Friday, May 14, 2010


i want to write funny but circumstances demand that i don't.

a friend of mine just died of cerebral malaria. these things shouldn't happen these days.

the thing is that last saturday i saw her, at rugby, stoically sipping some rose wine, which she couldn't finish, recently arrived from lake tanganyika, burning with fever. i told her to take malaria dawa (medicine) but she said oh no, it's not malaria, tests are negative. i've taken anti biotics, i'll be fine. i'll be fine. a week later she's gone. just like that. fresh and only 30.

cerebral malaria. blackwater fever.

little nantus, who is nine, the nephew of my friend, looked at me with his freckled nose and sky blue eyes and said, " i thought it was a dream. but it's just life, hey?"

i was stopped by a policeman yesterday and he asked, where are you going? i said to see my friend whose sister just died of malaria and she was only 30. and he said, oh pole sana. they caught it too late, eh? yeah, i said, too late. just too late.

so not too many words today. not too many words. p'raps a poem sent by t:

The Wanderer's Night-song

On all hilltops

There is peace,

In all treetops

You will hear

Hardly a breath.

Birds in the woods are silent.

Just wait, soon

You too will rest.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

still. i'm here. i'm still here. on the little round ngorobob hill in the little pink house, y'all.

let's, as jim morrison said, remember to have our fun before the whole shithouse goes up in flames, eh?

let's. oh let's.

so toodely oh best beloveds, bisous X.X.X. startlingly real ones x j


Dumdad said...

How awful, how sad, and so young.

But onwards we must go. Morrison is right.

Rob Inukshuk said...

This is so very sad. My sympathies for your loss.

Miranda said...

Oh my god, Janelle. This is too too too awful. I didn't know. M's sister??

Now that I am here in Lusaka everyone saying nooo, don't go to Mfuwe, malaria too bad there at the moment. So I'm glad I'm not.

So sorry.

karen said...

So very sad, Janelle... this malaria can be absolutely terrifying, and always a sobering thought for us here, too.

Wishing you a peaceful weekend...

Janelle said...

thanks y'all...yeah. really sad. and yes mo, m's sister! awful. just awful. xxx j

ewix said...

Horrible, horrible.
So very sad when someone young and lovely dies.
It really isn't fair at all.
Who said it would be? but so hard to understand sometimes.
much love

Mama Shujaa said...

Poleni sana. Pole sana Janelle. Condolences to you and the entire family, extended family.

Spiny Marshmallow said...

Bloody hell man = we must never assume its not malaria no matter how much flack we get from the doctors. Sorry sorry sorry damn said...

i am so sorry janelle, so sorry x

Linda Sue said...

So sad- only 30, still a chickie, pin feathers- so right, this should not happen these days...just should not!So sorry...

Mud in the City said...

So sorry, and so young! Sending hugs.

Val said...

oh i am so sorry - how very sad. that malaria must not be trifled with EVER; is it all year round these days?? condolences to one and all xxx

connie said...

So very sorry to hear about your friend.

nuttycow said...

What awful news - cerebral malaria is a horrible thing... my father had it a couple of years ago. Thankfully the only thing that suffered was his hearing (due to the vast amounts of quinine they had to pump in to him)

Thoughts with you and her family at this time.

Janelle said...

thanks all for your comments. yeah. terrifically sad. bloody comes in many guises and it kills. it sure is a &*(^&% lashings of love. x j

Lori ann said...

i'm trying, even through tears, i'm trying(have my bloody fun). so much sadness, i'm sad sad sad. i know how you feel wishing to write fun things.

i missed your last post and just had to say how freaking beautiful are your sons? bless their hearts.

love and hugs to you janelli,
xoxo lori

Anonymous said...

i have no words for your sorrow.......i think your picture describes sadness well enough. just as i began to worry agian about not fitting into the mold around me , i found your blog ~ i miss the tragic beauty of tanzania.......p

Amanda said...

that's truly dreadful.....i'm so sorry for your loss.

little nantus' words are incredibly profound. a 9 year old.

give your beautiful kids a hug and hold them tight.


Reya Mellicker said...

I am so sorry to hear this sad news. What a shock. We are both strong and vulnerable, resilient and fragile. Everything could change tomorrow. Carpe diem indeed.

And love to you.

family Affairs said...

So you and me both lost a friend in their 30's this week. So, so so sad. I'm so sorry... and in her case could maybe have been avoided which is even worse.
Thinking it might be time for me to come and see you so that we can drink and smoke ourselves stupid. What year are you born btw - I'm on a Chinese astrology thing at the moment and want to know if you're a Dragon Lxx

Karen said...

I'm so, so sorry.

I lost a friend when we were both 25. For years, I was angry about how unfair that was...

I hope you can find some comfort in your lovies.

Hugs from over the sea.


Nancy said...

You're right, it shouldn't be this way.

African Barbie said...

our side of africa too..he was just 7, a blond haired poppett..not unlike our own kids at that age..Dr's didn't pick it up..I cried for him, although I hadn't seen him very much..and hugged my kids a little tighter when they went to from senegal XXX

Chimera said...

So sorry Janelle...and to all your lovely commentators who have lost people too. So very sorry.
Tanvi x

Charl said...

I've had cerebral malaria twice and the other many times. Thank God I survived. So sorry for your loss. Thanks for reminding us to live.