Thursday, July 07, 2011

License to Africa

I marked a decade of African experiences last week - in the most obviously unnatural way. By getting a syringe inserted into my hands as part of the Yellow fever vaccination. (Once taken, validity lasts for a decade !) So much has changed in my life across the two yellow fever shots that I became a bit philosophical as the Malayalee nurse gave me my vaccine in a government clinic in Dubai. I could smell the grasslands, taste the Ugali, drink Kilimanjaro 300 ml bottle beer and hear the ever present Hakuna matatas in that one moment. Things only a dedicated Afrophile can acknowledge. (Maybe East Africophile, if there is any such adjective ever!). I just had license shot to go and reclaim the memories.

As the old African saying in those parts go - Go back to the water holes ; you will get more than water, you will meet old friends and fading memories.

I had just returned from trekking the rift valley Mountain ranges in Ethiopia (without malarial shots I must proudly/foolishly say) and looking forward to the savannas of Kenya. The relationship of the two is as interesting and mythical as everything in Africa - to it's folklore, to it's men of death and after life, to the baobabs and to blood diamonds, and the gods. Without one the other is non existent. Without the Ethiopian high ranges blocking the rain carrying clouds to allow for watering of the grasslands of Kenya and Tanzania, they would have been more or less like the Namib desert.

Anyways, after this philosophizing, I realised that with the amount I paid for the vaccine in Dubai for the two of us, we could have gotten vaccines for our whole lives in India ! (Which is maybe another 4-5 times by the by ;)

One starts the countdown to Africa once you have had your first malarial shot which happens around a week to 10 days before the trip. I'm waiting for the shot day - to start my count down. To the promised land. To the water holes - in search of fading memories and a treasure trove of new ones to hold fast unto the next journey.