Dysentery, DC, and Fetish Market

So, as is probably apparent by the title, the last month has been eventful.  Rather than string this out, here is the full update of EVERYTHING:

So, just before Christmas, on the holiday I actually celebrate more properly (the Winter Solstice), I wasn’t feeling well.  I had a slight fever and some tummy trouble.  (I intend to spare you any gross details.)  I was cheered by the fact that we had a long (4 day!) weekend ahead of us, and that I was going to be playing Santa the next day at the big Christmas party one of my colleague’s was throwing for everyone in the embassy.  Then, Saturday morning, I woke at 4AM with a worse fever.

By 8:30, it was 101.9.  I called the duty nurse, who had me rush into the embassy.  By the time we were both there and she was able to examine me, it had risen to 102.9.  She was worried; I was not entirely with it.  I spent the next 6 hours getting hydrated, tested, and pushed into taking cold showers.  I left, having missed the holiday party, and basically collapsed at home for the next several days.

Less than an hour after I left, my best friend here (“Mr. Kate”) went in also sick.  That was when we realized that, no matter how clean the restaurant, don’t order fufu from a local place.  JUST DON’T DO IT.  (Also probably a mistake to link to a blogger much wittier than myself.  OH WELL.)

A couple of days later, I got the diagnosis: shigella.  Which meant the antibiotics they’d given me weren’t doing crap, and they had to change them up.  So, I continued being sick well past Christmas, and was just recovering when New Year’s came around, though I probably imbibed enough alcohol to kill anything remaining in my system that night.  Someone in Togo owns a portable karaoke machine, and it was used through the night.  (Others were setting off fireworks–after the first one went horizontal, I decided to go in and sing.)

On December 5, I left Lome for DC, for some additional training.  (Some new stuff is being added to my portfolio.)  To celebrate before leaving, we had a classic cocktail party!  It was loads of fun (and a separate post shall follow with all the drinks and recipes).  I got to play bartender (though the Teacher took her turn a few times too), and got to show off…well, my research skills, because I’d spent two hours before hand learning as many “classic” (read: really old) cocktails as I could.

And it was the perfect send-off, as just about all of my friends were there, laughing and having a good time.  I don’t know that I’ve ever thrown a party that went that late, and it just made me extremely content to have friends over having fun.

Then, it was off to DC!  I spent a little over a week there, sending home Christmas presents and picking up some necessities for our home in Togo.  (That part turned into a bit of a scavenger hunt–I had no idea you would find meringue powder at a craft store.  I also had no idea meringue powder was a thing.)  Most importantly, I got to see some of my favorite people.  Some were from college, some from graduate school, some from A-100, and a couple even from Lome!  (My sponsor is already back in training for his next post.)  I also took the opportunity to get many delicacies I can’t get at home in Lome, such as a Wendy’s Frosty.

And, yes, that was the big thing I learned while I was there.  Lome is home, at least for now, if only because the Teacher and the Kitty are here.  I had fun in DC, but I missed my life in Lome pretty terribly.  I was extremely happy when the plane landed on my return.  (At least until I stepped outside into the muggy, 90+ degree weather.  Ugh…)

And, to bring us up to the present, yesterday the Teacher and I (along with a few other friends) went to the Lome Fetish Market.  For those unfamiliar with it, it doesn’t mean “fetish” in current sense, but instead in the Vodun sense.  Almost everything there was (as expected) a dried animal part, but there were some statues available as well.

We also got to meet the son of the chief of the market (the chief himself was out of town), who was willing to make us some charms and blessings.  We were given a crash course in Vodun blessings, including one for travelers, one for memory, one for personal protection, one for love, one for family protection, and one to help men. . .perform.  (Literally, he said if we used it we’d have to “work it like a buffalo all night”.)  Each of us bought one charm (I got the travel one), even though the price were pretty steep.

And that brings us up to yesterday.  Today was spent relaxing, finally recovering from all the excitement of the last month.  As glorious as it can be to be busy…sometimes sitting on your duff with video games is pretty glorious too.


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