Posted Jul 15, 2009 by 10 Comments

Disease. By far the worst part about traveling abroad. Strange new bacteria, viruses and parasites that our American bodies are not prepared to withstand…

And when you’re doing what we’re doing (getting bitten by mosquitoes in the bush, visiting medical clinics, playing with children in the slum…), it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that a few of us have been sick.

It started with Christine. After a few hard days working in Kibera, she came down with a nasty flu of some sort. After a week of pure misery, she made it to a doctor who told her that she had a double infection in her throat and sinuses!

Christine, happy now that she's all better!

Christine, happy now that she's all better!

Just as she was starting to recover, I picked up some sort of 48 hour intestinal bug. Fever, nausea… it was awesome.

The following week, Scott started feeling pretty awful. Headache, nausea, muscle aches… We thought it was some sort of stomach bug, so he decided to stick it out over the weekend.

Here I am, sick twice, but still alive!

Here I am, sick twice, but still alive!

In the meantime, while breathing in vast quantities of Kibera dust, burning trash and matatu exhaust, I got a sinus infection! Runny nose, clogged sinuses, headache…

As I was enjoying my fourth night of restless sleep, Scott’s condition got a lot worse. It was time to take him to the doctor.

Poor Scott, feeling super cruddy.  :(

Poor Scott, feeling super cruddy. :(

After a four and a half hour wait, we finally learned his prognosis. Pneumonia!!! (Those are his lungs at the top of the article…)

And I thought my sinus infection was bad!

Thankfully, the doctor assures us that Scott will be getting better in less than a week. He told us that pneumonia is common in Nairobi right now, and that it is only a matter of time before the medicine does its work.

Oh, and apparently Scott has food poisoning as well. Salmonella? According to the doctor, it’s almost gone, but man… You know you’re sick when you don’t even realize you have food poisoning!

Anyway, the reason I’m writing all this is to explain why we’re taking a break from posting until Monday. Even though we’re all in recovery, it’s been hard to organize consistent posts. We need a bit of breathing room to catch up.

So, thanks for all your prayers! We’ve needed them.

Oh, and Jessica? Good luck… Not sure I like those odds!

Good luck Jess.  You're going to need it!

Good luck Jess. You're going to need it!

Enjoy this post? Get future updates sent to you for free! Join by email or RSS

About the Author: Barry is the founder and Executive Director of World Next Door. A storyteller, traveller and giant nerd, he lives to compel suburban Americans to get engaged with social justice and find their place in God's kingdom revolution. His ultimate dream is to adopt a pet monkey named Kevin.

More posts by Follow Barry on Twitter



  1. Blake Anderson said... 


    July 15th, 2009 at 8:54 am  

    Just think though, when you return to the U.S., you will now have superhuman immune systems :)

  2. Amy Sorrells said... 


    July 15th, 2009 at 9:21 am  

    Oh, wow. I’m so sorry–that is all so awful. Praying protection and healing over all of you this morning. Also praying for all your mama’s. I’m sure they’re all beside themselves!!! (And Dad’s, too . . . but the mama’s are the ones who feel most helpless when they’re kiddos are sick, Amen?

  3. Brad Ruggles said... 


    July 15th, 2009 at 1:21 pm  

    Wow, we’ll be praying that the worst of your sickness is over. Poor Scott sure looks miserable in that pic. Of course, if I had pneumonia AND salmonella I’d be looking pretty bad too.

    Get well soon guys!!!

  4. Dave Rod said... 


    July 15th, 2009 at 1:46 pm  

    Well, dads feel pretty helpless too except we also think if we can just jump in the plane and get there we can figure something out to fix it all.

    Which makes me stop and be thankful for several things. One, we don’t have to go there because there are very good doctors half way around the world who know what they are doing. Two, communication has changed so dramatically that we get real time updates (and x-rays)even from deep in the heart of Kibera. Three, an army of people are praying.

    And, finally…if you don’t mind me springboarding off this into a social justice issue…the WND team has the luxury of health insurance which takes away at least part of the burden of being sick. Without considering the cost they can go to get help…good qualified help.

    Not so for millions of Americans and 100s of millions of people world wide. Once again, the WND team reminds us, even in their misery, of the state of justice in our world and the plight of the marginalized.

    We’re praying for complete recovery and protection for the rest of your time. Thanks guys for the sacrifice!

  5. Linda Quigley said... 


    July 16th, 2009 at 8:26 am  

    Yes, Scott’s mom is a bit beside herself and Scott’s dad did almost make a ‘detour’ to Kenya on his way home from Kenya yesterday. But also, the prayer warrior in me is quite piqued and agitated. What is going on here…kingdom wise? I’ve pondered two things…the amazing protection of God cannot be disputed. And, what is this team up to for God’s kingdom that requires.. so much distraction, keeping them from their work? So, while this ‘mom’ would love to have her son home to nurse him back to health…I’m going to spend my time going ahead of this army of four…praising God, asking God to prepare the way for them push back darkness and make His Kingdom known!

  6. Denise said... 


    July 16th, 2009 at 5:01 pm  

    Bless all of you! Sending many prayers your way. Thanks for your continual sacrifice to bring this amazing information & practical ways to get involved in social justice issues!!:)

  7. Rob Yonan said... 


    July 17th, 2009 at 8:19 pm  

    Oh the struggle of being so far away without the ability to bring chicken soup, hugs and our presence. Ahh but the joy that comes from knowing that the God of the universe isn’t American! There’s a deep sense of joy knowing He is Present with you in so many, many ways – not the least of which is through His people in every corner of the globe. Hugs and ongoing prayers for each of you by name!

  8. Jane VanOsdol said... 


    July 19th, 2009 at 8:04 pm  

    Praying for your safety, protection and healing so that you all can continue to do God’s work in the marvelous way you are. Keep holding each other up in prayer and know that we are here too!

  9. Catherine Bell said... 


    July 20th, 2009 at 3:19 pm  

    Yes, praying with ‘Mom’ in confidence that God’s Kingdom is being shared in Kibera, and for His grace and strength as you continue to live moment by moment into His purposes there.

    Thanks for sharing your divine encounter at the market, Christine. Such an exciting experience of the God before Whom people of every nation bow, even now! May you never lose that awareness …

  10. Breanna Sipple said... 


    February 16th, 2011 at 4:18 pm  

    I remember getting sick when I went to Mexico, my first missions trip. Although it’s no fun, at least you have an awesome group of people surrounding you and going through it with you!

Leave a Reply