In the company of others

I have been taking my medicines faithfully but the progress is slow. I skyped with Axel the other night, that is, he talked and I wrote since I was not able to talk yet. It was better than no contact at all, but awkward as our words and questions where always out of alignment.

On Saturday I decided to join our (MSH) Board that is on a visit to Madagascar and South Africa – it is a coincidence that their itinerary overlaps for a good deal with mine, both here and in South Africa — in fact we are travelling there together on Wednesday. Since I am (at least structurally) a-midlevel-on-the-periphery-MSH-employee, I never have unfettered access to the Board, so this was interesting. I accepted the invitation to join a couple of Board members and one old time colleague for dinner even though I was still in whisper mode. The fact that it was a small group (only four of us in total) was compelling, as whispering is easier that way.

We went to a small Alsatian restaurant that served raclette, imagine that, in the hard of Tana: cornichons, small potatoes, thinly sliced zebu and other charcuterie and raclette cheese melting on a stand in the middle of the table, and all this accompanied by a nice Chilean wine. One of our Board members is from Chile and we complemented her on her country’s great wines. Other than some rum in my daily grog, I haven’t had any alcohol, so the glass of wine was a real treat; in fact the whole evening was a nice treat, and we didn’t talk all that much about MSH.

I was invited to join another party of Board members (they split into smaller groups for activities and meals when going out) on Sunday, today, to see the Lemurs in a nearby park and then the Kings Palace, a UNESCO heritage site. Although I wasn’t quite fully recovered I decided I needed a break from being in my small hotel room and working all the time. So I went.

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As it turned out I was the only French speaker in the group and could make myself useful to serve as an interpreter as well; I was able to talk, still croaking, but beyond the whisper stage. Still I have these occasional throat tickles that turn into major coughing spasms that take about 10 minutes to pass – leaving everyone worried and concerned. The attention makes it worse of course, there is nothing one can do other than letting the spasms recede. This was my third major coughing fit, the first in the middle of my in-briefing at USAID, the second in the office and now this one in the car. I am so done with this coughing.

On the way home I had myself dropped off at my hotel and was able to secure a massage slot right away. That was a nice ending of the day – although it is not quite over. That’s the next post.

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November 2015
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