Just Call Me Mickey

Montreal, Quebec

I mentioned to Peter yesterday that I look like Mickey Rourke. You know, that actor? I was referring to his weathered face (to put it nicely) in the movie The Wrestler. Maybe he looked this way in BarFly way back when. Anyway, the point is that I look like Mickey. This was confirmed when Peter got the mad laughs after looking at my face. Thanks, honey.

I came back from Mali a little worse for wear. Field visits with Right to Play never disappoint in providing unforgettable human experiences. It’s like a glimpse into the human condition that touches the heart when visiting Africa. Not just visiting, though, it’s the act of witnessing such human goodness via Right to Play. The knowing that so many in such difficult places on earth are enabled by programs of early childhood development, live safe play safe, youth development and so much more makes me feel like there might be some kind of balance for humankind.

But for now, back to my face. I left Mali on a heavy dose of antibiotics. I followed Adam Van Koeverden’s cue to ‘kill the bastards’ in my gut that were causing some, uh, uncomfortable moments in the bathroom the second to last day. His theory was that ‘you’re sick in Africa, it’s not going to get better, might as well kill it all now and not miss training later’. Sounded like a good idea. I pretty much believe anything VanKayak says after a week with the guy. But that’s a whole other story.

So onto the antibiotics, mixed in with the anti-malarials, topped off with about 17 hours of air time on three different flights back to Montreal…well, let’s just say things did not get better overnight. Unfortunately, with these two heavy duty drugs (you have to take Malarone, the anti-malarial, for seven full days after leaving the malaria affected area), I felt worse and worse.

Upon returning, I got out on my bike to train, unable to deny myself the pleasure of warm-enough-to-ride-outside November weather in Quebec. By getting out on the bike, something started to happen to my skin. It became hard and dry, and red. And then, a few days into being home, I woke up with an eye swollen shut. Thus, Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. Me and Mickey. Two peas in a pod. Apparently the Malarone and the Antibiotics both make a person more sensitive to the sun. Mix that in with red hair au natural and, well, you have Mickey.

I’m still not a hundred percent. Have to admit I’ve dealt with this kind of thing before after a visit to Africa. It’s just part of the deal. All the shots necessary before leaving, when you read up on what they prevent, make you realize this is not a place for the faint of heart or weakness of disposition. I’m not lacking in either but still, I’ve been sick to a certain degree during or after every trip.

Does this make me reconsider accepting the invitation to be moved beyond belief by a visit to the field with Right to Play? No way. My face will get better, the eye will be itself again soon, but my heart will be forever altered by the week I spent in Mali.

Until the former two shift back to normal, just call me Mickey.

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