No Healthy Balance in Mali Bamako, Mali, West Africa Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Sick in Mali.
I left Orodara, Burkina Faso and travel quickly to Kita with no day stops along the way, stayed one night in Kita and returned to Bamako around 800 kilometers. I have had a headache, fever, and extreme fatigue, a good way to diet. I first started to shutdown at the bus stop in Kita, and developed the chills.
This trip, plus crossing the Mali / Burkina Faso border was more or less and endurance run for a person having no desire to prove he can do it, I did three 35-hour bus trip almost in a row in South America, so 8 hours snaps in a bus are short in the world of backpackers. My guess is right around 35 hours of travel and miscellaneous time waiting for the bus to fill up so it will leave.
I can blame the water, I could blame the food, I could blame the heat, the idle pointing at something, but I have learned, I thought I had Malaria a year ago in Niger, and now I think I had food poisoning. The real life situation is may layers and twisted problems resulting in me feeling very bad.
I think last night the fever broke, and all that was left was caffeine withdrawal, a cup of coffee and I am at about 60 percent, still weak, have not eat more than a couple of hands full of food in a few days.
I realized in Kita that I was actually sprinting as each stop gave me zero enticement to stay, and if the guidebook is correct, I am leave the 15-20 dollar anti game, and upping the stakes to 30 dollars. I can concede and donate 20 dollars per night, but paying 30 dollars per night for a Hotel in some of the poorest countries on the planet starts to be ludicrous.
My body is out of healthy balance, I am having trouble finding food to eat in Bamako at any price, and I am worried I need to eat some salt. I developed a pimple on my cheek, and a small one at the corner of my mouth in Kita, which is a sign my body is having some maintenance problems.
Today, I feel sub-standard ok, and I think I am working my way out of this headache. The body is in full repair mode, and providing I do not do some self-induced torture run, I think I am clear.
It is not a happy day when I become sick in these desert island countries, I am alone, by myself with no clear path to health. Mali being 175 out of 177 on the Human Development Index does not mean they have answers to problem, quite the opposite, more in the realm of witchdoctor randomly trying cures. Bamako is a very modern city, and it must be rated more on attitude than money, because this place has four-lane roads with mediums, and high-rises all over the place, only Abidjan, Ivory Coast has seemed more modern for a Capital of West City, plus the streets are cleaner.
Whatever the situation, I close to refuse to put my health in the hands of a doctor outside the USA, I trust Pharmacist more. However, to go around interviewing Pharmacist for do-you-care, is not easy when you are in a city of one million that sprawls
I suspect I have abused my body, often along the way a person could not purchase water, they only sold milk, I was happy for Africa to see the Milk, however still was in need of more water.
I cannot decipher the guidebook, there is no clear backpacker path, and I do believe they have outlined a good path for a 4-wheel drive person with a non-backpacker grade budget. I am starting to believe the only budget that warrants the word backpacker is below 15 dollars per day for non-drinkers and closer to 25-30 dollars for a drinker. A person that travels for less than three months, or more less puts on a backpack to go to Europe is a tourist with a backpack. Note spending 25-30 US for a European is comparable to a person in the USA spending 10, what you get for the money is much less.
None of this is important and the reason to travel is for enjoyment. I know sometimes a person needs to go prove themselves, and that is just an inner battle, hopefully does not take too long, sort of like getting in a drinking contest with the boys and winning, then waking who knows where.
I feel good now, I took a shower, which was aborted for 2 days, I ate some Salty Cracker by accident, and this is good. As I said, there is no way to be specific as to what problem I have. I have more or less decided in Africa, I wait about three day to see if I am on the up or down path, and then I need accept and adhere to the pay-through-the-nose health plan. I need to be more afraid of dying, how does on develop a wimpy go to the doctor over a cold mentality. I have not been to a doctor in about three years and that was in the USA some malnutrition symptoms that developed in India and Tibet.
I am starting to see the small signs of a bad diet in West Africa, since leaving Togo; I have the worst combinations of food possible. Not that Togo is better, I was moving around very slowly, so one-two days of bad, food while I searched for places to eat, then five-ten of adequate, moving faster has removed the good and the result is bad. I try to find places to eat, however I need to take a taxi or drive, then pay 15 dollars for meal that I can get anywhere in Asia and South America for 1-2, I find it very difficult to promote with my feet over-priced anything.
The good part in this story is I avoided the toilet reality, and somehow I have bleached my hair to a summer blond by being in the sun, I am now ready for more enjoyable relocations at one-third the price.