Friday, March 23, 2012


so I may have mentioned before that if something CAN go wrong, its
pretty much a guarantee that it WILL go wrong in Tchad.

Since I had malaria for Christmas, it only stands to reason that I would
have something like a broken sacrum for my birthday.

thats right. I have broken something.

since there are no Xrays here, its just a guessing game,

but i have a very painful and educated guess that I have
broken/fractured part of my sacrum.

also suspected is coccyx involvement.

how did it happen??

I fell off a wild, spirited, stubborn, headstrong gem of a horse

due to the abuse of past owners and being ridden by violent people that
didn't know what they were doing, I found myself to be in

possession of a very scared horse with ALOT of bad habits.....

because of an unfortunate incident that involved swarms of screaming
children brandishing sticks and mangoes while a tchad yanked on his
mouth - he learned that if he bit and kicked I wouldn't get on him

because my skill level does not at this point match my ambition - well,
he went 3 weeks without being ridden.

I went to Mondou and practiced jumping up on Sarah's horses until my
muscles were so sore I could hardly move

then we galloped them down the middle of the river, crashing and
splashing through the sand

past naked screaming children

sand flying and past the nomad encampments with their odd round shelters
that look much like a skin-covered VW from the 60's

past the women with gold nose rings and bright dresses, heavy leather
amulets, and wild dark eyes

past herds of long horned cattle, driven by young boys with
cream-colored turbans swathing weathered faces

past the mud-brick makers, stacks of brick even lines and terraces,
hardening in the soft bright sun

and it was perfect - the weekend

complete catharsis for mind body and soul

I got to cook, spicy vegetable soup with too much red pepper

pecan studded french toast with cinnamon and nutmeg

I got to drink ice cold water from a real fridge

play with Miriam, a smiling crawling gangly little cherub

and walk into Mondou with Liz and Justin

drinking smoothies that were actually cold

that were made with ice

and talking about dreams, about risks, about why we are here, about the
questions with no answers i came back

took a car taxi to Bere, crammed into the front seat with a heavily
veiled old arab woman, chewing on a neem stick, the only thing visible
were warm crinkly eyes

and leaning far out the window

leaning out until my eyes were stinging and arm was burning

letting the hot wind rip through my hair and through my soul

listening to the Arabic music....

the soundtrack of a culture

blurs of bicycles and herds of cattle

goats and sheep and tattered posters of President Deby

little stores walls of woven mats

women walking with bundles of sticks on their heads

chickens in their hands

past the pink painted government checkpoints

and then negotiating for the moto taxi

flying through sand and washboard roads

my purple backpack lashed to the back

so fast i could barely breathe

so fast i felt alive

slowing for the cattle - idling as the herd plodded past us

whips zinging and boys shouting

their horns within inches of us

engulfing us and converging behind

and then i was back

and i could barely remember having a more perfect weekend

so, i decided to ride

i gathered up all my courage

and got on bob, my kicking horse

as soon as I was out of the back hospital gate -

he clamped the bit between his teeth and took off at a dead run

i used every ounce of strength i had, every left-over fragment of skill,
every iota of balance I possessed

but it wasn't enough.

he galloped in a wide circle,

back to the hospital

straight for a wall,

turning sharply at the last moment

jumping over a ditch


i could feel myself falling

and crack
and smack
and black
and searing white light
white pain and i couldn't breath

i couldn't move

i guess i was screaming

and they took me on a stretcher back to the hospital

and i have never felt pain like that

I have been in agony the last 5 days

and only today have i been able to get up on my own with crutches

every movement is excruciating

and here I am

in the place without narcotics

in the place without sympathy

in the place where you just suck it up

and get better

but I know 2 things -

1. I NEVER want to experience the pain of childbirth
2. I am SO grateful that with time I will be okay. I am so grateful
that I didn't get hurt worse

so, happy birthday to me!! I already got a sacrum fracture, what more
could I possibly need??

1 comment:

  1. Oh man, Janna! You have got my sympathies! Seriously, that is rough! Hope it heals soon and you can get back to the speed you like going :)