I brought home a souvenier from Rwanda. Well. Maybe. Maybe its a souvenier I’ve been carrying around for who knows how long. At any rate, its official. I had two positive skin tests for tuberuclosis. I would like to state the next sentance in very large letters. I AM NOT CONTAGIOUS. I HAVE NEVER BEEN CONTAGIOUS. I thought about getting a T-shirt that had the same thing but decided a blog post might have the same effect. I have dormant TB and am on nine months of medications. At the end of the nine months I will gratefully be finished and will never again have to think about TB. I’ll also never have to have another TB skin test.
The last several days I’ve had an internal battle with myself. The whiney half of me wants to tell everyone that I think it stinks that I can’t have a whole pile of foods I love for the nine months I’m on the meds. I have learned all about Tyramine and Histamine and liver swelling and high blood pressure. I’ve read and reread the drug information sheet several times. The pitiful half of myself is staring at my coffee pot and wondering if really one cup of coffee will really interact all that much and isn’t cheddar cheese worth a little severe high blood pressure?
I had another reminder this morning that gratitude really is the way to go. I had a conversation with someone who had tuberculosis as a child. Not the dormant kind. Okay fine. Keep the chocolate and the coffee. I’m grateful.
A couple of days ago someone who has already traveled this particular path emailed and said something that just made me smile. He said “welcome to the positive side”. Another TB survivor told me its great I’ve converted and welcome aboard. The fact is that once I’m done with the treatment, bring it on baby. This particular body is set to go. I have immunity now to Yellow Fever, Hepatitits A and B, Typhoid, Polio, Tetnus, and a whole pile of other prevoiusly deadly diseases. Doesn’t this make you grateful to live in this century? As a personal protest and committement to myself to try and not whine, I signed up for next year’s Warrier Dash. 3 miles. Lots of mud. This is fabulous. This whole adventure makes me want to get on a plane and go somewhere to help push back on the darkness. Wanna come?
I have not blogged in over a week. I feel like a failure but I can’t find my laptop nor do I have internet access at home yet. I also do not know where an entire box of my daughter’s clothes are but on the upside I know where my daughter is so in the big picture everything is good.
The entire moving process is such a bizarre experience. To put it simply, you beg everyone you know to give you large cardboard boxes. You then put every single thing you own into these boxes. Then you beg everyone you know into helping you carry around the pile of boxes. You stay up into the wee hours of the morning unpacking these boxes. Lastly you beg everyone you know to take away the large pile of boxes.
Last night, I was looking at my pile of cardboard boxes. When we were in Rwanda, I met a woman who had lost her home in a mudslide. She had a whole pile of children and basically nothing else. She had no boxes. I stood staring at my boxes wondering how now to help the people we met in Rwanda. The needs are overwhelming and its hard to find the energy to mount a fresh attack on fundraising and organizing. But the disparity between my pile of empty boxes and her lack of boxes is continuing to haunt me.
I’m grateful for our new house. I’m grateful for clean water. I’m grateful I know where my family is sleeping tonight. I’m grateful for the freedom in this country to talk or blog about what I’m thinking. I’m grateful for the opportunity to go to Rwanda. It’s painful. But I’m grateful.
My aunt and uncle and cousin moved into town today. What a joy to have more family in town! We spent most of the day hauling their belongings up and down stairs and trying not to put nicks in their brand new walls. I say trying because I personally helped take a chunk out of one of their ceilings with what I swear is the tallest bookcase I’ve ever seen. Sorry. I’ll come help paint it. At one point in the day when we were surrounded by cardboard and wrapping I asked my husband if we did in fact really want to personally move. I hate moving. The entire process is unsettling, exhausting and overwhelming. I remember when we moved last time, eleven years ago, that I swore I’d never do it again. Foolish thing to swear something like that. Our house has been on the market for five weeks now. We’ve had two people look at it. Today my uncle looked around at the mess and said “This is a very good day”. How right he is.
When we were in Rwanda most of the team went and visited a new settlement of people just down the road from where we were working. Several months earlier their homes had been destroyed in a mud slide. They were relocated to a new field and the government provided each family with a tarp. That’s right. A tarp. Since then, these families had scrounged up some sheet metal and random wood pieces to form house like structures. Some of them are working on building new one room mud floor houses. When they move into their new house, they will take their tarp with them.
In light of that comparison I promise that when we do get a buyer that I will cheer. I will try to remember to be more grateful than grumbling when I’m packing the boxes. I want to smile as I carry them upstairs. If I don’t, please remind me that it is a very good day.