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Sick and Reflecting During Long-Term Travel

Yesterday I had a freakish fever that sucked all the strength from my limbs and reeled my head with a dizzy swirl.

I tried to eat but couldn’t. “HOW CAN YOU DO THIS TO ME?!” Millicent the melodramatic cook wailed.

“It’s not personal, honest!” I croaked out while Millicent sniffled back tears.

I tried to help John teach Cross-Culture class, but after five minutes of drooping in a fetal position on a plastic chair, then sprawling flat on my back on a wooden bench (the students were awfully understanding and scooted over to make room), I had to crawl back inside to sleep… for the next twenty hours.

When I awoke this afternoon: what a blessed joy to find my limbs functional again! I lifted my water bottle in celebration and drank deeply!– only to find that now my stomach is messed up. Ah well. Things are on the mend now, I’m confident.

Happily, being sick is often ideal for forced reflection. The last time I was ragingly ill was in Laos in Southeast Asia in November. As I vomited all over the hostel wall and floor, I made the vow: it was time to find ONE place to commit to for several months, instead of careening from city to city as I had been doing since August.

Hence the plan for three months volunteering in Ghana was hatched… and here I am now! It was the right decision. Exactly three weeks from today, however, I will be on a plane to Spain and Portugal, moving on to the next phase of the journey! I am going to miss these great people and this great work here in Ghana, but I cannot express to you how excited I am to be back in a temperate climate and out of this relentlessly scorching sun.

Indeed, I have been battling some serious homesickness this month, having vivid, longing flashbacks of aspects from my previous life that I miss like crazy.

But if there is one thing that Ghana has tried to teach me since I arrived in early January, it is patience.

“Sister,” Ghana is cooing calmingly right now, “you WILL have your lattes and long walks and luscious infrastructure and light sun and loved ones back soon. For the next three weeks, however, you must breathe deeply and embrace what is in front of you right now.”

“Mmm,” I reply.

“Wait,” Ghana exclaims, pausing to gape at the photo to the right, “Is that your new $10 custom-made dress?”

Why yes it is, Ghana. Thanks for noticing! And now off to eat some fried yam and harass Millicent by wailing: “HOW CAN YOU DO THIS TO ME?!” until she starts giggling and cheers up.

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