Training progressed much the same as before. Agroforestry formations, language class, lunch, class, then soccer or off to the bar. I made French level and took two weeks of pidgin class which will be useful in the South West Region. Pidgin is hard to describe, but a Cameroonian put it nicely to me one day. He told me “Here we speak Pidgin! No grammar! Talk Pidgin!”. Basically subtract a lot of grammar from English and add a bunch of slang and you have it.
The end of training came, but not well. I was sick. The day before swearing in I had some bad diarrhea. It had started the day before but this day was different. There was nothing left to it. It was just water. Then it became blood. I wasn't hungry. I drank lots of water and hoped this would pass. One day of diarrhea is nothing. Then the fever came. I started to burn. I was getting woozy and could no longer function normally. I hopped in a Peace Corps car and told the driver to take me to the hospital. Luckily a fellow trainee and friend Caleb wasn't feeling well and came along. Absurd to say it was lucky he was sick too, but I was in a much worse way. We arrived and they took my blood pressure and temperature. The intense heat and fatigue was wearing at me. The doctor wasn't in so they took us to another hospital. Here they took blood samples and immediately after I vomited. I felt much better and then they put an IV in me at my wrist. Some slow drip anti-malaria medicine. Everything seemed better. I was slowly walked into a room and put in a bed. I lied down and stared at the ceiling. Unfortunately the bizarre feeling of an IV in my arm started to get to me. The room started spinning and I felt like vomiting. Then the pain medication kicked in. I lied back in a euphoric state and started counting bugs on the ceiling. The Peace Corps Nurse Anne was there and I joked with her. The Country Director who was in town for the swearing in ceremony came in to check on me. It was very comforting but I don't remember what I said in my delusional state. Some jokes, maybe. Regardless they both made me feel a lot better and well taken care of. They left around 10PM and a doctor showed up. They moved me to another room where I would have access to a bathroom. In my previous room I had a little stool pan. They also asked for a stool sample. This was not hard as I soon had diarrhea again. I went and filled up a small glass jar with mostly blood. The doctor left and I was left alone with a slow drip IV and my diarrhea. Every ten to twenty minutes I had to go. It was always bloody. I had to hobble to the bathroom and attach my drip to the window. It was a slow process and sometimes I didn't quite make it to the toilet. I had a handy supply of toilet paper though, so cleaning up was possible. I didn't leave a mess like a complete invalid. Despite this everything was fine. The worst was over. I hadn't eaten in over a day but that didn't matter. I finally stopped and went to sleep.
The next morning I had made a few runs to the bathroom but I was better. I ate some bananas for breakfast and drank a lot of water. Nurse Anne showed up and I said I could make it to swearing in. I changed and hopped into the Peace Corps car. Swearing in took place in the center of town at the place of celebration. There were many important local figures and even the U.S. Ambassador showed. We were seated under and awning and listened to several Peace Corps Administrators, the Ambassador, and some big shot local authorities make speeches. Then we stood up, took an oathe, and that was it. I was now a volunteer. As soon as it ended and pictures ended I made a bee-line for the nearest restroom.
There was food and a reception for the volunteers and families at the training center. The food was a great mixture of Cameroonian and American. After I went with Nurse Ann back to the hospital to get the results of my blood and stool tests. The doctor stated that I had malaria parasites in my blood and amoebas in my stool. This can not be entirely trusted. But I did have one or the other. I was given two different medications and a multivitamin. The first was an anti-malaria pill and the second was to kill amoeba and bacteria infections. Great. Time to start work.