There are so many people sick in our neighborhood right now. There have been about ten kids with fevers for the past couple days, some with vomiting and sore throats. It has spread to the adults, and three moms were down for a few days.
Four kids came to the door last night to tell me their mom was sick and vomiting. We headed over to her house and checked her temperature, got her some medicine, and tried to get her eighteen-month-old to stop crawling on her.
As I went to leave, two of the kids came with me to walk back to the house.
Later, they all came back, saying that she was throwing up more. Then they motioned to her wrists, made a slicing motion, and said the Burmese word for blood. And then eight-year-old Yedi said, “Kelli, red.”
This scared me, not sure how she slit her wrist throwing up, or if somehow the happiest woman in the community was hurting herself?
We ran over to the house and discovered it wasn’t an emergency at all.
She had been throwing up, and it was red. For some reason the slit-your-wrist motion was their chosen way to communicate blood.
But really, I had given her some red throat lozenges for her cough. There was no blood at all, and certainly no slit wrists; just a few small miscommunications.
As I went to go back, the mom said something to two of the kids. This time I understood, though: she was having them escort me home! At first, I thought it was sweet. Then I decided it was a little insulting that she thought I should have an escort to get to my house 50 meters away; and that she thought her five-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter would provide safety for me!