Being African (part 1) – Malaria as one of those perks

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During lunch with some colleagues, a nitwit came up with the bright idea of listing countries we had visited. At this point, everyone took turns to show off their cosmopolitan side – locations were being thrown around, Prague, Australia, India, Oslo etc.

It was my turn and I listed France and Dubai – which was it. The Indian fellow across the table interjected, “What of India?”  “When will you be visiting my India?”. “Well, I have no idea”, I quipped. Another guy indicated that he was slated to travel to India in the coming days. Expectedly, the conversation veered to his soliciting for advice from folks who had travelled to India.

Everyone (in unison) told him to stay off the tap water except if he wanted to return home with a souvenir of extreme dysentery. En-queue, odds of his returning from India with some sort of illness were drawn while we all made bets. (To improve my chances of winning) I added that in some cases, he could be fine in India, but arrive home and fall sick – that should still count as falling sick in India. I narrated my experience with Malaria. I told him that I always had Malaria on a yearly basis back home. During the days leading to my journey to the US, I was fine but fell sick immediately after my arrival to this country.

On hearing this, i could see the  horror on his face especially when I (nonchalantly) told him I had Malaria on a yearly basis when I was back home. I imagined he started seeing flashes of malnourished Malaria stricken kids right in front of him (as seen on TV).

I made things easier for him, “Don’t worry, it’s not like what you see on TV. Whenever I had Malaria symptoms, all I did was to drive to the dispensary and buy a therapy for less than a $1, (after 2 days) then I am back to normal”.

Still the dude was looking at me as a guy who had just survived the Holocaust.

I shrugged….reaching for the guacamole dipping

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