Saturday, September 29, 2007


When we first planned to go to Africa, we went by the Travel Clinic and had all kinds of shots for everything from typhus to hepatitis and took our daily malaria pills with us. For almost the entire month, I had no health problems of any kind. Of course, I used the hand-cleaner goop and drank bottled water, at least at first.

But by the time we'd been in Zambia a while, I was a little less concerned about that and began to trust the well water. (They call it bore hole water a lot.) Mary Ann was having some problems, mainly because she was spending a lot of time with the little orphans and was having many close encounters with runny noses. I was mainly dealing with college students -- cleaned up, nicely dressed college students at that.

Of course there was our last Sunday. We went into town to worship with the Kalomo High School church. The high school has about 1200 students and the church was totally run by the students. I think there was more than one kind of church running that morning at the school, because I could hear a whole 'nother group singing songs just a few rooms over. There were about 100 people at the service in the 20 x 40 foot class room, divided girl-side/boy-side as is usual in Zambia. David Gregersen was the guest preacher.

But then came the time for communion. As is usual, there was the passing of the unleavened bread. By the time it reached me, it was a bowl of crumbs, but I picked one. And then there was the wine.

Now, last Sunday's communion at the Kasibi village, there was the familiar tray of cups. I large tray is passed with many tiny cups. But at the KHS church, I don't think they had the budget for specialized communion ware. Two regular sized metal cups were presented, filled with wine and passed out to the right and left side of the group after the blessing. I have to say, I had my qualms about sipping from a cup that had already been at 30 or 40 mouths before mine, but at least it was real wine, and maybe the alcohol would kill some of the germs. I sipped and trusted everything would be okay.

I don't actually think I caught anything, but it was memorable.

But then, as our last days in Africa arrived, everyone was coughing. I think it was due to the unseasonable rain shower a few days before. Plants were turning green in preparation for the rainy season and allergies were rampant. This was followed by three days in airplanes, with the fumigating sprays and the close quarters with the other travelers. Mary Ann was having sinus problems, and I was starting to feel the effects as well.

By the time we arrived home, both of us were sinus congested and coughing from the drainage. Mary Ann went to the doctor yesterday, but I still trying to recover on my own. With the combination of jet lag and congestion, we've been sluggish and droopy. There's so much to do, now that we're home. I hope it clears up soon.

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