For months I have been making a cabbage salad that is out of this 3rd world! It’s so good! Fresh cabbage, carrot, green bell pepper, shallots. All being the only veg available, minus the mustard green/Chinese greens… I eat these veg every day. Got to learn how to mix it up! The vinaigrette that I top this seemingly innocent salad with is delicious. No I’m not sharing recipe, but if you come I will show you… 😉
Now, back to point- Gift will NOT try salad. No matter how much I beg. She hates cabbage and my vinaigrette looks questionable to her so she literally turns up her nose and shakes her head. Any other 13 year old you know do that??
I had finally given up asking because I know that like everything else I cook “American style”, most Malawian folk feel similarly about trying. It’s not about her being wilful as much as it is culture. Which is becoming more and more easy to determine, was difficult for a while. Still is sometimes.
Yesterday Gift woke up with a kink in her neck. I gave her some pain relievers and she felt fine all day. Around 6pm just as the sun was setting I found her in bed. I sat on the edge and asked if it was her neck? She nodded slightly. “Do you want more tablets?” She nodded again.
I got her a few more ibprophin and told her she should feel better in about 20 min!
I went back to making dinner and 30 min later the power went out and I went on to check on her and light her candle. She was still in bed. I touched her forehead and confirmed a high fever. “Malaria?” I asked.
I always wondered how people could come to me and say, “I need to go to the Dr I have malaria. ”
“How do you know if you haven’t seen a Dr?” I would always ask.
After having malaria I can tell you, you know.
Gift nodded and I called 2 numbers. 1st the taxi then the Dr. Taxi in root my conversation with the Dr went as fallows-
“My girl has malaria, Can I Bring her in?” I text to him.
“Electricity is off ” he responded.
Knowing the electricity is not needed for a test or dispensing medication I said, “So? I have a torch”, which is Malawian for flashlight.
After he didn’t respond I text him again, “can I come? I have a taxi on the way. ”
Still I heard nothing. I was almost in panic. Gift needed medicine. I knew how much pain she was in and how much she would suffer longer and greater. If I could get her medicine tonight…
I text again, “I will give you extra 2000.00mk.”
But got no response. What could I do?
I told Gift that the Dr was in trouble, I told her I was sorry. And then I text the taxi, “Dr won’t see me tonight, no need for taxi. Sorry”
As I hit send I saw the headlights pull in my driveway. I went out to give him a portion of the funds for driving out to my house. I told him what happened and he instantly perked up! “Just before 7pm!” he said. “Pharmacy is still open!” He jumped in the car and raced to town. I was so joyed to see him about 15 min later, I knew he wouldn’t come back empty handed. I ended up giving him 8000.00mk (about $11). Trip was worth about 5000.00mk. He was a hero and he got a big reward! 5 star uber review!
I gave Gift her first dose and my heartbeat finally began to rest. Gift on the other hand, was beaming! She had expected to suffer all night. I don’t think she expected anyone to make a fuss about her.
I served dinner and we all laughed and ate like normal. Until right at the end of dinner gift handed me her plate and sweetly said, “is pamanna pamanna salad?” (She wanted to try my salad!)
“Really!?”, I was glowing as I tried my hardest not to overload her plate. She took the vinaigrette and looked at me questionably. Then she add a small amount of to the side. After a quick bite she let out a light squeal! Her eyes got big and she poured the dressing on!
I wanted SO badly to throw it back at her! To say, I told you so!!! To make remarks about how she had been big missing out for months!! But I didn’t…. say all of it…
“Thank you!” I smiled!
“Towounga soyemweh! (No, thank you!)” She smiled, her eyes filled would love and appreciation.