Recently, I found myself with malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that causes all kinds of problems to the body, including violent fevers, joint pain, dizziness, and nausea. There’s actually a funny story to it, so get ready, because this is going to be fun.
Tuesday, the 18th of June, was a big day for my family. We, the McFarlands, along with another dozen families, were going to the “Foreign Staff Retreat”. This event happens once a year and is a time of fellowship, prayer, and fun for the foreign staff of New Hope Uganda (my ministry). However, the retreat takes place in a resort/hotel called the African Village, located in Mukono, which is a town located about 10 miles from Kampala, Uganda’s capital. Now, in order to get to Kampala, we have to drive about two hours from where New Hope is located.
About three days before the retreat, I discovered a serious need to go in and speak to my orthodontist. She had made a mistake in my braces, and as a result, I could not eat. Period. My parents, however, were not going into Kampala, where my orthodontist was located, but were taking a side rout that would avoid Kampala (and the resulting traffic) entirely, taking them directly to Mukono. Because of this, my parents asked our neighbors, the Ratins, to take me. The Ratins were going into Kampala that day, so it was decided I would go with them.
Tuesday morning, I woke up at 4:40 AM, having hardly slept a wink. Rising, I got dressed and made myself coffee, then headed (quietly) over to the Ratin’s house. Twenty minutes later, we left New Hope and began to drive to Kampala.
As we drove, I noticed something strange. I was getting repetitive chills, and my stomach was feeling nauseous. Knowing the dangers of getting sick in the car, I began to pray. Lord, please keep me healthy on this car trip. Please don’t allow me to get sick. Thankfully, He answered, and I didn’t feel any serious chills for the rest of the ride.
Upon arriving in Kampala, I ate breakfast with the Ratins at a wonderful restaurant called Cafe Javas. Once we had finished, we parted ways. I took a “boda-boda” (a motorcycle acting as a taxi) over to the orthodontist to have my teeth fixed. Then I took one over to Acacia Mall, where I met my “sister” Betty. Four taxis, one boda, and a bus later, we arrived at African Village. Almost the instant I found my parents, I got nailed. Dizzyness, fever, nausea, you name it.
Thankfully, my parents tested me for malaria immediately, and upon finding the results positive, began the treatment. Three days later, the treatment had done its work, and I was feeling much better- save for a minor head and respiratory cold.
Malaria, while being extremely painful and annoying, is usually not deadly. Because of modern medicine, the death rate of malaria has fallen in massive numbers, and now hovers at 2%, I believe. However, the most difficult thing about it is the lack of excitement. There is nothing to do while you have it, so I spent three days in almost complete boredom. Thankfully, God brought me out of it with no complications, and in doing so, taught me a valuable lesson: times of boredom are the best times to talk to Him. When we find ourselves in the most boring situations, we must learn to talk and fellowship with God.