Recently I had been having bad headaches and dizziness. I didn’t think much of it until Sunday when the fever, migraine, and sore throat came. My entire ribcage felt like it was being crushed and it hurt to breathe. Monday morning I was feeling a bit better and spent a good part of the day with this cute little boy playing catch with paper airplanes. In the evening, however, the fever returned.
Tuesday I went to the Island Clinic…which was a very interesting experience. I got a ride on the back of someone’s motorbike and then met Isidro who was driving the van. The clinic was like a large room divided into sections by curtains. Not the overly clean and modern place I’m used to. I met with the doctor and told him the symptoms. A nurse took me through a back door that led into what looked like a garage. To my left I saw a family sitting around a table in some sort of kitchen area. We walked past them and went through a deteriorating door into the bathroom. I was shocked that such a dirty bathroom would be found in a clinic. Like home, there was no flushing option, and let’s just say it did not smell the greatest. Anyways, they got the sample and poured rubbing alcohol on my hands to wash them. My blood was also taken and luckily they found the vein right away. I was surprised that they were able to give me the results after about a half hour of waiting. Turns out I had an infection, and was given antibiotics.
I felt pretty crappy for awhile and the medicine..or maybe the migraine..made me barf. But I’m staying positive and hoping to get better soon. Being sick here has been interesting. Aileen says she believes that when you’re sick it’s best to keep active. Even if it is a fever. It gives you more strength and keeps your body energized. I suppose that’s part of the reason why they think I’m insane for sleeping in my room all alone. I’m not sure what they expected or if they understood I did not have the strength to even sit up, let alone go hang out. I feel bad for making them worry, but it’s just how sickness is dealt with in my culture. You are left alone so you do not contaminate anyone else. But here it is so important to them to always be around your friends and family, they don’t understand how anyone could bear to be alone. Even when sick.
On a more positive note, even though they were worried about my mental health, they have been very kind to me during this time. Arlene came up one night and gave me a massage and told me that we are family now. She said she will be excited to meet me in heaven where we will be family for eternity. Aileen too, was kind enough to bring me food and sit with me even though I know my lack of energy and emotion concerned her. I also made a new friend, Sheila. She told me to call her my big sister and threatened to kick me if I did not finish my food.
So the one thing I have learned is that I do have family here and they will be there for me when I need them. I am thankful for their love and acceptance of me- someone they don’t always understand. (at least not when I’m sick and sleeping all day) I’ve realized that maybe I’ve been taking some of their criticism the wrong way. Maybe I need to try and better understand where they’re coming from. Maybe they say these things because they care about me, not because I have disappointed them or failed. I knew adjusting to a foreign culture would not be easy..so why am I so hard on myself when I don’t understand? No matter how many socially awkward things happen here in the Jungle Barn at least I know that we will always be family in Christ. That is what unites us and that is why we are all here.