Health and Physical Differences

written 10/15

Ashley and I are constantly itchy, sometimes to the point where we have difficulty concentrating on anything else. We’re not positive what it is (although we have ruled out bedbugs), but my suspicion is just that it is fleas from our dogs (although Ashley has refrained from touching them for a few weeks and I’m often itchy without visible bit spots, so we don’t really know.) We have gone through what I thought was a year’s supply of anti-itch crème fairly quickly…

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3 Responses to Health and Physical Differences

  1. It seems that your experiences of your health and the Taborans health spark inquiry, investigation, and speculation within you. I do hope you find some answers to your questions. Perhaps, as you say, these health problems are just a fact of living in poverty and I imagine that nutrition and better hygiene would improve the Taboran health difficulties. Of course, I have never been to a third world country, so I would not really know.

    I am a person of science that comes from a low US socio-economic background. Still, my parents provided a nutritionally balanced diet for themselves and for us children, so I was raised in a climate quite different from the one you describe. I suppose that, compared to those of whom you speak, I am privileged and spoiled.

    I wish you much success in your project. I wish to you and to those with whom you work.

  2. Kelly Trop says:

    I think Ana told us last year that the scabs and bald spots are from parasites (possibly waterborne?) and that they can be easily cured by taking a deworming pill or two. (Every three months, you should buy some for yourselves in Korogwe, just in case.) In Kijungumoto, they give out deworming pills to kids for free at school on certain days.

    Your albinos don’t sound like the albinos I saw, who were at least as pale as me, but with African features and occasional splotches of darker pigmentation. (They also covered up during the day and had blond nappy hair.) The albinos you’re seeing might just be descendants of lighter-skinned people, like Mama Tuna, or anyone with Indian ancestry. People didn’t seem really precise about albinism vs foreigners: I’d often be mistaken for an albino in Mashewa or Korogwe, just because it’s more common to see albinos there than white people.

    As for your question… some of the more obvious signs of ill health, like the scabs, etc, are something that needs to be addressed with better sanitation/medicine. But the size and vigor of kids (and adults) is definitely affected by nutrition- unfortunately, that’s not the kind of thing you can change, or see the results of, overnight.

    Your comments about the preemie have started me thinking, though- better prenatal care/nutrition would possibly make the most obvious difference in the shortest time. Parents probably remember which of their kids was the fattest/healthiest, you know? If you could get a clear correlation between what the mom was eating then and the health of the child now… man, now I’m really curious about the role of hospitals in giving birth, too. It seemed like 50/50 in Kijungmoto, but the ward hospital was practically next door, so that’s obviously a factor. But I didn’t hear much about people going in for a check-up on their pregnancy. It might be interesting to have a doctor or nurse come in from Korogwe to speak about the importance of prenatal nutrition, and inexpensive ways of getting it (liiiiiiike: gardens!)

  3. Quercki says:

    For itching here at home, I’d recommend a baking soda or oatmeal bath.

    1.Put baking soda (or that baking powder stuff you have) in water, wet cloths and lay them on your skin. See if that works. (I’m not sure about the extra ingredients.) It might be drying but you can use cooking oil to fix that if you need to and are out of lotion.

    2. Do you have oats? (like oatmeal) They make a thick, slippery residue. You and put them in a bag or sock and wet it and then rub it on. That’s the general idea behind Aveeno bath stuff you can buy here in the U.S.

    3. There may be a local plant remedy for itching–like aloe. Ask around.

    4. Vinegar might work, too. Maybe dilute it with clean water. Wet cloths. It used to be a sunburn remedy. It might sting. I’m not sure why both a base or an acid help skin feel better, but experiment and see which helps you.

    Whatever you do, just do a small part of your skin and wait to see if you are allergic to remedy.

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