Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I've caught my first cold in Malawi. All I want to do is stay home and sleep right now. But I have classes to teach and there was a problem with my house that I needed to take care of today, and I had no food so I had to go to the trading center. Plus the kids keep knocking at my door wanting to chat. They are really persistent too. I guess I can sleep over the weekend...

Back home when I got sick I would drink lots of orange juice with those Emergen-C packets and/or powdered greens, but ndilibe (I don't have any). I'm making due with drinking lots of water and tea with honey. Also, Peace Corps provides us with a number of useful items in our medical kits so I've been taking the sore throat lozenges, cough drops and ibuprofen from my kit.  No tissues here so I'm using toilet paper instead. (They probably sell tissues in the big cities, but there are none to be found around here).

Greetings are a big part of the culture here. When you are sick, you are supposed to let people know by modifying your response to the greetings. So when someone asks, "Muli bwanji?" (How are you?), instead of responding with "Ndili bwino" (I am fine) you should say "Ndili bwino pang'ono", which roughly translates to "I'm a little fine", indicating all is not well. Then you explain why. I tried this yesterday since it was obvious I was sick. Of course, now all my neighbors think I have malaria. The way they explained it to us in PST is that in Malawi, non-medical people blame malaria for a lot of different illnesses because it is a common ailment. Kinda like how we might say we have the flu in the U.S. without going to a doctor and getting properly diagnosed. For the record, I do not have malaria!

Today I had a coughing fit in my Form 1 class which was fun. Imagine a dry cough and then your eyes water and your throat is burning, while 90 pairs of eyes stare at you. Then I tried to speak and my voice was all hoarse. They thought that was hysterical. Luckily it came back after a few minutes and I was able to finish the lecture.

I'm home now so I'll try to rest while I can. Let's see what my immune system makes of the Malawian cold virus.

1 comment:

  1. All recovered now? Hope it didn't (doesn't) last too long:(