October is the mini hot season. In Zarma it’s called “hemar”. Usually the rains have stopped by now but the malaria which takes a few weeks to incubate kicks into high gear. That’s why malaria in Zarma is called “hemarize”, literally, the child of “hemar”. We have had any extra long rainy season, giving the mosquitoes extra time to multiply, compounded with lots of flooding giving them extra breeding grounds, and as a result the malaria may be a little worse. We’ve had our brushes with it this year. Cole ran a high fever one evening a few weeks ago. Our doctor friend with whom we car pool figured it was too late in the evening for the lab test and suggested we just treat him for malaria. The 24 hr treatment seemed to do the trick and he’s been fine since. Jenn had the same problem at the beginning of the month with similar results but also had an ear infection didn’t seem to want to clear. She sat on just the borderline of fever for the last three weeks with the earache. We finally wondered if there might be something else involved and Friday’s malaria test proved mildly positive. She’s been on treatment all weekend but the treatment seems almost as bad as the illness, though today she’s seeing some improvement. Ben’s been doing Grade 5 math and spelling but the Grade 5-6 teacher has just been medically evacuated to the US this weekend. She’s been through over a dozen treatments since the end of August but just can’t seem to shake the malaria.
Tonight around 10 o’clock I got a call from our house help. Their month old seemed slightly constipated and to have a bit of a cough. Was my doctor friend available to see him? I was already feeling guilty for the constant pestering we’d been giving her with our own health issues over the last few weeks. The symptoms didn’t seem too serious and I figured it could wait till morning. But then I asked if the baby had a fever. “Well yeah, he seems kind of hot…” Our car is in the garage, (power steering is groaning and probably on the way out) and Gouzoul only has a little scooter. His uncle from Algeria happened to be visiting—he’s trying to sell a nice silver Mercedes he picked up in Libya. It was a nice smooth ride to the 24 hr state run clinic. [When the practitioner on call had trouble pronouncing Gouzoul’s name—his cousin joked that she could just call him “Gazoil” (French for diesel fuel).] Medical clinics here scare me but I think Gouzoul will sleep more peacefully tonight. Please pray for God’s healing and protection through this difficult season, pray also for the school as it attempts reorganize for the missing teacher and finally pray for us that we would show God’s love and grace as we serve others in practical ways.