Thanks to my brother's generosity and good fortune, I landed the opportunity to take a ten day familiarization tour of Rwanda, the quintessential African country with a myriad lakes, gigantic mountains and a treasure trove of wildlife, especially the mountain Gorillas. I would be an official guest at the Kwita Izina 2017 - the naming ceremony of baby Gorillas where the whole country comes alive to celebrate the bounties of nature and the communities that have thrived upon them. The countrywide tour would culminate with the finale of the Kwitza Izina on the 1st of September 2017.
My tickets are already booked and I can't wait to embark upon this unforeseen adventure. In order to apply for a Rwandan visa, one needs to have a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate in place. The administration of the Yellow Fever vaccination is restricted by the government making it a rat race at the designated centers. I was in the middle of a relocation from Mumbai to Noida. Though I had a lot of time on hand, I wanted to finish it off in Mumbai before I left as Noida is pretty infamous for the atrocities against women and crime in general. My husband had to wait all night at the Seamen's Hospital in Mumbai when he got his vaccination more than 5 years ago. In the whole of Maharashtra, there are only two centers that provide the Yellow Fever vaccination for a cost of Rs. 300 per dose - the Seamen's Hospital and the Airport Health Organization. People queue up at these centers in the wee hours of the night to ensure their names come under the first 100 and 75 registrations respectively. Thanks to an informative blog outlining the entire process, I chose the less challenging option - the Airport Health Organization adjacent to the international airport in Andheri East. As fate would have it, my husband was down with a painful bout of gastritis on the day of the vaccination and I didn't want to be a wuss at the last moment. I made it to the center by around 8:15 am and there were already 20 people lined up by the roadside. The gates opened at 9:30 am when we were ushered into an air conditioned waiting room and asked to fill the registration forms. The procedure was smooth from then on and I, being number 21 on the list got my jabs without too much of a hassle. I felt proud of my achievement since I had even skipped my hepatitis vaccinations during secondary school for the fear of injections.
I went home with an air of victory and all was good for a couple of days. However on the third day, I was knocked dead with a fever of 103 degree celsius and all the symptoms that would accompany a flu - from body ache to chest congestion and clogged ears. I am still not sure if that was a reaction to the vaccine or just my body's way of protesting to all the exhaustion from continuous travel that led up to that fateful day. Eventually, we had to postpone our relocation plans by a day because I was in no condition to make the big move. The doctor ensured I was fit enough to survive a two day road-trip with some strong medications and I allowed myself to recuperate in the new city, sleeping my way through most of the relocation blues.