Last Wednesday, the VAGH class headed to Kruger National Park. Leading up to the trip, it was a regular morning- I woke up early, worked out with Lucy and ate breakfast. By 9:20, everyone piled into the Kambi and we began our three-hour journey. An hour into the ride, my stomach began to churn and I abruptly needed to use the restroom. Despite my pleas, the Kambi continued to pass by shops, parking lots, and other establishments; never was I more afraid that I was going to embarrass myself in front of 13 people. All of a sudden, the Kambi stopped in front of a field and I took that as my signal. Desperate to save my dignity, I scrambled through tall grass in order to create some semblance of a visual barrier between me and the people in the car. Jonathan, realizing I forgot the toilet paper, jumped out of the Kambi and threw me a hail mary.
Though I was sick, I enjoyed the safaris in Kruger and visited Xolani with the rest of the CDC group. Come Saturday evening, I felt terrible. I could not finish my daily run. I wore sweatpants, my Patagonia jacket, and wool socks to alleviate my shivering. Even though I went to bed at 8:30 pm, I didn’t sleep until 4 in the morning. I slept for most of the day while Jaz, Jordan, and Kellen visited Thembi, an expert client for our film project. The few times that I woke up were for my interview with Jasmine and to talk to housekeeping. Since Kellen was gone, the toilet basically became my new roommate.
While resting and helping Jasmine with her weekly assignment felt great, sickness set me back a day and a half. I already feel overwhelmed because I need to edit a video and post a blog before a meeting tomorrow morning. However, not working with the CDC group was very frustrating for me. When the Jaz, Jordan, and Kellen returned from Nhlangano, they rushed into Kellen’s and my room and told me all about Thembi, describing her as empowered, resilient, and ‘a badass bitch.’ They showed me pictures of a gorgeous path, talked about Sinzo’s crazy driving. As they continued to fascinate me with their stories, I wished more that I was there. As the conversation went on, I felt more disappointed that I couldn’t have been there. Even as we move forward, I feel hindered when conversing with the others about developing a story or selecting shots for our video because I was not there.
Missing a single day is not important in the long run, and there is plenty to do this week alone. Today we are going to interview the CDC Country Director for Eswatini, a Subject Matter Expert, and the Deputy Director of the Ministry of Health; Thursday, I’m going with the rest of the group to meet the marvelous Ms. Thembi. While my sickness is not severe by any means (I felt like I had food poisoning for a week) missing one day was still very frustrating- nothing like running through a field while Jonathan lobbed me a roll of toilet paper. In the end, I know that I have to be patient because sickness doesn’t last forever.