Two days before I fly to Ethiopia, and I’m lying in bed with a temperature. I’ve a bed in Addis Ababa and someone to pick me up to the airport – but I still haven’t got a plane ticket.
Some mix-up at the bank. My debit card was refused on Friday, and after two long and very expensive calls to the UK, I’m told there’s no bar on the card anyway. (Apparently Visa is blocking its use, not my bank). What a bloody pain. I really don’t need it this week.
I’ve wanted to visit Ethiopia for years. Like many Westerners, Ethiopia first really came into my consciousness thanks to Bob Geldof and Band Aid’s “Feed the World” movement following the 1984 – 85 famine. Pop and politics was a potent mix for this British teenager. Every word and note had me hooked. It came as a shock, some years later, to watch film of the most fantastic green gorges and canyons, stretching for miles and miles, with enormous rivers – Ethiopia is one source of the Nile – thundering through them. I couldn’t believe it was the same country. Pictures of the unmistakeable red dusty African roads reminded me of the Africa I’d been yearning for since younger, pre-Bob days.
Another part of the African puzzle slots into place. I just know I’m going to fall in love with Ethiopia. I wonder if this is the start of my next African love affair?
The mattress seems surprisingly comfortable tonight; I can feel myself falling into it. I don’t remember when I was this physically exhausted, although reconnecting with my body is actually quite a nice feeling.
I was exhausted even before I left the compound with Baldrick at 6 p.m. We walked for an hour to Al’s Bar in Kansanga for the Hash. I stood around for an hour, had dinner and then walked home. It was a terrible Hash venue: dark and dim, crowded and terrible traffic for those driving.
I wonder if I have malaria? If I’m honest, I’m a bit worried about being away from civilisation for two weeks, essentially on my own. I brought a big bag of medication with me two years ago and have hardly used any. I’ve rarely been ill and with VSO nurse and doctor friends and International Hospital just 10 minutes walk away, health has never been a worry but, unusually, I have a headache.
I woke up hot and sweating this morning. The pillow was wet and the mattress was soaking – on both sides of the bed – and I thrashed around all night. Something’s given me a sore neck. It’s been a stressful day, and I’ve been on a mission to do as much as I can, so I’ve hunched over the laptop without a break. My shoulderblades and neck are locked solid, a sure sign of malaria according to Harriet. Better get tested.
I’m totally shattered now though. Last week was a tough week.