A Very Merry Med-Hold Christmas

Avocado Tree in the back of the Case
My sister gave me a new board game as my Christmas gift. Mother Nature gave me vomiting, diarrhea, headache and a fever for Christmas.

Christmas Eve was spent eating a very traditional American meal with Kalene’s parents, who are vacationing in Cameroon. It was a night filled with friends, American butterball turkey, mulled wine, and a ‘fire’ on a laptop screen. While I’ve been sick for the 2 weeks since being diagnosed with malaria, I stuck out the evening until I burned my foot pretty badly on a mosquito coil under the table, which was when I decided it was time to call it a night.

Christmas morning arrived snowless, cloudless, and gift-less. However, I passed the day Skyping family and friends back home, which I consider a gift in and of itself given that I haven’t been able to Skype since getting to country. Dinnertime came and we went out for Chadian chai tea, avocado salads, and omelets. Midway through dinner, I could tell something was wrong. I motoed home and went straight to bed as everyone else prepped to go out to the club.

Midnight came and Mother Nature decided it was time to finally give me my Christmas present: a fever, vomiting and diarrhea. It was likely the worst Christmas present I’ve ever received. Thanks for nothing, Nature! The next morning I woke up and was supposed to leave first thing in the morning with my cat to Lomié, but given the circumstances, I knew I could not face the road conditions and long voyage in my condition. After making a phone called to PCMO, the medical office figured they’d take the opportunity of me having access to a paved road and call me into Yaoundé for a round of tests to see what’s up.
First Time Relaxing in a Month. Reading? Heck yes!

6 hours later, I arrived in Yaoundé as the sun set. I got out of the van and grabbed my bags. A Cameroonian man tried to grab my bags from me and I told him to shove off and leave me alone, to which he deemed it appropriate to slap me across the face and call me a 'cheap dishonest white girl' in French. Thanks for the late Christmas present, Yaoundé!

I arrived to a near empty case and went out to grab pizza to go with another PCV on med-hold. The pizza smelled so good during the car ride home, which is perhaps why the moment I stepped out of the car in front of the case, I then vomited all over the roadside for 5 minutes, staining the dress I got for free in the up-for-grabs pile of the case (I had 1 change of clothes on me since I thought I’d be in Bertoua for 1 night). Given that I just publicly vomited for the second time in-country and given that it was clear my stomach was not feeling up for food at all that day, I decided it was bedtime.

The next morning I went to the clinic and received a round of blood and stool tests. While the test results were supposed to be ready in 30 minutes, it is now Saturday and I am still waiting for the results. That's Cameroonian time for you.
This Club Sandwich was America in my Mouth. 
So Much for Vegetarianism.

So here I am, stuck in Yaoundé likely for New Years Eve and spending money I don’t have, but I’m not letting that get me down. I’m enjoying the American food (pizza, ice cream and club sandwiches with French fries, oh my!), hot showers, and wifi (albeit slow). As I laid in bed last night listening to the honking cars and life outside my case bedroom (to which I have all to myself!), I reminded myself that even though it sucks I’m in Yaoundé, with a medical problem they can’t figure out, and likely spending New Years alone, I still am in the Peace Corps and in Cameroon. Med-hold and Yaoundé or not, this is still a once and a lifetime experience and I’m trying to make the best of it! Even though I might be spending NYE watching a movie in bed eating coffee-flavored ice cream out of a tub, I’m in Cameroon, which is something that very few people can say. And for that, I am grateful. 


  1. judy snyder28.12.13

    You have really been through it! I hope the find out which "bug" you have so you can get back to the real critters in Lomie. You are an inspiration with your determination, attitude, and drive. I worry about all you girls and the sometimes dangerous situations you face, but all you PCVs are lucky to be having these experiences that will change you forever!

    1. Thanks Mama Judy!
      Hopefully it's nothing much and I hope to be on the road back to Lomie soon. Dying to get back and relax in my own house! Despite all this, I still love Cameroon! As I'm laying here watching TV on my laptop, I know that Spencer is suffering through a nearly 3 hour long church service - so we all suffer in our own unique ways :-)


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