We don't bite…unless you're into that sort of thing

A Hero’s Journey: My Battle With Indigestion.

These might be the last words you ever hear/read from me.

While I have the usual government death squads and world-spanning ninja cults after me, rarely do I put myself in harm’s way. But 2 days ago, I had to step up and be the hero that always needed but rarely acknowledged, The Glutton. My adversary: Food.

Stop reading now if you’re a starving African child

The best thing about being in Zambia is the massive amounts of food I get to eat. Everywhere I go, there are heaping platefuls of sustenance for me to try to get through. And I, for one, I’m not the kind of person to just ignore just because I’m full. How was I to know that the best thing about this country would also be its worst?

On Tuesday evening, I received my greatest challenge yet. For supper, I had a plate with enough rice to feed a Chinese village, enough omena (“kapenta” in the local language), and some cabbage to give the whole dish some colour. Being as awesome as I am, I polished off all that food like a high school student, or Tetei. It took me an hour but goddamnit! that plate had to be left clean!

Inevitably, wake up on Wednesday with a terrible case of indigestion. But just because the stomach has shut down, it’s no reason to skip the most important meal of the day. Breakfast was had (just some cereal and milk and a cup of coffee) and it was off to work.

Lunch-time arrives and the only things I can complain about are ranting bosses and  mild discomfort from the indigestion. That gives me the green light to go to the canteen and have myself some chips with chicken! Every mouthful I chew and swallow is a study in endurance and perseverance. Some would say stupidity, but just because they have medical degrees doesn’t mean the y know what they’re talking about.

Come back to the office and surprise! Everyone in the department’s getting a pizza and soda! Do you really think I’d pass this up, given that I’d only had lunch 10 min ago? If the answer is yes, you have clearly not been paying attention.

It was an epic battle, with deeds done that would make you question whether humanity deserves to continue on this earth. By 5.30pm, 3 and half hours from the engagement of forces on the battlefield of my digestive system, the only people walking away were myself and a single slice of pizza.

But losing one battle does not mean giving up the war. Even when you have to call a taxi to take you home because you don’t trust yourself to not spill your guts on public transport, that is no excuse to not at least have a small snack of two samosas and a bottle of juice before you head for bed.

And waking up with a belly swollen tight as a drum, and vomit-scented burps is not reason enough to forgo the morning caffeine injection. I’m still hanging on, pushing myself like no human has before, to stuff my face as much as possible, to hell with the pain and the consequences!

If I don’t survive to make it back to Kenya, let my fans and loved ones know that I died a hero’s death, never backing down from eating more and more.


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