Friday, April 24, 2009

F Squared Sun Burn Blues: A bad poem about a trip to the hospital with my village brother

The F squared sun burn blues,
man on man how they got me d o w n.
Face and feet.
Wrapped tight in colored fabric that must have been sewn from a mound,
of glory-ous flowers.
Not from the mound in the graveyard
under which lies that little boy in the bed next door,
with eyes half cracked thinking I was an angel.
Well, sorry kid, I’m no angel and I wasn’t comin to take you away,
but you up and left anyhow.

The F squared sun burn blues.
Where they came from…
maybe all of that sitting and waiting and sun bathing,
wrapped up tight in my fabric,
face and feet left to the elements.
Or maybe just sheer bad luck.
Bahati-Luck has a lot to do with pretty much all things,
Good or bad, it seems to be the biggest curse, or
a really great gift.

Our boy, in the peak of youth, curled up in fever and fear,
he was asking for a miracle.
Actually he wanted Huruma- Mercy.
A friend that he made with me.
Either way, I did my best to bring him both
Huruma and Bahati.

We fed him oranges, pineapples and peanuts,
prayed for blood, and played the game.
It was easy with a walking trump card-
The white kid that speaks the language.
We waited outside with a mob of Mamas,
gave a sermon on egalitarian relationships and were applauded.
Trying to pass the time, we walked
the maternity ward,
the malaria ward,
and learned, learned, learned.
We picked off the skin drying on his lips,
rubbed down his shaking body,
put the cup to his lips to drink.
While waiting, back-ups were called in.
One white kid equals startling,
5 equals downright scary.

Work began!
Blood came!
Attention came!
Jealousy came.
Rearing its rank face in a place that’s already pretty much
Ward 4 was suddenly a shrill of pleads…
please pay attention to my sick person,
please help me pay for this medicine,
please, please, please…
I said it man, I said it,
I am no angel.
The temperatures rise, he gets a fever,
we can all feel the heat,…
is what a heart monitor would beep,
but we’re a far cry from heart monitors

Then, “Getting better” began.
The shakes stopped, the fever went down,
color came to his eyes and hands
just in time
with the sun bringing color to the world,
rising again, another rotation around the Earth
and we’re still here, but now with more then a hope.
Luck is seems, the bearer of news good and bad,
wanted to bring us good.

5 days and the F squared sun burn blues got me d o w n.
Eyes wide open, I went and saw…too much.
Peeling red skin, but no lotion will heal these wounds,
to fresh, to bitter, to deep.
Some pretty big question marks have been drawn in the notepad of my mind.
No actions can erase them.
Damn those blues.

I really don’t have much more to say then that. I’m just here now, trying to figure out why government hospitals are so terribly corrupt and lots of other answers to questions that I don’t really want to ask myself.
I never knew that waiting in the hospital was such a horrid task. It doesn’t even matter if you’re in what looks like a WWII field hospital or you’re in the comforts of St .John’s, it is a TAXING job and I applaud, and pity and give nothing but warm and the courage to go on for all of those who ever have, or ever will have to sit and do it. The reality is that it stinks, worse then a Tanzanian man who hasn’t bathed in a week…and that’s basically the most horrible it could get.

In much happier news, aside from illness, dreaming death and constant worry, I am okay. I still love my village, love my life, and if anything feel more and more like I am really just one of the family. It’s funny, I talked a lot about just making a difference to one kid and I got a whole family…! I mean, the rest of the village is a concern too, but I have made my concentration pretty well known and made myself open to everyone, so we will see what comes of it.

I’m bummed out cause I didn’t get to teach the Mamas last week due to a middle of the night village evac with Mama Witi, Olie and Baba Witi, We got in a taxi to town and tried to go to the hospital that my friend Vincent (he’s a doctor from France) works at, but they wouldn’t take him. So we went to the city hospital, which is a joke for SO many reasons, and Vincent met us there. It was his constant showing up to make sure stuff was going on, and my constant presence that got Olie a blood transfusion…after 2 days of waiting…and now Joshua, his twin brother, is sick too, but we don’t think that he needs a transfusion. We think it’s just malaria, so that’s good. As of today they are both doing a bit better, and things are looking up. After 5 days I had to get the hell out of there and come home to help Witi with the Mgahawa and just BE.

Village projects are at a stand still seeing that I am supposed to be working with the SWP volunteers and they have been gone for 2 and a half weeks now…it’s okay though. I have been enjoying my time, but find myself getting very frustrated with the lack of enthusiasm, and the school headmasters efforts to thwart the pen-pals…apparently the two weeks before national exams is when the teachers start teaching, so I look forward to translating responses next week.

Other good news is that I applied to be a member of the PSDN (Peer Support and Diversity Network) for PC Tanzania and I got 1 of the 10 positions open to all 150 volunteers in the country….! I’m REALLY excited and can’t wait for training and to take on this new task. It will be a good way to stay busy, and do what I love to do!! Just PUMPED about it!

So, in sum, life is crazy and kind of hard, but all in all I am good. I have some great friends here who get me through and I have this amazing little Tanzanian family that is just…well, fabulous!

Also, package update! I’m having a crap time with the post office so I am going to start posting again the packages that I get, just so you can keep an eye out if you sent me something. SO, thank you Devon, Danelle (Mama Witi says KAMWENE and loves you!) and Mema/Daddy-O.

Just one more side note, I get the news about life at home and I just want to say that I’m sorry for everyone who is currently laid off. I’m sorry to hear about money problems, worries about keeping houses and cars and making ends meet. It’s very surreal that all of this is going, I can’t really get a grasp on it, and I guess it’s a huge part of the reason I’m just throwing myself full thrust into life here. I hope that you all figure stuff out. Who knows if and when the economy is going to get better. One of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned is that it’s not about worry about tomorrow, it’s about enjoying and getting through the day, if you can do both you have been successful. So, good luck in working it out. If I find the illusive tree of money I will be sure to pick enough of its fruit for everyone.

Love to you all from the bottom of my heart.


Rose said...

Very nice Margaret, always a good read! Peace & Love my friend

Farmer G said...

Mags- F squared = F ing good, had shivers, especially since I've been here in town not knowing what you've been experiencing down the road at the hospital. Good good writing. Shiver

p.s. I still think you're an angel


oxdearjamiexo said...


I didn't know you had this blog until I recently saw Mom. Wow. This school year was not the same without you... Ryan lived on Pleasant Street- I always drove by and saw people in your apartment and was upset because they were in YOUR apartment.

I've heard that you love Tanzania, which is wonderful. I'm so glad you're finding so much out. I'm going to continue reading your blogs from pervious posts- (and I like the bionafied Mags part- truly enlightening). I hope to be able to see you when you return.

Good luck to you and everyone who surrounds you:)

Jamie Favazza