Owen

(11)

I find Rachel lying on a bed in the infirmary. She looks tired. I give her a hug.

“What did you do to yourself?” I ask.

“It’s the local food,” Rachel says. “I thought I would get to like it, but my stomach just couldn’t take it. When I pooped in my pants I knew I needed help.”

I remembered her saying that in Lilongwe.

“How long are they going to keep you here?”

“Until I get better.”

“Hope it’s not too long.”

“I hope so too.”

We talk about our assignments. Rachel is teaching English in a secondary school. She has to wait and take a breather before she can continue talking.

“How’re you managing it?” I ask.

“The kids are great, but the facility needs a lot.”

“How so?”

“Well, there aren’t any tables and chairs. Kids sit on the floor.”

She coughs as she talks. I get up and fetch a glass of water. We talk about our living conditions. Rachel tells me she has cockroaches running around in her kitchen and she hates it. She doesn’t want to cook in that place. I say my place isn’t any better, but maybe we will get used to it.

It’s getting late and I have to return to Zomba. There is no guarantee when the last bus will be. I want to stay with Rachel and help her until she gets better, but I need to get back to Zomba for my duties.

“You take care,” I say as I get up to leave. “I’ll be back again as soon as I can. You call me if you need anything.” I give her a hug and the number of Kasigo’s clinic.

“Thanks for coming. Really appreciate it.” She turns on her side as I take one last glance through the door. Poor girl I say. I am worried about her.

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