This is a Kiswahili word meaning chaos or craziness…..and I think it is a fabulous word and aptly describes today. So after waking up and for the sixth day in a row cleaning up diarrhea from all over Annikah’s bed we felt like crying. No, I should be honest and say that we cried, all three of us. Jason has a temperature today as well and feels terrible and I am exhausted. That was the start, it only gets better. Then our fridge broke, which is a usual occurrence here but today it was just too much. Jason called his language helper and asked if he knew any “fundi” (meaning a expert in Kiswahili but we think the translation should be more like one who may know something about said item but mostly takes it apart and attempts to put it back together). But with no choice and a fridge full of spoiled food we decided what did we have to lose? Jason’s language helper said he would come over with a fundi but of course we had no idea what time. After I talked to some friends here that have dealt with all kids of sickness with their five kids I headed over to their house for some Kool-aid (to prevent dehydration) and some moral support. My main concern right now is dehydration because of the heat here. We have been offering her tons of drinks but our healthy parenting kicks us in the butt as she will not drink soda or sugary drinks since she has never had them. We are actually bribing her with candy to drink kool aid…how messed up is that? Since Anni seems to still be sick we were thinking maybe it is/was not malaria because usually malaria responds right away to the drug combo we gave her. After way too long spent reading websites and freaking out we thought maybe it could be a parasite causing the diarrhea and fever. I took Annikah with me as she has been having a clingfest lately and off we headed to drop off a stool sample at the doctor and stop by our friends place. At the hospital Anni was all smiles with the staff as we waited for the lab results and to see a doctor. The results showed an amoeba that we need to treat. I got the medicine (we have to give it to her every 8 hours for a week) and headed over to our friend’s place with at least some relief that finally we had an answer for what was causing this. At least the whole visit to the local “hospital”: lab tests, doctor consultation, and medicines cost us 9,500 shillings or around 9 bucks. My Mama friend read some info from her natural medical book, gave us some goodies to take home, and provided a ton of moral support as they had been through this as well.
We returned from our outing to find about 10 people at our house. Outside our house our Mlinzi and his family were having friends and family over and Jason was busy inside with visitors as well. Our Dala-Dala driver from four years ago when we were here with Habitat for Humanity had stopped by to visit and another friend’s son was hanging out in the living room. I walked into the kitchen to see Jason’s language helper and a fundi dismantling the fridge, food everywhere, dirty water covering the floor. At this point it was about 1pm and none of us had eaten lunch so I start cooking rice and Mchuzi (curry sauce) and reheating in the oven some Pilau that was going to go bad without refrigeration (Oh what I would give for one day of fast food!). After about 40 minutes of cooking and navigating through the insane jammed kitchen while Annikah ran around with her friend and Jason entertained our several guests that randomly showed up (we are learning that privacy is a Western manufactured item), we all ate. I had made food for everyone (you always offer food if you are eating &/or it is a mealtime) and although it was a bit stressful getting everything ready and cleaning up spending time with everyone was great and Annikah made us super happy by eating tons of rice and drinking Kool-Aid. An absolutely hilarious moment came when Jason looked over at one of our guests drinking his water out of the vase that sits on our kitchen table. I guess to him it must serve a practical purpose and thus he decided to fill it up and drink. While I was getting Anni ready for her nap there was tons of noise outside the house as our Mlinzi’s extended family was over and they were taking pictures. We were totally spying on them as they dressed up in different outfits and posed in what to us were hilarious get-ups and arrangements (one included a stereo, suitcase, and random shoes…oh how I wish I had copies to post here). About 4pm the fridge fundi was finished (took about 7 hours) and Jason had to negotiate the price which involved about an hour of discussion and then he drove him home. On his way home Jason stopped off at the fundi’s workshop where they offered to freon charge our car for 40,000 TSH. They unashamedly announced that the price was 40k for a mzungu, but for a local, 15,000. What a joke! What a crazy Saturday. At least there is never a dull moment here!
Alas, it was a siku shugalabugala (a chaotic day).
So what was the cause of all Annikah’s symptoms? We still are not completely sure if she had malaria but since we never confirmed with a positive test we are thinking she most likely had this amoeba the entire time. I talked with a nurse on the mainland that we know and she said we did the right thing by treating for malaria because of the aforementioned reasons (the prophylactic disguising symptoms and the possibility of a false negative test). Of course we are taking this seriously, giving her medicine, taking her to the doctor, and watching her closely but now more than ever we are learning just how much we rely on our Heavenly Father for health. Please join us in praying that Annikah (and Jason) is healed soon.