Malaria Enews

We send out an Email newsletter about once every couple of weeks. Here’s the latest installment from Alex.  If you’d like to be included in the future, send an Email to Jeff and he’ll sign you up.  By the way, our list is not used for advertising purposes nor is it ever sold or passed on to Email marketers.

Hi Everyone!

At the time of the last report, we were about to leave for our first safari at the Phinda Game Reserve. Having had a few days of R&R after arriving in Richards Bay, we drove 2 hours north to the 15,000-hectare reserve.   There were the five of us from Out of Bounds, plus Bob off Gypsy Spray and Peter off Galatea, both single-handers. It was everyone’s first time on a safari and we were not disappointed.   We saw the “big five” (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, and leopard) as well as many other rare and interesting creatures roaming about the park.   Details on the trip, including pictures are soon to follow.

I know I keep promising everyone some good stories now that we’re here in South Africa, however, not only has the rest of the crew gone off to various places, but I've been a little preoccupied the last two weeks.  I've been busy fighting off this little bugger that got into my blood. Yep, who’d have guessed it..... I’ve got malaria.  Or at least that's what the doctor tells me. The blood test showed negative, but all the symptoms are consistent with the disease (i.e. fever, headaches, and the sweats).  Despite the fact that I was taking the “prophylactic” drug Lariam, it seems probable that I picked it up while we were on Bazaruto Island in Mozambique.  In many cases, if preventative drugs have been taken they tend to mask the malaria, making it very difficult to detect in the blood. On the bright side, it may have helped prevent a full-blown case of the disease.  Despite that, it will remain in my blood for the rest of my life, causing occasional recurrences of the symptoms.

The initial attack occurred Thursday on my last night in Phinda. At first I thought it might have been food poisoning.  The food, though good, was extremely rich and I went to bed with a bit of a sour stomach.  An hour later, I was in the bathroom “driving the porcelain bus”.  The rest of the night was spent rolling around in bed with a splitting headache, a fever and the sweats.  The next day I felt as if I had spent 12 rounds in the ring with Evander Holyfield; every part of my body ached to the point where it hurt to move. The fever and the sweats came back again the next day, but I was starting to feel better. Finally, by Sunday I was almost feeling normal again. Then the symptoms dissipated over the week.  It was not until the following Thursday that the symptoms returned again in full scale and I decided I better get to a doctor. 

After the examination and before the blood test even came back, I started taking the medication. That was last Friday.  By the following Sunday I seemed to be over the fever and the sweats.  Then gradually, over the last few days, I have started to feel like myself again. Although I did not get is as severely as some do, I never want to experience the feeling I had during the initial attack ever again. I can't imagine ever feeling much worse.

With all the excitement in the last few weeks, I’ve hardly had a chance to sit down and write.  Rest assured, though, that there are still a few good tales to be told. In the mean time, you’re probably wondering what it’s like here. Let me start out by saying the before we even arrived we were warned by South Africans to be exceedingly careful whatever we do and wherever we go.  All we heard was don't go there, don't do this, watch out for that.  As an example, at the moment I’m sitting here having a cup of java in a cafe and I'm looking at two very serious looking armed guards with automatic weapons in black fatigues. They appear to be waiting for a money transfer to an ATM machine.  In fact, most of the larger stores here have security guards patrolling the premises.  Not all of them are armed, but it seems to be the norm, as the crime here in SA has shot through the roof since the fall of apartheid. It's a shame, but there is a deep paranoia growing here, and unless the government decides to do something about the crime, it will only get worse.

From an outsider’s point of view, it is extremely difficult to get the whole picture in a short span of time. The reality is that the social and political situation here in South Africa is extremely complex. Recent years have seen extraordinary changes in all aspects of the country.  I haven’t yet seen enough of it to pass any type of judgement, however it seems to me that in spite of the country’s battle with violent crime and poverty, the new government seems committed to seeking a better future for everyone. 

One thing is certain, South Africa is a fascinating part the of the world, with more than enough to see and do in a life time, let alone two months.  It seems that the rest of the crew agrees, as they are all off in different parts of the continent. Bill and Suzie just got back from Botswana, where they spent five days at another game reserve. They came back briefly only to fly out again, this time back to Australia for a few days where they’ll visit Suzie’s family.  Meanwhile, Mick and Sally have ventured north to Tanzania where the plan on spending some time in the old spice port of Zanzibar.  As for me, I get to spend a little quality time with my girl…… Lucy. Actually, tomorrow, Peter and I are going to take a drive up to the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi game park for the day. They allow you to drive through with your own car, so it should be an interesting day at the “zoo”!

Thanks to all our virtual travelers for following along with us!

Alex for the crew of Out of Bounds,
Bill, Suzie, Mick, Sally & Lucy the dog.
Tuzi Gazi Marina
Richards Bay, South Africa
Lon. 34 04.75 E, Lat. 28 47.69 S

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