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December 23, 2001

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We left Rhumsiki and traveled to Maroua, a sizeable town that even has a few paved roads and more importantly, a hospital. There we learned that the mighty mosquito has struck our group again. Two of our group have felt sick for the last few days because of malaria. Norman has caught it again, and the other victim is Sheena, 25, who proves that malaria strikes the young and healthy too. We took them to the hospital. This place was too small to accommodate visitors, so people camped on the grounds. The hospital was so understaffed that friends or relatives had to bring food, water, and change bedsheets for the patients. One patient's family prayed on the front courtyard. Our co-driver, Ben, stayed in the hospital to care for Norm and Sheena while we camped on the outskirts of town in a millet field.
In Rhumsiki, crabs are used as fortune tellers. We must be desperate because we asked the crab to tell us how many children we will have. His answer: twins!
Petrol for sale by the litter at the Maroua petrol station.
Neem trees provide pleasant shade on Maroua's streets.