#15 (Nkopola, Malawi - Nkhata Bay, Malawi)

It is noon and I am in the cramped bathroom of a dusty petrol station vomiting my insides into the sink. I haven't eaten very much in days, and so fortunately there is little volume to the upchuck. It's mostly bile, burning at my throat, stinging my eyes. I steady my shivering body against the wall and examine my grey complexion in the cracked mirror. This was a uniquely terrible idea. One should not be riding a bike when one is recovering from malaria.

#14 (Nkopola, Malawi)

I spend Friday night shaking and sweating and unable to regulate my body's temperature. The air conditioner is on full blast and I'm mildly aware that the room cannot be more than 20C, but it feels like a sauna. I feel like I might vomit but do not vomit. A few times during the night, I rise to use the toilet, and walking to the bathroom next door feels like a Herculean effort. 

I toss and turn and feel an ache in my bones. I think about how we sometimes say that we can feel aching in our bones to express how sore we are, but like, right now it really feels like the marrow inside me is boiling. It's not a dull, too-tired sort of ache, but the active, acute, it-hurts-all-over kind.

#13 (Lilongwe, Malawi - Nkopola, Malawi)

Saying goodbye to the people we meet is always hard. We're a long way from home. We're going a long way from wherever we are. And it's pretty certain that for the majority of the people we cross paths with, we won't see them ever again. Saying goodbye to our new friends in Lusaka was especially hard. We'd grown attached to our hosts during our five days there. Though we'd all promised to keep in touch and see each other someday, someday is a very vague, flighty notion. 

So it was a delightful surprise to hear, during our final few days in Zambia, that Sarah and Cassidy were taking the kids for a holiday on Lake Malawi in a few weeks' time. They'd be renting a beach house with Libby and Brian (our terrific hosts in Lilongwe), and invited us along if it was on our way. 

#12 (Kacholola, Zambia - Lilongwe, Malawi)

The cement is hot. Too hot. I am lying on my right side at the bottom of a long hill with a burning sensation running through my skin. I feel pain and dread and anger at myself for being so careless. Slowly, I rise to my feet.

My bike is a few meters behind me. One of the panniers has flown off the rack and landed next to my body. I look down. Its vinyl exterior is coated in a brown ooze that looks not too dissimilar from something that might leak out of a stomach. I lift my shirt to check the state of my organs. They feel intact. I realize that this murky goop is not coming from inside me, but inside my pannier. A kilogram of chunky peanut butter I'd been carrying has exploded, its contents leaking out onto the dusty concrete.