Start spreadin’ the news, I’m leaving tomorrow. Or, in four minutes, I can call it “tonight.” I know thus far this blog has sounded rather peaceful and untroubled, and I simply cannot bear to maintain that tone. Therefore, using my favorite form, the List, I will detail the lack of sweetness and light.

1. I have too much STUFF! The bag total is currently at 4: one very large suitcase, one fairly large cloth bag I can pile on top of the suitcase, one very large backpack, and one medium-sized purple shoulder bag. The former two check, the latter two I carry on. I am carrying things like a solar shower, hiking boots and a water filter, all of which take up space, and it is likely that one-fifth of my luggage consists of a six-month supply of pills. But nevertheless it’s rather daunting.

2. My anti-malaria medication, doxycycline. I started taking it today, and I have to, but this notion of being on an antibiotic for six months is not pleasing to me. One potential hazard is that a long-term engagement with antibiotics often kills off even beneficial intestinal bacteria, leaving you vulnerable to C. difficile. Which would be unpleasant enough in and of itself, but C. difficile was also what I was misdiagnosed with before being properly diagnosed with chronic ulcerative colitis. This would not be a winning combination. Good thing I’m also carrying probiotics, I guess, but it all seems unnecessarily complicated.

I would prefer to be on Malarone, but a six-month supply of that costs fifteen hundred dollars, even when insured. And really, the side effects of Malarone are not themselves thrilling. I have a particular anxiety about antibiotics; it is unfortunately not eclipsed by my particular, and equally reasonable, anxiety about malaria.

3. Travelling with a chronic disease to which I am only beginning to grow accustomed (please see above) is scary; travelling wiht a chronic digestive disorder to a place where I cannot place all my faith in water quality is scarier.

4. My underarm aches. Clearly I have breast cancer.

5. I’m going to a country I know very little about to teach something I know a great deal about to children I know absolutely nothing about in a community about which I know the bare minimum with very few resources for a moderately long time.

Tomorrow morning, we emphasize excitement and anticipation. But to keep me honest, please expect freakouts to be a monthly feature of this travelogue.

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