Friday, March 29, 2013

Back in Tanzania

For those of you haven’t heard, I have returned to Tanzania.  I left Winnipeg with 190lbs of sports equipment and other goodies on March 11th and arrived safe and sound 44 hours later. 
And like an ever-faithful, never-wavering, abusive boyfriend, Tanzania has once again welcomed me with open arms only to kick the absolute CRAP out of me!!

For those of you who have been following my African adventures for the last 8 years, I’m sure you’re as tired of hearing my tales of misadventure as I am of living them, but since I can’t seem to find a way to stop living them, you might as well keep hearing about them!! :) I assure you, it’s must less painful to read it than to live it so consider yourself lucky :)

So, like I said, I arrived on Wednesday after a completely uneventful 44 hours of travel.  I arrived at 400am and was greeted by Tabitha, Victor (her son), my good friend Uncle Moshi and of course the PLUS 40C heat (sorry for all of you back in Winnipeg, I hear my send-off was followed by yet another cold snap and -30C temperatures! If I makes you feel better, we’re probably both as equally uncomfortable :)  

Tabitha, Victor (her son) and I headed out to Zanzibar for a short holiday.  Tabitha and Victor have been working incredibly hard and I think we all needed a brain break.  We got out to Zanzibar, enjoyed the sites of Stone Town and then headed out to the beach.  The problems started on Monday night and culminated with me, once confirming that my insurance had gone through, making the decision to hop on a 12-seater plane to fly to Dar to get to myself to some quality medical attention.   Yup- that’s my welcome back to Tanzania story!!  Gotta love!!! 

The details are less exciting but basically, from what I have concluded, a mango came in contact with the pineapple that I ate on Monday or Tuesday.  That led to minor swelling my face on Wednesday morning… which was way better than last year when I inadvertently drank juice with mango in it and my WHOLE face swelled and resulted in my hiding out for a week until I regained a defined mouth, nose, and eyes.  This time was minor in comparison!   

However, the fun didn't stop there!  Tuesday night, I ate octopus soup, which I was not concerned about since I had eaten octopus more than once during my nights of selling street food in Zanzibar in 2009.  I’m not certain it was the octopus, but by Wednesday morning, my arms broke out in hives… and then by Thursday, the hives had multiplied to my back, front, and my legs and began turning from hives to welts to juicy blisters!! (If this is the first email of mine you’re reading, I apologize for the details, for those that have been following along for years, I know a reference to juicy blisters is minor in comparison to other stories I’ve shared with you!) 

So, that was Thursday.  With the help of my personal pharmacist, my sister Tracy, I did a little self-medicating.  I even used an epi-pen for the first time! By Friday morning, with two sleepless nights and the high percentage of my body covered in welts and blistered, it became pretty unbearable and was enough to convince me that this may have rapidly progressed beyond a typical allergic reaction so I made my way to the doctor.  It was much better than my last Zanzibar hospital visit (highlights of that experience-which can be found on the blog, include being told that the blood in my vomit wasn’t “too much”, being told my hair was ugly by my Russian doctor and then eventually being airlifted to Kenya).  This time I got a shot of hydrocotizone and a variety of prescriptions and then sent on my way.  By noon, I had decided I had tapped out the medical expertise in Zanzibar and decided to hop a last minute plane to Dar.  A quick twenty minute flight over the ocean got me to Dar where my wonderful friend Uncle Moshi met me at the airport and despite the crazy Dar traffic, had me at the hospital in less than 45 minutes.  The hospital was great and most importantly had air conditioning!  I got a full blood test that confirmed my allergy and newly acquired infection!  :) I got some more steroids (I can feel myself getting buffer!), got some antibiotics, found a hotel with AC and waited it out!! 

It's now been 10 days since the incident. The welts hav subsided and the crazy itchiness has mostly stopped!! I can assure you it was not an enjoyable 10 days!! My skin is still showing the scars but hopefully that will disappear soon.

So, that’s been my first couple weeks here! Hopefully entertaining as always!  I'm back in Mwanza now.  We're in the planning stages and will have lots of exciting updates for you soon!  On Monday, I'm heading to Rwanda to coordinate logistics for the Edinburgh volunteers that will be coming to work on the nursery school in May.
I hope everyone is doing well!!!
Take care!!!