February 25, 2013

In Which We're Becoming African


My almost-two-year-old sits next to me in the back seat of the Land Rover. Looking all tiny and cute with his little feet barely stretching to the edge of the seat. His eyes are wide as he looks out the windshield. He squeals in delight as we turn off the main road onto the neighborhood road and he sees it's made of dirt. “Bumpy!!” He exclaims, waiting anxiously for the 'big bumps' (speed bumps) and giggling with every bounce and bump.

We're heading to the store to pick up some butter and little bear wants to tag along. I scoop him up, barefoot and sweaty and plop him in the car with us. He's slung on my hip with his dirty bare feet swinging as we wait in line to pay for the butter.

It's almost bed time and I look at his sweet face. His eyes are red with tiredness, legs speckled with dirt, feet red-brown from clay and dust walking around barefoot all day and hair slightly matted from sweat.

As I lay him on our bed our mosquito net remains open, it's not the rainy season and malaria is very rare in this region. With the ceiling fan and floor fan on full blast mosquitoes don't stand a chance in our room anyway.

He falls asleep within 5 minutes and we head back out to the living room to chat with the grown-ups. The thought I've been playing with in my head for the past day and a half needs to be resolved; a decision has to be made. “I'm thinking about us not taking the anti-malaria meds,” I say to Bill. “Yea, me too.” Confirming the stirring in my spirit that they aren't necessary. Just to be sure, we ask the missionaries we're staying with what they think. They share some facts with us: “The meds are horrible for your liver, and that's research that has been done on adults, so imagine what it would do to an infant's liver. Malaria is very rare in this region, and there aren't many mosquitoes right now since it's not the rainy season. In my 10 years of living here, only 2 people have ever gotten malaria, and once they took the medicine for it they were fine.” Bill & I look at each other and I can tell he feels the same peace about it as I do.

We head to bed, tired but full of peace. At about 1:30 O decides it's time to be awake. All the way awake. Giggly, happy, jumping up and down, restless, not going back to sleep kind of awake. We finally all fell back asleep around 3:30, waking up again at 11am. Oops.
I guess we aren't quite African yet. :)