This week, I find myself coming back to the same quote by Earnest Hemingway; “the best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable: they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed”. Now to all the parents reading this, there is no cause for alarm. Your darling angel has not been destroyed. I’m reminded of this quote because all the leapers here are perfect exemplars of all the adventurous qualities Hemingway wrote of. And, as if to prove his point, almost all of them have typhoid. (*The Leap* please note this is paratyphoid and whilst similar is not nearly as severe)
Again, parents, calm down. We are in the tropics and as such are vulnerable to tropical diseases. But typhoid isn’t that bad. In fact it’s more of a practice in stoicism and character building. In fact Will (a privately educated, 19 yr entrepreneur with a passion for champagne, yatching and rowing who I’m convinced is a runaway character from a P.G Woodhouse novel) has even found a way to use his typhoid in flirting. Now that does impress me.
With everyone coming down and the boat trip coming up fast, I thought a test at the hospital is better than a gamble with typhoid.( the boat trip by the way is 10 days on a Catamaran, visiting islands and reefs, all climaxing with a bonfire party for which Will has miraculously found 2 bottles of Champagne. I’m sure you can guess how typhoid would be an obstacle). Our trip to the hospital began yet again with a memorable taxi. The 1st thing I noticed was how there was almost no paint left on the body it was so scratched, the 2nd was how the driver was having the debate of his life on the phone during the whole ride and the 3rd was how there was no break pedal. At this point however, 3 weeks in this country, my only thought was “hey, If it gets me there faster” and ignored these “characteristics” of the taxi.
We made it to the hospital after half an hour of crowded African country side and the occasional bribe to the police (they’re very everyday about it, it’s a surprisingly non threatening form of corruption). This hospital was the first I’ve been to since birth and as such I can’t really describe it in comparison to any other. It was certainly clean and well kept with a balanced staff of both Madagascan and Italian doctors. (In my first draft, I had a joke comparing the NHS to this hospital but at this point I feel it wouldn’t be a joke)
The best part of the hospital in my opinion was our blood test. We were lead one at a time down the hall and behind a screen door behind which was a mystery. I must say it certainly didn’t disappoint. When it came to my turn, the door was pulled back and I was shown into a bleak, gray white room with a single chair bolted to the floor and a ceiling fan above slowly revolving and causing the light above it to give the room a bleak and constant flicker. It was like a scene from a thriller movie. I was almost disappointed when they didn’t lobotomise me. Clearly this room of potential horror is wasted on these doctors trying to help people.
20 minuets later we got the results back and, as suspected, almost half the group are sick. Except me. While the others were getting consultations and prescriptions, I was high-fiveing hospital patients and beaming for the rest of the day, continually thinking “Hemingway ain’t got nothing on me”.
But again parents, your kids are fine. I mean physically speaking. Several have gone into withdrawal over lack of Netflix. Also, not telling you how to raise your kids or anything, but you really need to have strong words with your children about washing clothes. Here they are learning independence and how to manage on their own in the world and some are paying the chefs to wash their cloths for them. If I did that my mum would disown me. Mums come on !!! They need to know how to wash cloths at some point !
(Mum if your reading this, I wet then scrub with soap and rinse twice before hanging up to dry right ?)