One moment everything runs smoothly, but within a few days the rhythm is completely disrupted. After a visit to Peter and Bodile in the south of Ethiopia (Awassa), I was bitten by a malaria mosquito. It shouldn’t happen much at this time of year, but it did happen. Two days after ‘coming home’ I suddenly suffered from severe fever attacks. With a stomachache, headache, muscle pain and enormous nausea, it made me feel very bad. Because we were alert to malaria, I was able to quickly start the right medication. This made me feel a lot better within a few days. At such moments you really miss the comfort of the Netherlands, where we have all possible resources available. Not having your own place is also something you long for. Don’t lie down on the couch to get sick. Of course, there are no friends and family to visit you, no TV to watch and parsing the Ethiopian magazines in Armharic is quite a job. You have to do it with the resources you have to make it as pleasant as possible. In the meantime, I am getting better and better, but because it is quite a quest to find the right/healthy food, my body is taking a little longer to get back into ‘balance’. All this has given us pause and given us time to think about our future. Can we also handle this (African) life when it is not always easy?
At the same time, we also realize how blessed we are that we have the opportunities and resources to get better again. The medicines only cost €0.15, but there are still plenty of people who cannot afford this. Approximately 1 million people die every year from malaria, most of whom are children. (<5) This is another reason and extra incentive why we want to work for the poorest people in the world. Yes, we can and want to take on this life!
Now that Gerard’s parents, brother/girlfriend and sister have left again, we are going to work together again. Thank you for all the notes/cards/prayers/encouragements and all the (delicious) gifts from the Netherlands! This is very good for us!