May 15, 2009

Always look on the sunny side of life

You know who’s a bad mofo? The sun. Yeah, that’s right, I crossed the sun the wrong way this month and it fought back, with a vengeance.

I like to go for a morning jog these days at site which I usually do before school just after dawn so the sun isn’t much of an issue. But the other day I didn’t have school so I slept in a bit (until an unbelievably late 8:30am). So, by the time I went for my jog it was 9am and the sun was already blazing. That’s life en Afrique. After an hour and half of jogging and working out outside I realized that I needed to call the Peace Corps main bureau and try and get some business done. Being a Friday (the Muslim holy day) I knew the bureau would close at lunch so I needed to head out right away and bike to the closest place to get cell phone reception, a hill about 7km away.

So I took off again under the ever fiercer sun and proceeded to spend another hour and half or so on top of that hill with no protection whatsoever from all that wonderful UV radiation coming my way. Big mistake.

By the time I got home I began to feel a bit woozy and fatigued. I chalked it up to, well, fatigue. After all I had already jogged for about an hour and biked a total of 14km that day. I figured chugging some water and chilling in my hammock for a bit would cure what ailed me. Unfortunately it was not to be.

As the day wore on my general state of well being got worse and worse. The fatigue gradually turned into full body aches. The mild feeling of wooziness turned into severe aching all over my body, nausea, and an inability to stand up without stumbling around looking like I was drunk. I started to get a splitting headache and a fever which eventually got up to 102 degrees. In short, I had a bad case of sun stroke.

I spent the rest of the day moaning in my hammock just trying not to throw up and wishing the aspirin would do something to make my head stop feeling like it was about to rip in half. Not a fun situation, not to mention the fact that my host family was giving me a nice old dose of “we told you so”. Although, to be fair, they did tell me so, there’s a reason people here spend the entire day hanging out in the shade.

Anyways I spent the rest of that day and a good part of the next morning recovering from the sun stroke and didn’t really feel 100% until two days later. But, every day here brings a new lesson, and I learned mine something fierce that day; when in Rome… Stay out of the goddamn sun!