As many of you have heard, last Friday I contracted Malaria. It honestly sounds a lot scarier than it actually is, as long as you catch it early (which I was fortunate enough to have done). The only symptoms I had were severe tiredness, headaches, and slight fever and chills. Once I took all of my antibiotics I was fine. But that’s the thing. ..I was fine, but a lot of people who get Malaria aren’t fine, mainly because they can’t afford the medication. My test and medication came to a cost of about $10USD, which seems like an incredibly insignificant amount of money for healthcare. But the reason a lot of people here die from Malaria is because $10USD is better put towards feeding themselves and their families. For example, there is a boy here named Joseph who works here. He runs himself into the ground working here and also goes to school and can be seen here studying well into the night. A couple of weeks ago we thought he had Malaria because he was so tired. We all wanted him to go to the hospital but he told us he could not afford to see the doctor. We all pitched in so that he could go, and thankfully he only had severe exhaustion, but it really puts things into perspective – I can easily afford treatment here because it’s so cheap, but most people here find it extremely difficult to scrape together the money. Thankfully I am Malaria-free and feeling great!
Today a group of us headed out to the Wood-Carvers Market here in Dar. If I had to pick somewhere it reminded me of I would say Chinatown in New York City. There are a lot of stalls, everyone wants you to come in theirs, and most of them have the same type of stuff. The difference here is the Africa attitude, and at every stall you are greeted with a friendly “Karibu!” (meaning “welcome”). It’s a nice change. Something I’ve discovered I love doing is bartering with the locals who run the shops. My Kiswahili has improved enough that I can now barter in the native language, which often leads to better deals. The people here love to barter, and because I’m white, they’ll usually start off with an outrageous price (some things never change). I love having them tell me I need to pay 25,000 Tsh and then ending up paying 12,000. The only problem is that when I can greet them and barter in Swahili is that most of them assume I am more fluent than I am and start talking very fast and I have to tell them “Kidogo Swahili!” (Meaning I only know a little Swahili). Nonetheless, I have really come to enjoy learning Swahili, because it is a simple language but it is very fun to speak. I think my favourite part must be the greetings, which can last for quite a while, depending on how fluent you are. My greetings tend to go as follows:
Me: Poa, Mambo?
Them: Poa, Habari?
Me: Nzouri sana, na wewe?
Them: Nzouri. Karibu!
Me: Asante Sana!
It is a custom I find endearing, and I love greeting people here. I can’t believe I only have 3 weeks left here. It seems like I’ve been here a lifetime but it is still not long enough. I have a hard time imagining leaving this place behind, so I’ll be making the most of my remaining time here!
Badhai! (See you later)