Stephen & Laura Holt | Sierra Leone, West Africa

One Banana

Prologue:  It is so good to be writing again!  It’s been nearly a year since my last post and I’m happy to be back online and writing to you, my friends.  After my last entry we lost our access to internet.  Then, as most of you likely know, I returned to the States rather urgently early in June due to health problems.  I’m still recuperating, having doctor visits and tests, and sleeping a lot, but I’m finally getting my brain back!  While not the main cause of my health issues, the malaria written about here certainly made things worse.  We can never thank all of you enough for your prayers.  They are heard and get us through more things than we can say and I’m very sure they played a big part in this story!  

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Date of original journal entry: Sunday January 22, 2017

According to the blood smear on the test strip I’m positive for another case of malaria; my sixth, but whose counting.  We use the CDC recommended prevention of 100mg of Doxycycline every day and we practice common sense precaution, yet none of it is a 100% surety one won’t contract the potentially life-threatening illness.  Being caucasian doesn’t help; we don’t have natural immunities the indigenous African has built up over the generations and our cases are typically more severe.

My pile of bananas two days after writing this journal entry. By then I was drinking tea again as you can see from my mug!

B.R.A.T.T. Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Tea, Toast

This is a simple memory aid for simple foods to help those with diarrhea and vomiting both of which I have quite violently.   Yesterday and Friday this acronym was all I could think about, like a little jingle rolling around my fevered, slightly delirious brain.  Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Tea, Toast — over and over.  Rice and Tea were simply out—they just did not sound good.  At all.  Yes, tea did not sound good to me; I must be sick for sure!  Applesauce and Toast sounded way too good but there was no way for either of those; applesauce is a rare treat and the only bread we have is what I make.  But, oh, for a simple banana.  I was longing for just one.

Early this morning, while it was still dark, I managed to slug out to the kitchen feeling completely horrid when I noticed a banana peel in the compost bowl on the side of the sink.  Am I still delirious?  A banana?  I nearly accosted Stephen as he was making his coffee.  “Where did you get a banana?” I exclaimed with all the energy I could muster.   “Oh, there’s a bunch of them for you out on the veranda table,” was his casual reply.  I told him I had been wanting just one.  But as I went out on the veranda I found nearly 50 of them!  They were sent by David Johnny, “For Mummy Laura,” he had said as he stuck the over-flowing basket into the truck when Stephen passed through Tendabu.

I could only manage to eat one but did it ever taste good!  I wanted just one and here was a table piled with them!  Interestingly, this is the first time David’s done this and he said they were for me.  He didn’t even know I was sick but the Lord did and sent the one thing that sounded good: a banana.

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Post Script:  It may seem odd that obtaining a banana was so difficult in the African jungle village.  Our village of Baomahun is a gold mining center and no one here has care or time to bother with something as lowly and menial as agricultural prospects; they’re all busy trying to strike it rich prospecting for gold so all produce must be trucked in.  The other factor is that we’re literally the end of the road for any vehicles larger than a motorcycle and most of the time the produce has been offloaded at other places.  We can go weeks without seeing bananas which only makes this story all the more amazing.  Normally Brother David sells his bananas in markets downline from us.  Incidentally, there were actually 60 bananas — I counted them after writing the above entry.  A generous gift from a village farmer.

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