Ba Distrito - Halfway Point

Unexpected Happenings...

So, you may have noticed that I did not post a blog last week. I had a minor set back. I started feeling really awful Friday and Saturday. I overheat easily, so I thought I had been drinking enough water. I was really hot and exhausted, so I figured I just needed to rest and drink water. I still went to church Sunday, but fell asleep as soon as I got home and slept until the next morning. At work Monday, it was not much better. I was in pain and exhausted and couldn’t concentrate. The next morning, I asked someone from work to pick me up and take me to the international clinic where the doctor ran a few tests. Result: “You had Dengue Fever recently. You’re in recovery now.”

That’s right. I had Dengue Fever and didn’t notice. For those who, like my friends and family, immediately went to the internet to find out more, I assure you that I had a mild form. It was not hemorrhagic, and really, the risk of death is 1-5%. Recovery was about as bad as, if not worse than, the actual disease. The fever stuck around several more days, and I learned that Dengue is also known as “Break Bone Disease” for a reason. Haha… everything hurt, and just the several steps to the bathroom felt like I had just run a marathon in the desert. I could barely move as the days went on. The people in the house and at work were great, though. They came by to check on me and make sure I didn’t need anything. When I started getting better, I got a call from Carol asking if I wanted to go to lunch. When I told her I was recovering from Dengue, she offered to either bring me dinner or take me to dinner if I was tired of being in the house.

Oh, fun story. In the middle of all of this, my visa was about to expire. I had known that needed to be taken care of. On Monday, I had filled out all the paperwork, and we were going to go to the immigration office Tuesday. However… you know… hospital. I still had to go, though. They had to take my picture, and I kind of needed to be present for that. I am SO glad that that picture did not become part of my visa. I look like I’m dying… or possibly that I’m about to murder someone. It’s very flattering.

Anyway, I’m better now. I went to the office every day this week. I had to go home and rest for several hours on Monday and Tuesday. My bosses were actually getting a little concerned that I wasn’t fully recovered yet, and were talking about taking me back to the hospital. Then on Wednesday I woke up with no pain or exhaustion and was back to my regular cheerful and excited manner. So… yes, I am now fully recovered, and I am more determined than ever to destroy any mosquito that comes anywhere close to me. Those little buzzing things are evil creatures from the pits of hell. Also, the risk of the more dangerous developments of Dengue increase each time you get it. So there’s that.

Work Stuff

Fortuitously, no new data came in until the end of the week that I was sick, so I didn’t get behind in anything. I have more data now, and I’m working on figuring out new programs to analyze qualitative data. On Wednesday, I was introduced to one of the directors in the Ministry of Justice as the expert on the project. We started putting together a plan for the next several weeks. Next week I’m going to start training a team in the Ministry on how to do the analysis. I’m excited!


As you can imagine, adventures were few the past couple weeks. However, on Sunday, after going to lunch with people from church, I was given a ride home on a motorcycle!! Yep! I was so excited. I think I mentioned in the last post that that was one of my goals before I left. Goal achieved!! Yay!!


On Wednesday night, I went to Bible study at Shamaresh’s. He lives next door and is the East Timor director for World Vision. I really enjoyed it, and one of the girls is an intern about to move into the same complex as Shamaresh. Hopefully, we can find adventure-like things to do together.

There was a bit of buzz this week because a militant communist who has issues with the government had announced that he was going to be holding demonstrations along the main road – Beach Road - all week. (I live and work about half a mile from there). The government had denied him permission, but he still said he was going ahead. Given the country’s rather tumultuous history, people were getting really nervous. The Australians got an email from their government telling them to avoid the area. Police were going to be blocking roads, and people were told to be cautious. The American Embassy posted a warning on its page too. On Monday at work, I could hear sirens and some chanting, but that was apparently the only day that anything happened.

On Thursday after work, I decided to walk to the grocery store to get some bread for breakfast. Walking to the store is walking toward Beach Road. I got nervous when I got closer because I saw an enormous crowd lining the street. I was able to make out children in uniform walking down the street in lines, though, and everyone seemed rather quiet other than someone talking over a loud speaker. I decided it would be ok (apparently I like to live dangerously). Honestly, I don’t know what it was. It could have been a funeral. It was definitely Catholic-affiliated. The person on the loudspeaker was a nun who was sitting in the passenger seat of a car that was moving slowly down the street. There was something that looked kind of like a parade float, with flowers and such on it, and there were women dressed in all white and people in some sort of ceremonial garb.


It could have been a parade, but it was far too somber for that. The crowd was packed, though, and I had a bit of difficulty getting to the store since I was going the opposite direction of the procession.

Well, I think that’s it for now. I promise, I’m feeling 100% better, and I’m excited to start analyzing and working on the training session I’ll be leading.

Next week is the American Embassy’s Independence Day party, and I’m hoping to go.

Oh! More pictures are on the album now. Available here.