Yeah, yeah, I know, about time something interesting happened. My week started poorly with an unpleasant encounter with a burley Evangelical Minister who reacted to my jounrey by getting me in a vise-like grip & forcing me onto my knees while he prayed for me. I thought he was going to crush my skull. I'm still at a loss as to what was going through his head at the time but once I was released form his powerful grip I was very quick to hit the road the again. Probably shouldn't have. Would've been wiser to find a quite spot & just sit there. Somehow a few days later, and I'm not sure how or when, I managed to pick up a strain of salmonella poisoning that, over the course of a few hours, drained ever once of energy from me until I couldn't move another inch. Unfortunately that point of 'Oh, oh, I'm in trouble here' came as I entered a public toilet. I was floored & couldn't make my way back out. The public toilets here are staffed & thankfully they came to my aid & propped me up on a chair. They called an ambulance for me & as my condition worsened (I was rugged up shivering in a tropical country) the crowd began to gather. After 2 hours I was still sitting there unable to move & in agony. Some armed soldiers checked in to make sure everything was ok but I must have past out because one moment they were there & then they'd disappeared. The ambulance arrived 5 hours after the call was placed (I hadn't been shot or stabbed so I'd been placed down the list) & they very slowly walked me down the stairs, through a crowd of about 50 people (I said hi) & into the mini-van ambulance. We raced through the then peak-hour traffic, siren wailing & horn tooting, to the St John Of God Hospital. By this stage I was no longer freezing cold but beginning to develop a fever (38.5 degrees & blood pressure of 80/50). They diagnosed the salmonella poisoning & suspected it was causing a Typhoid fever. They hooked me up to a drip & began to pump a couple of litres of anti-biotics & fluids into me. I felt like death on a stick. They held me overnight & continued to administer 'stuff' through the drip. The emergency ward was full of student doctors who I'm adimant had just stepped off the set of some medical comedy. They enjoyed their work more than most of us enjoy a footy match. I saw two interns arm wrestling next to the patient they were preparing for emergency surgery, one had just received a funny sms & was doing the rounds showing all the doctors (much to their amusement), one of the male inturns was trying to find a date for a female inturn by asking all the patients if they liked her & then they started passing my size 16 boots around for a laugh. I was at least laughing on the inside. By 8am the following day they discharged me & so very gingerly I walked down the street & checked into a hotel where I've been recouperating since. I'm no longer 'death on a stick', just a stick, so I'm eating plenty! The challenge to be united in love (please see last blog entry) is still eating at me massively. In an attmept to put it into action I bought some food for two homeless guys sitting not too far from where I was staying. It was getting late & the temperature had dropped singnificantly to the point where the two guys were 'cuddling' each other for warmth. I sat down next to them & handed over the food. They got stuck into it & one of them introduced himself & we started to chat. I asked him if he had anywhere to stay & said he had no home but there was a shelter down the road where he could stay for (the equivalent of) $5. It didn't come easily but I handed over the money for them to stay the night in the hostel. Then the most incredible thing happened. The guy I'd given the money to wouldn't give the other bloke his share & they began to fight right there in front of me. I watched, wide-eyed, for a few seconds & then snapped back into reality & gave them a thunderous, "Hey!" they both snapped to attention & he reluctantly handed over part of the money. I couldn't beleive it, one moment they were cuddling each other for warmth & then they're fighting like dogs. Mother Teresa pointed out years ago while visiting New York that the greatest poverty isn't a lack of money, clothes or shelter, but love. It was hard enough for me to prize the money from my wallet for them, but the challenge of making a deposit, not into their bank accounts, but into their hearts is somewhat more of a challenge. More prayer.
In very exciting news, on Monday morning after 6months of trekking it alone, I will be joined on this journey by another Australian who has sold up to walk the world & pray for unity. I'm tired of carrying my back-pack anyway :-) Please log in next week to meet... Niki Harris.
God bless you and please pray on!
ps: The tap outside my hotel room was dripping the other night & keeping me awake so I tip-toed outside in the dark & gave it a twist to tighten it up. The whole thing came off & there was water flying everywhere with incredible force. I fumbled in the dark & with the water pressure to get the stupid thing back on but eventually did, minus a small drip. Idiot.