So, yesterday, September 14, at 2:47 PM changed just about everything. At 2:47 yesterday, Annie and I went to the main house to steal mandazi, as per usual, when Miriam saw what I believed to be a bug bite on my arm. To my alarm, she quite calmly pronounced that I have ring worm. Then the bread man came and suddenly she disappeared, leaving me to freak myself out and Annie to make fun of me. At 3:08, Miriam showed us a nursing book and medical dictionary, which told us that there is a worm burrowing in my arm and that ring worm is usually only a risk to those who have AIDS. Annie and I were completely unaware that the white spots, now known to us as ring worm, on the children’s heads are highly contagious. Putting this things together, at 3:11 Annie, always the positive comforter, decided that in the past 4 days I managed to not only acquire ring worm, but also AIDS. My freak out level at this point was only slightly less than what it was during my AP Chemistry test. Those who took that dreadful test with me will understand the severity of the freak out that I was having.
At around 3:13 I convinced myself that there were worms crawling throughout my body and that I would probably die, having eaten ugali as my last meal. I sent a text message to Sarah Ellen Mamlin saying something along the lines of “So apparently I got ring worm… what should I do?” Miriam, who was the one who had just told me that I had worms burrowing underneath my skin, was worried that I was too concerned so called us to her house. She proceeded to give us more mandazi which calmed me down immensely. At 8:43 PM, I got a call from the IU pediatrician who told me that ring worm isn’t actually a worm, but merely a fungus. Ring worm, with the proper ointment, will also go away within 7 days. Ringworm is still highly contagious. My freak out level went down to around the level it was at before I had to recite a sonnet in Lineweaver’s class last year. For those who don’t know, that’s still fairly intense. If I remember correctly -- Lineweaver could clarify -- I said approximately one word before I was called in front of the class that day and, after reciting my sonnet, mumbled something about Simon and Garfunkel before quickly returning to the safety of my desk.
However, after a skype conversation with my parents, who were looking up ring worms on the internet, I became reassured that I may live through this ordeal. By 10:09, when my computer died, my freak out level was minimal, probably around the level it was when we found out Annie and I were to cook an authentic American meal for the Mbithi’s on this very Tuesday, September 15. This dinner was postponed at around 3:12 yesterday, when Miriam saw my face post-AIDS diagnosis and decided it would be better for us all if she cooked the pasta that night.
As of 11:54 AM today, I’m now on my medicine and seem to be in the clear from my near-death experience. My ring worms and I have become the best of pals but, because of their fungus-y worm-ness and the like, I will not be sad to see them go. Also, between 4:25, when I got pity mandazi, and 8:43, when the medical official discarded my belief of my imminent death, Annie and I learned how to cross stitch. So not only did I get some new buddies, I also got a new crafty skill to show off on my return home. Overall, I’d say that’s a pretty fulfilling day. Can anyone else say they got two ringworms AND learned how to cross stitch in the same day? I don’t think so.
Love and miss everyone! At this point, after I’ve just shared about my new fungus in great detail, you probably don’t miss me so much. I quite understand… but they really do make great companions if you’d like me to pass you some worms -- just a kind gesture from a wormed girl in Kenya.
P.S. Annie and I are leaving on our trip to Makueni, originally scheduled for the 24th, this Friday morning at 4 AM. The area is one of the poorest in Kenya and where Joshua Mbithi is from. We will be visiting his family and students in the area whom the Mbithi’s support. We won’t be bringing the computer so will be out of touch until Tuesday. We’re really excited for the adventure and I’m sure we’ll have many stories to share when we get back. So, goodbye blog family for a few days… we’ll miss you dearly!