Monday, 9 January 2012

What Sara Said

Os dejo algo que he encontrado en el blog de mi amiga Sara, a la que conocí en Kenya, contando una de las situaciones más tensas que vivimos juntas:


"This next story occurred as a group of us volunteers headed towards the nearby town of Kenol. At this point, besides me, all the other volunteers are from Spain. We board the matatu chatting in Spanish when I notice that the man I take a seat next to has some kind of disability. He seems to have very little control over his limbs, especially his neck which cannot full support his head. I don’t really think anything of it, however, until Maria suddenly turns to me and says, “Sara, be careful.” Maria, who has been volunteering everyday at the local clinic informs me that my seat partner is a patient of hers. To paraphrase, she basically goes on to say “He’s schizophrenic and can be violent. Don’t make eye contact.”

I start to laugh and then realize that she’s serious. “What?!” I whisper. As the matatu begins to move, his uncontrolled head swings over to land on my shoulder and his hand whacks against my thigh.

Seriously?”

The other volunteers start to laugh as I wonder what exactly Maria means by “violent.” “Don’t worry—I’ll protect you,” jokes Pablo, all while I imagine I can feel the man’s eyes boring into the back of my head. After couple throat-deep coughs rock the man’s whole body Maria adds, “Oh, and he has TB.”

“Seriously?”

Tuberculosis, or TB, is a lung disease which is highly contagious. And—you guessed it—it’s generally passed on through coughing. It is just my luck to end up squished against a potentially dangerous schizophrenic with tuberculosis.

Still laughing (because what else can you do in a situation this ridiculous) we all try to discreetly pull our shirts up over our mouths like home-made doctors’ masks. The ride to Kenol has never seemed so long. Maria’s gentle reminders not to freak out were making me lose it. When we arrive, I don’t think I’ve ever scrambled out of a matatu so fast."


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