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Silver Linings and a Mosquito

Being sick in India*** Blog post written by production manager Jane Mellema ***

Our artisans greeted me after my two-month absence from their lives. Chai was served, and conversation began. Quarantine and isolation make a person lonely! I was thrilled to finally be strong enough to visit these ladies in their home. One of the daughters brought out henna and began to decorate my hands (see previous blog about henna). It was a gift in honor of my restoration to health!

Being sick in a foreign land isn't fun. 

An epidemic of Dengue fever had struck our city last fall. It's amazing how people are temporarily equal, in the face of a tiny creature like a mosquito. No matter what socio-economic level a person comes from, they can be infected by one little bite.

After a week of fever that refused to leave, I decided to visit a doctor. After a second doctor’s visit and a barrage of blood tests, the culprits were revealed: Dengue fever and another mosquito-borne disease, Chikungunya!

Thus began a cycle of up and downs. Some days, I imagined I felt stronger, that the fever was finished, only to find out later that it had returned. Day after day…… after day…… after day. Sometimes discouragement settled in. Was this a new me? My temperature refused to stay normal. Friends reminded me that this was not permanent, and I would heal. I knew our artisans were constantly asking about me and wanted to even send me meals.

Did I mention being sick in a foreign country isn't fun?

Slowly, slowly I could see light at the end of the tunnel. One outing a day. A walk to the end of the street to buy vegetables. A journey to buy milk and eggs. After this exertion, you would think I had run miles! I wondered, how could anyone exercise for the sake of exercise? I could barely get to the end of the street.

After my recovery, my hand would brush against my face, and I would be shocked to realize it was so cool and normal! I was thrilled to be strong enough to walk multiple places in one day. Health restored brought such a sense of happiness and wonder. I've heard people say that losing something causes you to realize how much you really appreciate it. I bore the henna designs on my hands to remind me of how health, life, and friendship are wonderful things. What a gift for me to have friends who missed me and reminded me to keep my chin up.

So often, the basic elements of life go unappreciated: sight, sound, smell, strength to walk and run without pain, health, the ability to think, the ability to be out and about visiting friends and working.

A tiny mosquito taught me how to appreciate health. My friends, our artisans, continue to teach me about the gift of friendship. Being sick in a foreign land isn't fun, but sometimes there's a big silver lining!

Photo credit: Sylvia King

1 comment

  • Hannah White

    Jane! What a blessing this was to read. I am so glad that you have recovered to full health. You are so brave and it is so evident that you rely on a good Father.


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