African Sleeping Sickness

I feel a strong need to educate others about this illness–African Sleeping Sickness–that affects many people who have moved to Africa to live and work. It is most commonly found in those people who had started out living rurally in Africa, in a village, and now have migrated back to urban areas to find themselves interacting with others unaffected by this strange affliction.

Even before documenting symptoms, let me jump straight to the diagnosis. The subject, having lived in an African village, has been exposed to a variety of what to him or her are uncommon environmental factors such as

  • waking up at the crack of dawn
  • because a rooster is crowing, repeatedly, non-stop
  • and everyone else is already up
  • to work throughout the day, in the hot, hot heat
  • and finally return home, very late, maybe at, say, 5 PM
  • to a warm bath, a hot meal,
  • and absolute darkness and quiet by 7 PM

at which point the subject returns to what s/he has now adopted as his/her natural state: sleeping.

Once the subject is reintroduced to a normal (i.e. urban) environment where other non-affiliated abound, s/he will tend to begin to exhibit symptoms such as

  • Sleepiness
  • Drowsiness
  • Tiredness
  • any of which will occur at any time before 7 PM

as well as

  • an inability to socialize and even remain upright at any time after eating supper
  • the adoption of the sleeping patterns (and accompany grouchiness) of a person 2 to 3 times the subjects age
  • overall general missing out on any and all social scenes starting any time after 7 PM.

I can only say to know this disease all too well as I personally suffer from it.  Maybe my wife too. Try to go easy on us.


About Graham Lettner

My wife and I recently moved from Zambia back home to Alberta. I'm lucky to have been asked to be a guest blogger for the Localize Project. I love writing stories, and when the subject is food -- something that connects us to the planet and to each other -- the stories are endless.
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