Side effects

We were supposed to go out of the city this weekend on a teaching trip to another community. I had been looking forward to this all week, Thursday night however I got sick. I think it was a combination of exercising for the first time in a long time, and taking Malarone (malaria medication) on an exhausted and empty stomach. I went to bed early as I was feeling sick, only to rise in the middle of the night to throw up everything I had eaten the night before. I didn’t get much sleep, and I had very weird dreams all night, all about the school in some way. I didn’t go to school the next day, but stayed home in an attempt to rest and feel better for our trip in the afternoon. When I looked at the possible side effects of Malarone, I discovered that I had contrived a good portion of them including: weakness, loss of appetite, being sick (vomiting), stomach pain, constipation, difficulty sleeping (insomnia), raised body temperature, abnormal dreams, fever, headache, back pain, and muscle pain. Not to mention homesickness.
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When I called Zelalem to tell him that I wouldn’t be able to come on the trip he insisted that I go to stay at their house so that there was someone to look after me. I packed my bag with a few things and set out exhaustedly in search of a taxi. I walked slowly, like a wounded gazelle crossing the Serengeti, through the dusty soccer field near our house. I found a taxi and negotiated a price with him. The dusty breeze blowing across my face through the open window felt good, and the change of scenery from my room was welcome. When I arrived at the Amare’s compound around 4 pm neither Gail nor the kids were there. I was welcomed by Aiop the guard, and several of the maids. I don’t think they were expecting me. They ushered me inside and brought me tea, water, and some bread. Soon the kids arrived, and the quiet was shattered as they turned the TV on, the joy of their Friday afternoon. I was soon taken upstairs to sleep.
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I awoke later to Layli, who was wondering why I was sleeping; she is absolutely adorable. I took her hand and followed her downstairs to eat. The kids were watching some sort of cartoon in Arabic, they kept asking me what was happening, but I think they had a much better idea than I did. I stayed for a while and then went back upstairs to bed. I was followed by Shane and Layli who wanted to play with my computer, but after a while I had to ask them to leave so I could sleep. An hour or so later I awoke, confused and soaked in sweat, to Gail in my room asking how I was feeling. At first I couldn’t think and answer her questions, and it took me a few moments to awaken my mind. She said that she had to work tomorrow but would check in with me before she left. I slept uninterrupted all night, and awoke feeling much better, with only weakness and stomach pains remaining.
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Even though it’s not mango season, the mangoes are getting much larger and tastier, and I had some delicious sliced mango for breakfast.
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Gail had to work, so I was left to spend time with the kids. Gail and Zelalem both have the hugest workloads out of anyone that I have met in my entire life, yet they still seem to find time for everything and never seem in a rush. Jasmin, Shane, and Yonitan went to Karate later in the day so I was left to spend the afternoon watching movies and reading stories to Layli. By the time Gail and the kids got home she was falling asleep on my shoulder while I read a story to her.
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We ate dinner while watching Planet Earth. There is something about it that is so soothing. Afterwards Gail drove me home with Layli falling asleep in the backseat. On the way Gail described to me all the projects she is working on, and the immensity of them all across Ethiopia. I remember Bill Clinton talking about interdependence when I went to see him in Victoria, but you don’t really experience it every day in Canada. Here I feel like I feel like I see it daily in everything, especially in the people from different parts of the world, from different governments, funded by different people, working on different projects, but all with the same goal. Well, most; the betterment of mankind.
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Oh yeah Gail was asking about Waldorf education tonight and wants to learn more about it. Score! I think it might have been the Rudolf Steiner quote that I left on my last lesson plan.
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“We should avoid a direct approach to the conventional letters of the alphabet which are used in the writing and printing of civilized man. Rather should we lead the child in a vivid and imaginative way, through the various stages which man himself has passed through in the history of civilization.”