was packed and the doctor wasn´t even there yet.  So, we decided to go to one that had been recommended in Viana, only a 10 minute drive away.

We found parking about a block and a half away, went in and waited maybe 30 minutes before being called back.  While in the waiting room, which was packed and all seats taken, a woman saw I was in agony and offered me her seat.  Then she asked me what was wrong and I tried to tell her with my limited Portuguese.  She then put some oil on a handkerchief (which had writing I read later is made just for this purpose).  She stuck this cloth inside my bra strap, pressed her well oiled hand on my chest, squeezed my shoulder and leg, all the while praying in Portuguese.  It didn´t work, but I thought it was super nice of her.  She even gave us some snacks for the kids when they were leaving (& we were still waiting on results).  We ended up being in the clinic about 4 hours.  I´m not sure why it took so long to give us the results.  But while waiting for them, a stretcher was wheeled in, and when they brought it back out, there was a small body all wrapped in African fabric.  I´m so glad my kids were too busy fighting and complaining to notice because I, myself, found it hard to hold back the tears.

..........and so, it turns out I have malaria.  Drat!  Honestly, I´m really glad it isn´t something worse.  This is possibly the only thing they really know how to cure here.  And it´s an easy and quick cure too.  Just 3 days of anti-malaria meds, a week of antibiotics, some vitamins and acetominophen.  I have been on these for a day now, and I´ve only improved maybe 25%.  That is something, but still don´t feel well enough to do laundry.  It´s all I can do to feed my kids and wash a few essential dishes.  I did find something that helps even more than the hot baths..... a coffee-Nequick-lechera slushie.....yummmmmm.

This might come as a shock, but we actually have a maid here, 4 days a week.  It´s awesome!  And it doesn´t cost very much.  Actually, I just learned that we pay her a little more than the guys who remove landmines here in Angola!  However, sometimes she just doesn´t show up, and she seems to have a weird way of doing this when we really need her (like now).  And she never calls, so we always think maybe she quit.  So, of course, she didn´t work yesterday (Mon) and showed up today to tell me she couldn´t work, but will try to send us someone in her place tomorrow.  I´m grateful she came and told us something (she seems injured), but would be more grateful if someone would do the dishes and mop the floors.

So, that is why I haven´t done much sewing or posting.  I did make my son several pairs of underpants during the outage to delay the necessity of hand-washing.  I will post about those soon.  Oh!  And I honestly didn´t post this to whine.  I just wanted to explain and thought maybe those of you living in the first world might appreciate a few of your modern conveniences today knowing that some of us never realized how good we had it!


Karen LePage said...

Oh Dawn, my thoughts are with you. When I saw your Facebook post about being in pain and feverish, I thought, "Oh no, don't let it be Malaria...." but kept it to myself, as if saying it out loud would have caused it. You poor thing. I hope you get back to better, soon, and start sewing again.


m said...

wow, Dawn. this is a really amazing experience. and you thought Scotland was far from home! we will keep you in our prayers (being theologians, we do that sort of thing, and so do the kids, whose prayers are way more effective...). hoping you feel better soon!! lots of love, m xoxo

dawnberries said...

Thank you guys (girls)! It definitely feels good to know people are thinking of me and wish me well!