The waitress was right. I must have been shaking when I went for dinner that evening. Having spent the past 24 hours on the streets and in the buses, I could have gotten a bit tired, I thought.
What, after all, was 24 hours of traveling for a man used to being on road for 30 days straight, moving daily from one city to another? My first road trip across Punjab five years ago had made me think that I was invincible.
Except that I wasn’t.
By midnight, I was burning up with fever in a rundown guesthouse next to a mosque in the coastal town of Mombasa—my second city in Kenya. The only thing I had to cover myself was a thin sheet. It wasn’t enough. But I didn’t have the energy to get up from the bed, open the door, and ask for a blanket. So I just laid there. Listening to the heavy rains and thunder outside. Hoping that I’d make it till the morning. It was a long night.
A hospital was visited the next day. They told me I had caught dengue. For those of you who haven’t suffered through dengue, it is a bad bad fever. Breaks your bones. Sucks the energy out of you. Leaves you bedridden.
I fought it for a few days on my own. Visiting the hospital every other day. Going to the local market daily for fruit and juice intake I needed. But there were no signs of a recovery. I walked the bare minimum and felt like I’d collapse. It’s just how dengue is.
You can’t really backpack like this. So I changed the date of my return flight and came back. Thank you everyone who asked about my condition. I’m home now and feeling better.
I’ll return, Africa.