I finally watched Cinema Paradiso last night on a recommendation from David Applebaum. Easy to see why, given my limited time with David, he would be so fond of the pic… it’s a very sweet, somewhat tragic, love story in a beautiful little town. The schoolhouse and the theatre in the movie actually quite reminded me of Isla de Mozambique. Nice…
By APNWLNS payday loans
Susie and I began our travels together a year ago today on Jan 26th! I had just finished a 14km marathon through the slums of Nairobi, and flew straight from rural Kenya into modern South Africa. I got in line at customs behind tons of other travelers and couldn’t have been more tired or ecstatic to see Susie on the other side of the guards! Unlike me, she wasn’t coughing, and didn’t appear to have black lungs/TB! Instead, she was looking bright and cheery and bearing gifts, a camera, and a new backpack! Such a fantastic day and such a fantastic start to a wonderful journey together across Africa and back into Seattle life. We found our home with the Nuns, then immediately went to coffee to “plan” the trip. And by planning, I mean catching up and giggling and babbling and talking slowly!
Susie was always better on the road about sending meaningful group updates… so I shouldn’t have been surprised to get this fantastic recap in my email this week. Made me laugh out loud, feel all warm and gooey inside, and even get a little teary eyed. Mostly it made me remember… endless stories… endless adventures… so so so many good times. A girl couldn’t ask for a better travel partner or a better friend to return home to. So much of my love goes out to Susie for making 2007 a remarkable year! Here’s her recap and here are a few of my pics. Enjoy!
Our time in Zanzibar couldn’t have been more surreal, bizarre, or full of Snickers bars!
Welcome to the one year anniversary of our reunion in Johannesburg. Or so I think – need to review the ol’ journal, but I’m nearly certain it was today. Can you believe that?
What a wild, crazy year it has been. Recap:
-Traveling. Holy shit – elephants in Addo, hilarity at Cape Town pride, meeting Brett in Windhoek, skydiving, sand boarding, basking in the rains of the Zambezi churning over Vic Falls, water slides in Lusaka, 10-hour pickup truck rides, the quiet, broken beauty if Ila, too many “samoosas,” Wimby beach parties, breaking beds in Nampula, the most amazing recuperation mission of all time in Nkhata Bay, welcoming ourselves to East Africa with “why are you so stupid? you stupid, stupid girls!” haggling our way onto the “cheapest” boat out to Zanzibar, planning our Kenya double-date from afar, Susie goes bananas trying to upload photos 5 at a time, strange walks with a strange ex-heroin addict in Jambiani, finding sweet relief from the heat in Lushoto, catching a glimpse of Kilimanjaro on the bus ride to Nairobi, reunions with Brett, discovering sometimes I felt like a plumpkin, the cheapest, most delicious steak ever in Kampala, near-fist-fights getting ourselves around Uganda, trekking with gorillas, rafting the Nile, reunions in Malava, navigating the streets of Mombasa, and the sweet life out on Lamu. Cat, we had one hell of a time.
-The return. Parties, navigating life being “back,” reunions with friends, dinner parties, saying hello to the mountains again.
-Dating. Dear lord. Susie is a disaster, and Cat discovers her knack at rocking the dating world like no one else. You really should get paid for this.
-Going back to our old jobs. Riiiiiight. Still working on that, and who knows, maybe we’ll work together?
-Staring a business. With Cat to thank, of course. Making it happen in Seattle.
-Fibroids. Screw ‘em. And say goodbye to them and hello to life with your body back. Hot as hell, Cat.
-Navigating the new challenges of living in what feels like the same city, but sure is different. Friends here and gone, the SLUT, new restaurants, new music. So much to keep exploring, which is what makes Seattle rock.
Just wanted to say, Cat, it has been such a wonderful, complicated, and exciting year, and I can’t be more thankful to have spent so much of it with you. It is one year after what was the start of a pretty amazing journey, and I look forward to seeing what the next year has in store for us.
Love you, Cat. You’re pretty damed cool.
Standard look for our travel days
World’s worst matatu minibus in Mozambique
(can’t seem to remember if this pic was from before or after the puking?)
Susie & Cat – couldn’t be happier to squeeze us plus a driver onto the back of a tiny motorbike in Kampala
We’ve met tons of absolutely fun, entertaining, amazing people on the road. My trip is more than half over, but in Malawi I decided I wanted to start getting their snapshots so I have a better chance of remembering all of them. Here are a brief selection of mugs of some of the great people we’ve been privileged to meet… enjoy!
Nomad trip from Namibia to Zimbabwe
Anders from Denmark
Brett from New Zealand
Daryll from Brooklyn
Dawne from Brooklyn
Katje from Germany
Mac from Zambia
Mario from Germany
Mike from Canada
Ralf from Germany
Therese from Australia
Sandra from France
Zac from Boston
Josh from Brooklyn
Thora (from Denmark) & Wilson (from Portugal) who live in London
Nkata Bay, Malawi
19 year old Nick from Seattle (likes to be known as the most handsome and virile young man ever)
Alain from Switzerland
Anine the 25 year old doctor from Holland
David from Montreal on the Ilala
Josh from Maine, now Peace Corps in Zambia
Joel from Delaware, former Peace Corps
Warner from Oregon, aka The World Traveler
I’ve got various stickers on my Nalgene, including ones from South Africa, from friends in Brazil, Beal in Korea, music in Seattle, etc. However, the sticker that seems to always elicit comments is the Don’t Mess With Texas sticker. Nobody seems to know it’s an incredibly successful anti-litter campaign, but I’m here to do my part by spreading the world in the backpackers’ circuit of southern Africa.
Side note: Southern Africa countries, lands where locals just throw their trash out the window into the street, could really use successful anti-litter campaigns. I still cringe every time I see someone throw a can of soda out the window of a bus or drop a plastic sack into the litter filled bushes. Of course, with AIDS, education, poverty, civil wars, and corruption to worry about, anti-litter is understandably not at the top of the prioritized lists around these parts.
Happy to be in Malawi!
In my mind:
- kids dancing to Michael Jackson in the streets
- stairways to nowhere
- flowered pants
- hitching a 6 hr ride on a 18 wheeler beer truck (sweetest ride ever!)
- hitching rides from people with open containers (why so many, so unavoidable?)
- Aren the fabulous vegan Isreali ex-soldier fighting with anyone about anything (especially fighting with Zac about why we eat cows)
- 4am matatu ride with sullen teenage son and jubilant Portuguese father, together on road trip
- $1 juice boxes
- $0.19 chocolate bon bons from the soda coolers
- $0.19 ice cream from a Swahili speaker
- $0.19 boiled cassava with hottest lime pili pili known to man
- $0.03 veggie samosas
- prisoner in the jail reaching through the cell bars, beckoning us over with his curled fingers
street vendors selling sweets
also selling chicken feet, roasted maize, and cashews
Susie getting so fat she broke the bed (honest about breaking the bed, but couldn’t be less serious about getting fat. the girl still looks great, even when sick, she’s making me look bad)
flying 45 minutes saved us 3 travel days! (moz public transit is THAT bad)
arriving in Lichinga
our worst minibus yet. took forever to fill up (minibusses must be crammed over-full of people before they’ll leave). breaks didn’t work. had to be push started. missing a seat. broken out windows. door didn’t close. drove in wrong gear. ran out of gas. leaky. bumpy dirt road. puking Susie (twice). arrived at night. push starting didn’t work, so had to get another lift the final leg from Metangula.
crowded, eh? not fun for long rides. but kinda fun to climb out of broken windows (easier than climbing over 24 other passengers).
finally we get to relax. “so worth it,” says Susie
hard to get scenery shots since the kids always want their photo too
hard to resist though, they’re cuties
view from our $3 beach front chalet
me squinting into the sun, chalet behind me
Pemba meant memories of Russell’s Place, big parties, lots of wild people, full moons, and moonlight swimming. I’ve never arrived at a backpackers to find a bigger group of (really nice) drunks and junkies, mixed in with fabulous travelers and aid workers from places like Sudan, and ever a really-o truely-o mercerany. I’ve had my stereotype of junkies challenged, that’s for sure. Couldn’t ask for a friendly crowd, more inclusive, or more giving.
There’s not much to do in Pemba (or Wimbe Beach to be exact), we we spent our time relaxing on the gorgeous beach, hitching into town, and chatting with a rotating crowd of great folks. Spent a few fabulous nights enjoying the full moon on the low tide spit of land. One night was a highly entertaining beach party, another was a more low key swim with new friend Ryan. Morning swims with Lex and Susie were great, and always included the locals out fishing and crabbing in full street attire (skirt, shirt, headscarf; trousers, shirt, etc). Here are a few photos…
I love this beach
New crazy friend Kamal, played on the 1980s Mozambique national soccer team, invited us to his kid’s birthday party. While trying to convince us to come, he says it’ll be a great surprise for his wife. He said she’d see us arrive in the house and shout “Oh Jesus, white people!!” As much fun as it sounded, I’d just begun my malaria meds and decided to politely decline his drunken offer.
The dogs were great, loved swimming, and were champs at chasing crabs in sand.
Example of women doing all the work in Africa…
And another example. Sometimes I think it’s just plain silly that men can’t help even sometimes with stuff like water collection, firewood, etc. It’s not my place to judge, but it’s hard not to sometimes. My goodness… a little equality never hurt anyone.
Our new friends Thora (from Denmark) & Wilson (from Portugal) who live in London. We met tons of other great folks not pictured including Lex from an eco-village in Joburg, and four fabulous folks from the great NW: Lorna & Paul from Vancouver, Ryan from Seattle, and Miranda from Port Townsend.
Susie and I took the old 1940s Ilala Ferry from Metangula, Mozambique to Nkata Bay, Malawi. It runs once a week up and down the coast and it was a grand ol’ adventure!
Catching the Ilala from most ports means piling passengers and luggage (bed frames, bikes, chickens, sacks of maize, crates of beer, etc) into life boats then heading out to where the boat sits waiting in the harbor. No fancy docks or gang planks here at our lovely port in Metangula, Mozambique.
I’d heard from some Lithuanian girls that there was an American on the boat and we were lucky to met him in due time. Even better, Warner wasn’t just from the US, he was from the beautiful Pacific Northwest! We ended up taking and laughing for a good long while, and after the boat we ended up heading together to stay at Mayoka Village an amazing lodge with tons of great people. I’m not sure if I’ve ever met another world traveler with as many entertaining stories as Warner. We don’t know how he manages to make so many crazy trips, but we like to think it’s maybe drugs, porn, stripping, or perhaps travel writing. It’s probably none of the above, but it’s still fun to guess.
We thought we’d need to get a room for the overnight trip, but found about 50 backpackers lounging about on the deck. Sweet! We dumped our bags, joined them in jumping off the boat into the water far below, and commenced to have a great time! The rains in the middle of the night made sleeping on the open deck less than ideal (too bad we didn’t have a cabin), but Warner lent me his sleeping bag and I survived just fine.
David! We met David from Montreal a few weeks ago at Ilha de Mozambique and had a fabulous 24 hours together. He speaks great Spanish (and very passable Portuguese) and he gave us a thorough tour of the tiny island. He also nearly convinced me to shave my head, perhaps a first. (I didn’t do it, but I’ve never been more tempted). When I woke up on the Ilala after a restless, wet night, I was felt shocked disbelief and then elation to find David sitting just a few feet from my head! Super fun to have a little reunion, even if it was for just a few hours of catching up.
Read on for a lovely, and very accurate, article from Getaway Magazine!
Time travelling on the Lake of Stars
Each week, with the grace and style of yesteryear, the good ship Ilala steams out of Monkey Bay for the northern shores of Lake Malawi, village hopping all the way. One hot morning Don Pinnock jumped aboard.
There were five cows in the lifeboats. They hadn’t been there the previous evening so they must have been loaded from some lakeside village during the night. Probably Metangula. They didn’t look happy swinging there, brown eyes wide with terror and noses wet from spit and thrashing about.
Later that morning the two boats were lowered off Cóbué, cows and all. On the bow of each boat was stencilled MAXIMUM LOAD – 22 PERSONS so maybe it was considered okay to pack 11 goats, several hundred chickens, a puppy and a flapping duck plus 11 bags of maize, two beds and a heap of persons on top of the cows, which by then seemed to have swooned into a state of torpor.
Heaven knows how all that was landed on the beach, with no jetty and a nasty little chop on the lake. All I can say is that the lifeboat crew of the Ilala – Malawi’s floating peasant bus – are consummate boatmen. They yell a lot, and sometimes throw both goods and people ashore or onto the ship, but you never get a sense they’re out of control. Their boats, like the Ilala, are dented and scratched, but their motors always seem to start and they do wonderful things with ropes and hooks.
I’d boarded the Ilala – an ancient, interestingly bashed but undoubtedly enduring lake steamer – at Monkey Bay, down south, and had bagged a cabin with an en-suite bathroom and an armchair – by Ilala standards, pure luxury. The lower deck was dense with peasant farmers and small-time traders with their rolls, bags, children, goats, ducks, chickens and – as I discovered at Cóbué – even cattle. For many lake-shore Malawians, the ship is just about their only link to the outside world – a slightly tatty white angel which appears out of the lake with unfailing regularity and seems to have no restriction on who or what it is prepared to ferry between heaven and hell.
By all accounts, the peasants were starving just then – some eating green maize, others winnowing grass. It seems some government official had sold Malawi’s maize reserves to another country. There were rumours he had also pocketed the money and that he had then been promoted. About 65 per cent of Malawi’s 11-million people live below the poverty line. The busy trans-lake micro-commerce between Malawi and Mozambique was probably keeping a good many alive.
The names of the southern lake villages upon which the Ilala bestows its blessings roll off your tongue like quicksilver: Chilinda, Chipoka, Makanjira, Nkhotakota, Metangula, Likoma. Each had its huts, its canoes and its crowds.
Likoma Island, however, also had its cathedral, a building as out of place as a whale in a fish tank. Likoma is a few kilometres off the Mozambican shore and is only eight kilometres long. Oddly, though, it was the headquarters of the Anglican Church of Malawi until the 1940s. The reason had to do with Bishop Chauncy Maples who, with his friend the Reverend William Johnson, established a mission there in 1886 as a project of the Universities Mission to Central Africa – inspired and led by David Livingstone. Maples was drowned in Nkhotakota Bay on the way to his bishopric.
In 1903 work began on the huge cathedral dedicated to St Peter. It’s an extraordinary building for such a remote place – 100 metres long, 25 wide, with stained-glass windows and elaborate stalls. It was built on the spot where Maples witnessed suspected witches being burned alive. The crucifix above the altar is one of the few made from the wood of a tree beside which Livingstone’s heart was buried in Zambia.
At Nkhata Bay we gained more steerage passengers and lost most of the deck and cabin passengers. I was rather sorry about that. The deck passengers were almost as colourful as those down below; travellers who pitched their tents on deck or curled up on the hard benches to brave out the night in the open.
There was a Belgian couple, Derek and Meika – nut brown with legs all scratched – who had been cycling the backroads of southern Malawi and were hitching a ride to explore more backroads up north.
Big Ben was an Aussie who ran a guesthouse in Cóbué, owned a bit of wild beach and was an expert on the commercial and social benefits of marijuana. Little Ben was from London. He’d met Big Ben, abandoned plans for a world trip, bought an expensive video camera and was making a video diary of his life in Mozambique plus helping around the guesthouse. The trouble was that, not long after Little Ben arrived, Big Ben decided he needed to head back to civilization. Little Ben looked a bit crestfallen.
Patrick ran a lodge and some community projects in Mozambique. He’d once cycled from Addis Ababa to Johannesburg, which took five months. Jan was a Hollander who’d driven from Amsterdam to Cape Town via Morocco, West Africa, Chad and Sudan – not the easiest route.
North of Nkhata Bay you really feel you’re in the Great Rift Valley. The lake is 585 kilometres long and 80 at its widest point, and while the shoreline of the southern half is rather flat, north of Nkhata the Kandoli Mountains rise up aggressively, backed by the Nyika and Viphya plateaus. This is high miombo-woodland country with villages wedged between steep slopes and the water’s edge.
When we dropped anchor off Usisya, the scene was so saturated with metaphor and historical allusion it was difficult to believe it was real – and that we were in the 21st century. If it were a movie shoot, the clapperboard would read: “First Arrival on Wild, Foreign Shore.”
David Livingstone had witnessed such a reception on the Lower Zambezi from the deck of Ma-Robert, and Captain James Cook from the bridge of Endeavour as he made landfall in Tahiti. Albert Schweitzer described it with delight on arriving at Lambaréné up the Ogooué River where he would build a hospital and capture the imagination of Europe, and Joseph Conrad imbued a similar scene with savage menace in Heart of Darkness.
As the ship dropped anchor hundreds of villagers flooded out of grass huts and lined the shore in a colourful, babbling throng. Dugout canoes were dragged into the water and arrowed towards us, their paddlers whooping. On the shore the crowd heaved and billowed like a single living thing.
Behind the human crush edging the beach, huge baobab and mango trees dwarfed rough grass huts. Beyond them thick forest cloaked the slopes of muscular mountains, dipping into valleys beneath snakes of morning mist and reappearing on distant, storm-topped peaks.
I gawped at the scene for a while, then hitched a ride on one of the lifeboats to see what Archangel Ilala looked like from the shore. As I jumped into the surf, a wave whacked me ashore into the arms of a yelling hubbub of mostly naked children who took up a ringing chant: “Photo, photo. . . .” Which of course made photography impossible.
The Ilala certainly looked magnificent, huge against the foreground of crude huts and startlingly white in a world of blues and greens. I dodged my young followers long enough to discover a backpacker place named Usisya Beach Lodge – basic grass huts, hammocks and heaven.
The lakeshore had a smell all of its own. It was drenched with the heavy linden-sweetness of flowering trees, compounded with the fusty, antique odours of bats, wood smoke and wet earth. It pulsated with a strange rhythm. The throbbing sounds of countless human voices rose and fell in time to the everlasting beat of drums and the thud of pestles pounding maize in wooden mortars, while to this was added the incessant contrapuntal zing of amatory cicadas.
The effect was trance inducing. Joseph Conrad had described such an experience as “being captured by the incredible which is of the very essence of dreams.”
The ship’s hooter sounded, shaking me out of my reverie, and I scampered back into the waiting lifeboat. To be stranded there, it occurred to me as the boat pulled away, would not be a great hardship.
North of Usisya everything goes under the heading Spectacular. Subtitles run to Awesome, Exotic and Romantic. It was the rainy season and as we weighed anchor at Nkhata Bay a storm slammed into the rising sun. A straight line of pinkish cloud appeared across the horizon about 1000 metres above the lake. Below it, streaks of rain were rippling like the legs of a millipede; above rose a massive thunderhead, stacked in layers of variegated grey to its bulbous anvil haloed in golden light. We sailed straight at the storm but, before we reached it, shafts of sunlight seemed to have blasted it to death, leaving a few tattered memories of the dawn performance.
Those who sail Lake Malawi know it to be a singularly alien and exotic thing, elemental and undisciplined, a sleeping giant liable at any moment to rage with aboriginal fury. From the decks of the Ilala the thrusting landscape of Eocene catastrophe trembled through the heat haze, reminding us of the red-hot world that had fashioned the rift.
Ungovernable storms are known to sweep suddenly from a clear sky across its waters and when certain clouds descend, battalions of dervish-dancing waterspouts leap hundreds of metres into the air to meet them, as though trying to escape some lake demon below.
As we puttered towards Ruarwe and Tcharo, clouds of lake flies in their nuptial flight seemed intent on emulating the waterspouts, looking exactly like the smoke from some hull-down steamer.
This is a lake of moods, sometimes spilling its banks for no apparent reason; at other times retreating, stranding boats and jetties. There is no tide to mix its deep waters, and at times the lighter oxygenated surface water skids to and fro across the useless, stagnant layer below, as though the lake was being rocked like a gargantuan bathtub.
We turned at Chilumba, just north of Mount Waller, and headed back towards Monkey Bay. Being the rainy season, the lake was shy with its colours, but near Likoma Island the clouds rolled back for the grand evening performance for which Malawi is justly famous.
As the sun sank westwards the waters became an enchanted mirror, tilted to reflect the languid artistry of a painted sky. In the strange silence of the dying day the waters glowed deep crimson, then almost reluctantly changed to silken, cyclamen purple as they waited for the evening breeze to caress their magic texture and set lines of amber ripples swimming slowly towards the farther shore. This signalled all the colours on the water to fade like courtiers from an audience chamber, until at last only an imperial presence of molten gold remained.
The loveliness of the mountains was scarcely less compelling. Theirs were pastel shades: on one side pale lavender melting imperceptibly into pearly grey and on the other into a luminous madonna blue.
Suddenly it was night. A layer of moon-silver spread over the mountains and the sky trembled with the myriad stars of Africa. The placid water reflected each shining point of light and as I turned to go below, it seemed we were moving through a watery universe, divorced of space and time. It was a sublime farewell.
Next morning the lifeboats were full of goats.
I found photos on a cyber café computer of these two brothers we met back in Pemba. We met them just as they were finishing up a month in Pemba. There was a great beach party/birthday party/goodbye party and it was a highly entertaining night. It was fun to hang out with them for a night and entertaining to find they’d left their photos on this particular computer at this particular cyber cafe. For their carelessness and for shear entertainment value, I’ve decided to post my two favorites from the pics they left on the desktop. Enjoy!
Zack from Boston
Josh from Brooklyn
A gorgeous and decaying place, la Ilha de Mozambique used to be the capital of Mozambique back in the 1800s and 1900s when it was under Portuguese colonial rule. The capital moved to Maputo about 100 years ago and the island has been in a state of decay ever since. It’s now a Unesco World Heritage Site and we had an amazing visit. Very few tourists (maybe 10-15 on the whole island when we were there). Stayed inside a family’s home (Casa de Luis) for $6 each and got to know their family, kids, and life a little bit. All of the locals were amazing and the school kids were super fun, sweet, and loved to dance (especially like Michael Jackson, oddly enough).
I know it’s a ton of pictures, but I couldn’t narrow it down more. What a great place… reminded me a little of Lamu and that made me quite happy.
another group email from Susie since she’s better about sending updates!
One week in Mozambique, and we have covered a small distance but have been able to see so much. Travel here is much more rugged in comparison to the other countries we’ve been in, but the efforts we’ve made to get from place to place has been completely worth it. I’ve updated photos up through where we are now, so check out the photo site and see what there is to see.
To give you a taste, during our last week of travel, Cat & I have taken the following exciting modes of transportation:
-Bike taxi (hanging on the back of a bike, heavy packs and all)
-Minibus (typical mob of people in a small converted van)
-Bigger minibus (exciting to have more head room)
-Pickup truck (a miraculous feat – 3/5 of the truck bed full of baggage, supplies, a bike or two, and at least one live chicken; 2/5 of the truck bed full of a huge stack of blankets to sell at a market, and at least 14 people and all of their little bags. 10 hours of fun on that one.)
-18 wheeler beer truck (my first, and our cushiest ride by far – we got to sit on the bed in the back and take an easy ride to Pemba)
To say the least, travel here is much different than other countries we’ve been in, and defines a bit more our experience in Mozambique!
From the beginning…We crossed through Malawi (we’ll be heading back there next) and then headed into Mozambique through the Milange border crossing. From there we headed to Nampula and then straight over to Ila de Mocambique, which was the former capital of the country until the late 1800s. An unbelievable place, full of crumbling buildings and a ton of people living amongst a mix of what are basically ruins and the occasional renovated building. So colorful, so relaxing, and very far off the typical tourist track, which was a great break from the norm. Photos tell more than I can. My photos show very few people, but the people were the best part of being there – tons of kids all willing to play in the street (the Monkey walk was a favorite), and adults who put up with our babbling to them in broken Spanish and parts of Portuguese we’d picked up. Just gorgeous. From there we headed up to Pemba, where we are now. It is more touristy here and defnitely more developed as more and more people make their way up to this northern oasis in the country. Beautiful beaches and we hope to get to the nearby Quirimbas islands, just north of us.
First we’ll be taking a break here to nurse Cat back to health, who is going through her second bout with malaria – poor thing! Luckily there are plenty of places we can crash here, so we’re going to get ourselves out of the tent and into some beds and hopefully a place with a fan to let Cat recover in a more peaceful setting. She’s doing pretty well at the moment, but will go through some tougher days as the medication courses through her body to make her better. Send some positive vibes over to Cat, and we’ll hope to be on the road again in a few days.
From here we’re heading back into Malawi to take a trip up the lake, and then up into Tanzania. After doing some dedicated planning (we actually pulled up a calendar and a map…the whole works!), it turns out we have less time and more ground to cover than we’d like. We are halfway through our journey, and we keep thinking of more places we want to see! Depending on what our pace is, we will definitely head to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and then to Zanzibar. There may be a trip out to Western Tanzania after that, and depending on time we could swing through Rwanda and Uganda as well. If not, we’ll head straight up to Kenya to begin our explorations from there.
That’s the plan for now – always subject to change. Know that we’re doing great and are staying safe, and will be getting healthy shortly. More to come soon…
Me, me, me
In P. vivax and P. ovale infections, patients having recovered from the first episode of illness may suffer several additional attacks (“relapses”) after months or even years without symptoms. Relapses occur because P. vivax and P. ovale have dormant liver stage parasites (“hypnozoites”) that may reactivate. Treatment to reduce the chance of such relapses is available and should follow treatment of the first attack.
When you’re bitten by a malaria infected mosquito, the parasites that cause malaria are injected into your blood and invade your liver cells. The parasite reproduces in the liver cells, which then burst open, allowing thousands of new parasites to enter the bloodstream and infect red blood cells. The parasites reproduce again in the blood cells, kill the blood cells, and then move to other uninfected blood cells.
The time from the initial malaria infection until symptoms appear (incubation period) generally ranges from:
- 9 to 14 days for Plasmodium (P.) falciparum.
- 12 to 18 days for P. vivax and P. ovale.
- 18 to 40 days for P. malariae.
Symptoms can appear in 7 days. Occasionally, the time between exposure and signs of illness may be as long as 8 to 10 months with P. vivax and P. ovale, because these parasites can survive in the human liver for a long time.
The incubation period may be longer if you are taking medicine to prevent infection (chemoprophylaxis) or have developed partial immunity due to previous infections.
Malaria can begin with flu-like symptoms. In the early stages, infection from P. falciparum is similar to infection from P. vivax, P. malariae, and P. ovale. You may have no symptoms or symptoms that are less severe if you are immune or partially immune to malaria.
Common malaria symptoms include:
- Chills and a rapidly rising temperature.
- Headaches, nausea, and extreme sweating.
Symptoms may appear in cycles. The time between episodes of fever and other symptoms varies with the specific parasite you are infected with. Episodes of symptoms may occur:
- Every 48 hours if you are infected with P. vivax or P. ovale.
- Every 72 hours if you are infected with P. malariae.
- P. falciparum does not usually have a regular, cyclic fever.
After the early stages, life-threatening complications develop rapidly with P. falciparum and, if untreated, may result in irreversible complications or death.
If untreated, you may recover in a week to a month (or longer) after being infected with P. vivax, P. malariae, or P. ovale.
Malaria can be a more serious disease for a pregnant woman and her unborn baby (fetus), and for young children. Medication choices are limited for a pregnant woman or a child. Infection with P. falciparum can lead to death for a pregnant woman and her fetus. For these reasons, a woman should not travel to an area where P. falciparum malaria is present while pregnant. Visit the CDC Web site (http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/travel/index.htm) to find out whether malaria is a problem in the country where you will be traveling.
Malaria caused by P. falciparum may come back (recur) at irregular intervals for up to 2 years if treatment is not complete.
Malaria caused by P. vivax and P. ovale may recur at irregular intervals for up to 3 to 4 years, but medication treatment can prevent relapses.
P. malariae can remain in the blood of an infected person for more than 30 years, usually without causing any symptoms.