Pauza Magazine Winter & Spring 2006 | Page 4

P a g e 4 But we survived, and no ETs – the other group had three ETs, so they probably weren’t living quite so high on the wart hog as we were. Medical Unit: The Medical Unit for 110 PCVs consisted of one nurse. Her primary function was to hand out condoms and give shots, both of which she did in abundance and with great enthusiasm and flair, some would say a little too much enthusiasm and flair. But, if you had the temerity to actually get sick, she was limited to taking your temperature, blood pressure and making an appointment with a local doctor. During my two years in Swaziland I completely filled a WHO card and started on a second. We got shots for typhoid, cholera, polio, bubonic plague, yellow fever, blue fever, green fever, small pox, big pox, medium size pox, hoof and mouth disease, and one that I believe was designed to protect us from music by Barry Manilow. But, without a doubt, everyone’s favorite was the infamous Gamma Globulin (GG) shot for protection against hepatitis. We were required to get one every four months. It was a shot in the butt with what seemed like a liter of a substance with the consistency and viscosity of rubber cement. It took the nurse about 2 minutes to slowly ooze it out of the needle and into your body. When she was done it felt like she had just inflated a basketball into your buttock. The immediate reaction was to walk like you were wearing just one high heeled shoe and then for the next 2 days you had the “GG lean,” an appearance created by listing to starboard as you sat with all your weight on one cheek. P A U 3 A ! And then there was Aralen, a malaria suppressant. Imagine all the quinine in 50 gallons of tonic water compressed into a tablet the size and shape of a large M&M and the color of a pink Good n Plenty. You took one tablet once a week and the trick was to get it down your throat before it ever touched your tongue because the instant bitter taste was unimaginable. When Swazis would come around looking for “western medicine” for their ailments I would give them 2 and say, “Here, take these and chew them up well.” They never came back. But my favorite part was that one of the known side effects of Aralen was “lurid dreams” which troubled some people but became a major form of entertainment for others. If Hollywood could have captured my dreams on a night when I had just taken Aralen, it would have spawned a whole new genre. It would be a seamless blending of a Swedish Art Film and a Spaghetti Western with just a dash of Nightmare on Elm Street. And it was all for free! Transportation Policy: Transportation policy? What transportation policy? We don’t need no stinkin’ transportation policy. Pretty much anything went except you still needed prior approval to drive a motorcycle, but it wasn’t hard to get. I had a white Chevy pick-up truck that I used for work and pretty much anything else I wanted to use it for. A volunteer a few kilometers away from me had a clapped out old Ford with a 1 liter engine that he bought for about $200. The only time you went anywhere with him was if you didn’t much care when or if you ever arrived.