I have been struck by malaria, finally.

One of the first pieces of advice Francis gave me weeks before my travel was that I should for prepare for a strong attack of malaria in my first weeks of arrival in the United States. I didn’t take him seriously at first because I had grown up believing that malaria was a mostly tropical disease. His logic was that in the first weeks of landing in the States, when the African body is just begining to adjust to the weather and nutrition condition of the host country, one’s immune system is generally very low and malaria usually comes out then from within the recess of the blood with a brutal attack almost certain to knock one down. Well, he should know. He has come to Edwardsville once every year now for more than six years as much as I know. He also advised me to bring along all my malaria medication, and be prepared to use them as soon as I notice the first symptoms. It was a good thing that I listened then, and followed his advice. He was right. Now after a couple of days in denial, I recognize these symptoms I have for what they truly are: malaria, finally.

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It always starts with a mild fever, then rising temperature, then cold and shivering which is a third confirmatory stage. I have experienced those stages and I’m convinced that it is not just a sign of stress. As I type this, I am taking time off to swallow a horde of anti-malaria tablets to specification after this meal of warm roasted chicken. Where is that warm bosom to lay my wearied head? Where are those arms to pet me to sleep. Where are the hugs? Where are the kisses? Where is the cool soothing towel to keep my temperature down. There’s no one here to pamper me. I am alone in my mandatory distress, so I stretch my legs and get under the duvet. Let the pillows be my comfort. Let their soft charming hold warm me up, cool me down, set me free into restful sleep. The air conditioning must also sleep tonight. I am cold enough. This is a mandatory rite of passage, and malaria must die. In just a few days of battle, it should all be over. Fansidar, Artesunat, Paracetamol, here is a chance for you to prove yourself on an alien soil. There are no more mosquitoes here to move and recycle my blood. You have no excuses. There is only this strange erratic weather which we must now adapt to, must now conquer together especially before the winter cold descends. This is war!

And still, I must attend that excursion to Six Flags St. Louis tomorrow. I will not miss the Ferris Wheel and the breathtaking Roller Coaster rides for the world. First I will need to get off the computer, and rest. Tomorrow is tomorrow, one last fun weekend before the real work begins.

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