December 28, 2004: Headlines: COS - Tanzania: Writing - Tanzania: Malaria: Safety and Security of Volunteers: Writing - Tanzania: Excerpt from "the Big Trek": Tanzania RPCV Carmen Bailey gets treatment for cerebral malaria. after her service in Tanzania [Excerpt from her book "The Big Trek"]

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Tanzania: Peace Corps Tanzania: The Peace Corps in Tanzania: December 28, 2004: Headlines: COS - Tanzania: Writing - Tanzania: Malaria: Safety and Security of Volunteers: Writing - Tanzania: Excerpt from "the Big Trek": Tanzania RPCV Carmen Bailey contracts cerebral malaria.during her service in Tanzania [Excerpt from her book "The Big Trek"] : December 28, 2004: Headlines: COS - Tanzania: Writing - Tanzania: Malaria: Safety and Security of Volunteers: Writing - Tanzania: Excerpt from "the Big Trek": Tanzania RPCV Carmen Bailey gets treatment for cerebral malaria. after her service in Tanzania [Excerpt from her book "The Big Trek"]

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Tanzania RPCV Carmen Bailey gets treatment for cerebral malaria. after her service in Tanzania [Excerpt from her book "The Big Trek"]

Tanzania RPCV Carmen Bailey gets treatment for  cerebral malaria. after her service in Tanzania [Excerpt from her book The Big Trek]

Read and comment on this excerpt from "The Big Trek" by RPCV Carmen Bailey contracting cerebral malaria during her service in Tanzania. Folow the link to find out more about the book at:

AT HOME - Chapter 7*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

AT HOME - Chapter 7

My airplane made three stops on the west coast of Africa before heading across the Atlantic Ocean for New York City. I was a close relative to a vegetable. If something happened, fine. If it did not happen, that was fine too. I was going to New York City because I wasn't going some place else. During the second stop on the west coast, Mozart's vibrancy poured from speakers on the plane; strains of a beloved sweet-of-all-sweets melody, long forgotten. Tears sobbed as I realized I had lost my place under the sun.

From New York City, we flew to Raleigh where Jesse put me in a hotel room and took a bus to Winston-Salem where his uncles lived, to buy transportation to drive us to Camp LeJeune where he was stationed. I couldn't figure how to use the telephone, but desk responded. I asked, "Is this water safe to drink?" I knew that was an inappropriate ques- tion but could not figure out what was wrong with it.

The next morning I walked the long hallway, leaning on the wall for balance, to get to the restaurant. As I sat down, a waitress placed a menu in front of me and explaining, said, "We don't get very many female salespersons around here."

I ordered four times what I could eat. It was my first American meal in over a year.


Jesse had obtained transportation! After we were established in his abode at Camp LeJeune, a friend from Eastern Shore of Virginia came to get me and I set about to get disability pay.

The head of Public Health on Eastern Shore, Dr. Thomas Simpson, who said he had taught Tropical Diseases at Johns Hopkins Hospital; who had been instrumental in building my health to specifications of Peace Corps - the first of five agencies I belonged to - now would not see me, sending me to a doctor who sent me to a doctor who said he was a neurologist: Dr. Robert Paschal. Peace Corps medical forms had been sent to him to fill out - I saw them on his desk - and I handed him a copy of the five page computer written medical report from Nairobi Hospital.

Dr. Robert Paschal was flippant, brusque. Before he examined me, he asked if I was going to sue. "No. Besides, I'm offered disability." "Are you going to take it?" "Yes." "Well, I'd like to have a little disability myself so I wouldn't have to work all the time."

But he refused to talk to me about my condition, actually discrediting it with, "People do not survive Falciparum, therefore you didn't have it. I am writing you up as a psychiatric case for thinking you had it."

My disability pay was denied.

I had sold out when I went to Africa because I planned on staying for years; maybe the rest of my life. I now had no income, no home, and savings were used up before I left Nairobi.

Friends took me in, over a six month period. I alternated between them.

Twice I slept in the back of a car. Four months after I returned to USA, I missed a connection between homes and rented an efficiency. In two weeks, a home became available. But per agreement, my deposit was not returned and I sued. And won.

I began gaining weight, and my skin no longer draped over my bones; much of my hair had fallen out from medicine used in ICU and now was growing back in. My voice rose above a whisper, now, seven months after the ventilator tube was removed from my throat in ICU. But I began to deteriorate in other places. My right knee crunched when I moved it. Insteps became painful when I walked. I was unable to absorb ordinary conversation and lost what concentration I had.

My Representative, Herbert Bateman, encouraged me to make application for Social Security Insurance. Or Widow's Benefits, which I was denied when my husband died four years previously. I resubmitted and was sent to a psychiatrist who leaned back in his chair and bellowed at me! He asked if I thought people were doing things to me! I lied and said, "No," so he wouldn't report me as paranoid."

I asked if Social Security Administration had sent him a copy of my medical report. After I gave him one, he recommended benefits but they were not forthcoming. Social Security said I was able to work. I told them that it would have been easier, quicker, and a lot kinder if I had died when I was supposed to have. They objected to my statement, mewling that they were doing the best they could.

Representative Bateman said I should resubmit to Social Security but I could not handle it. I needed a place to sleep; food to eat; now! I said I did not know that getting Social Security Benefits was a game and I did not have time to play it. Belatedly, I realized that was the idea.

One and a half years after I returned to USA, I obtained a copy of Paschal's report. It was so embarrassing to read the inaccuracies so zestfully written that I could not bear to read much of it. Half a minute's perusal said that I "claimed" to have had cerebral malaria. That I was manipulative because I asked him to give me a hand to help me down from his examining table.

At first, he told me that cerebral malaria fries the brain. Since he knew that much about it, I reasoned, he would then see that I came through with neurological conditions. In retrospect, he meant that since my brain was not completely fried, that I had not had cerebral malaria. His partner absent-mindedly concurred; nodding in agreement and suggesting I take Benedryl and not come back.

I needed somebody. Anybody! Except establishment doctors who would sanction Paschal's decadence and clout to jerk me around, to humiliate, and lie and make it stick! When I asked them why they treated people in this manner, they replied with things like, "Don't rock the boat." They literally thought it was proper that doctors have the right to slander, abuse, and let people die; professionally, of course.

I turned to other important matters.


I asked Representative Bateman for all my reports per Freedom of Information Act [FOI] and he had a bunch sent; some which were not meant to be seen; sent by an aware insider of Labor Department. But the two main documents I wanted were not there; those which documented unmitigated injuries. It took another year to get those through another source.

Bateman's administrator, Ms. Beasley, told the Social Security office across the street, to let me see my files. A little boy angrily stood over me as I flipped pages and got stuck on one which read, "She is a simple farm girl from Florida."

I was stunned, lifted the book and pointedly read the statement aloud! And added: "There is nothing simple about me, little boy! Besides, I don't mind being a farm girl from Florida; it just isn't so. I'm from Florida decades ago, but I never saw a farm."

He mumbled.

I indignantly asked, "Who is deranged enough to think this up?"

Six months after I was back in USA without benefits, Jesse and girl friend drove me to North Carolina where I stayed with friends and another son put me on a plane for Florida where I stayed with a relative while looking for a doctor who would sign for me to obtain disability pay. I was sent to a psychiatrist/neurologist who had no knowledge of cerebral malaria but knew how to keep payment coming from the government. He was intent on making me confess that I was depressed and that was my problem. He told me to say that.

I wouldn't say it! When he finally discovered there was more than depression, he asked pertinent questions like, "What do you want?"

I said, "My brain back. And my good balance. My concentration is broken and my right knee is in worse condition than when I came back from Kenya."

Over a three month period at that doctor's office, I had a brain scan which showed functional damage; an EEG which showed tiny seizures. I was wired and shocked from knee to toe on the right side. And wired elbow to finger, also on the right side; both showing slow nerve reaction. Another test revealed short term memory loss. My long term memory was okay.

During this time I was given an appalling and irrelevant oral exam which lasted several days. I remember a couple of the host of irrelevant questions. Like, "Do you like kinky sex?"

Even in my stupor, I wondered what my like or dislike for kinky sex had to do with the United States Government deliberately trying to let me die. I did not answer the question. In this country of supposed freedom of speech, it was none of their business.

The next irrelevant question was… "Why do people go to a doctor to get medicine?" Asked like I was a bouncy cute li'l kindergartner.

I absentmindedly replied, "So the AMA has a good place to peddle its drugs." I thought it was common knowledge.

But she actually said, "Oh, I can't put that down. Is there another reason?" "No, that IS the reason." I knew the questions were slanted but it had not occurred to me until now, that my answers should be slanted too.

Several questions later, I cut in and said, "Oh, I know what you want me to say. 'It's to keep drugs off the street. But it isn't working too well.' "

They all took that fact to mean that I was on illegal drugs - not theirs!

My doctor treated me for secondary depression, whatever that is, and issued Sinequan which drove me the rest of the way batty and I lost my home with my relative. She was very ill and couldn't handle me. I couldn't handle me! Shrink was angry that I quit taking it. When I realized again that I was in worse condition by going to see a conventional psychiatrist and said my son was coming to get me to take me home, shrink evenly asked, "What if I won't let you go?"

But, finally, disability was restored!

My home was in Greenbackville, Virginia, a waterman's village along the coast of Chincoteague Bay in the Atlantic Ocean beneath the Atlantic Flyway where thousands of Canada Geese and Snow Geese, over wintered and fed on acres of what was purposefully and joyfully left for them after the harvesting of corn fields. Then they migrated further south; or mingled with relatives at the National Wildlife Preserve at Assateague, two miles across the bay from me.

From my house, it was a two minute walk to the newly restored marina which boasted harbor light and a slatted boardwalk encircling it. Slips fastened sleek sailing vessels rarely used by rich vacationers... and rusty, chipped-paint, beat up old craft used daily by the hardiest of all people: the watermen - who harvest seafood in any weather from the bottom of the ocean.

All craft were christened with emotions and loves: MISS BETTY. NORTH STAR. SEA WHORE. EXPLORE. To name a few. Crab pots with commercial, or sealed plastic, milk jug floats were neatly stacked beside them on the slatted walkway.

My backyard opened into a swamp. At high tide and full moon, bay water came up on the main road. Tadpoles grew in the filled gullies. Cattail grew beside a creek which fluctuated with the tide in my yard. Stork-like stilted water birds pecked through my yard, their knees opening backwards from mine.

With my restored disability pay I could stay in a place long enough to gain enough health to return to Africa.

I thought!

But I had only gotten started. With each segment of progress came new depths of decadence! Now I could not get my checks sent to me. They were sent to my ill relative's house in Florida, for eight months. I finally called Department of Labor and a lady exclaimed that she didn't know what I was complaining about; that a client just called to thank her for sending her check. I didn't say, "So would I if got one."

They did not accept certified mail.

They skipped a month.

They sent me a form for bank deposits but did not use it when I sent it in.

I was visited by FBI. One of them knocked on my door and I opened it. He flashed his badge and shouted "FBI!" I said I didn't want him in my house. He said he had to come in and ask me some questions. I asked him if his boss really and truly sent him to ask dumb questions. He nodded.

I asked him if he really expected me to believe he drove 100 miles from Norfolk to ask me about a kind letter I wrote to President Gorbechev, hoping he liked us, when he first visited Washington, DC.

Somewhere along the line of 20 minutes of astonishingly convoluted conversation, he asked me if Gorbechev had come to see me. I bit my tongue to keep from saying… "Oh sure! Didn't you see it on the news? He and his entourage caught a shuttle from DC to Salisbury, rented Hertz cars and motorcaded down Eastern Shore to my house." "Miss Effie closed the post office in celebration, and her husband, Mr. Milton, made his famous family recipe of clam stew from clams which grew right there in the bay," pointing to Chincoteague Bay, where I stuck my big toe in it every day. "Charlotta and Richard brought lawn chairs for everybody and Laura did a serious reading on folklore fishermen." "The local fire department sent a great western string band over and it roundly played "Old Joe Clark." "It really was a blast and President Gorbechev enjoyed it so much he said he was coming back."

That's what I wanted to say to such an ignorant question. But I had enough problems already before getting mixed up with another high IQ robot.

Neither did I want to impugn any of my fine neighbors; they would then be on suspicion to be harassed and slandered. I simply said "No," and studied him for signs of life. He left, but his kind harassed me for over a decade.

The first harassment had already been in effect for three months. I discovered it when my phone was restored untapped that day and my mail resumed delivery.

After the FBI man left my house in Greenbackville, I drove to Pokemoke City in Maryland to get a hamburger. When I got inside the McDonald's, there were six strange men standing around grinning. They were clad as their idea of fishermen - color matched sports clothes and new felt hats with lures stuck in the hat bands. I studied them while pacing in front of them, stifling an embarrassed grin.

Fact: There are no commercial fishermen on Eastern Shore. There are commercial Watermen. Watermen do not fish. They do not use lures. They work a dredge on a ship which reaches to the bottom of the ocean to pull up clams. It is a grossly dangerous job and very poorly paid, so Watermen do not walk about grinning. And they are too underpaid to have much more than a wash one and wear one… forget a fancy felt hat with a band around it to hold lures they don't use.

As I went to get in line for a hamburger, one of the agents beat me there and turned around to say, "I get disability." "Good for you. Why?" "He replied, "I showed the government how to make a better bomb."


Other harassments I recall...

I learned to ride a bike again, a favorite part of my life. I was always happy when riding my bright yellow bike with the white helmet, tinted goggles, fingerless gloves and pied riding clothes. I wore normal shoes because now, I frequently fell and did not need to be secured to the bike.

One day as I rested at a park, a new vehicle drove in and I moaned, "Oh No! Not another one of those!"

He got out of an old station wagon, keeping his eye on me as he groped for his bike in the rear of it. It was obvious that the last time he handled a bike, it was a trike. He rolled it right over to me and asked which way was Ft. Worth. "It's that way - pointing - "Seven miles on the trail. Want to go with me?"

He did.

But he could not ride on the right hand side when coming to a hill even when I mentioned it to him and a sign suggested it. He could not make conversation. He rode with his knees out! What a clutz! How embarrassing! I quit talking and tried to distance myself from him.

But on the way back he said, "You aren't handling your bike too well." "Nah! But it's better than one would expect. I had a disease which bungled me up."

Then he suddenly blurted! "What did you do with the letters the government sent you?"

I smilingly gloated, like the spider in the web which finally induced her malicious prey into her quarters. "I kept them. And copied them. Every scrap. And sent full copies to Tanzania, Kenya, Florida, my Senator Lloyd Bentsen and my Representative Joe Barton."

Instantly, he stood up on his pedals and pumped furiously all the way and never looked back!

Weeks later, as I ran off the trail ramp, an old man began talking to me as he walked in the same direction I was going, his back to me. Something about a hot day. I agreed it was an unusually scorching day.

By this time we were at his stylish late model sports car with his foot on it as he bent over to retie his shoes laces. He said he walked here daily to keep himself in shape.

I didn't say, "I ride daily. I never saw you."

He added, "Today I walked to Hulen Bridge," pointing in the wrong direction. His city dress shoes were spotless and his dress shirt with tie had not one spot of sweat.

I said, "Well, I'm so proud of you," and shook his hand. He preened and drove off.

They say that once a person gets on their list, they are on it for life. A decade later I wonder if I am still on their list…therefore, I don't know if I'm paranoid or not.


The venue for my Federal court hearing to obtain the Lump Sum Settlement they offered me, was changed from the usual location to one further away. My lawyer thought aloud as he drove us to the new location, wondering why the venue was moved.

By now, very experienced and alert, I said, "There will be no elevator and someone will run out and watch me to see how I use the stairs - not offering a hand."

That's what happened.

Along with the long years of being tailed and harassed, I had my phone removed. Then, my computer began getting un-usable replies to questions I had asked. By this time in 1991, Senator Lloyd Bentsen was providing solid help bimonthly – literally everybody else I had visited, having told me not to ask them again - and twice my surface mail to him was confiscated.

I developed my own communications systems.


When I had served ManKind freely for so long; when what I had paid in for 27 years to be there when I needed it, was withheld; when I won the Lump Sum Settlement offered by The United States Government if it did take ten years - and they changed their rules after the fact - something snapped within me. It became more perplexing when later I discovered that Congress had passed a law against the giving of lawsuits won against the government. So why was I given the rules?

A United States prosecutor spent 83 million dollars on a personal matter, turning it into porn and spreading it throughout the entire world. Congress needed just one day to declare war - that is, to purposefully cause destruction. Later, the same senators were smilingly and handsomely giving their guesses on TV as to when bombs would start dropping on Iraq, while paid up benefit accounts were ignored at home. It says what our leaders were doing to us. Where was the chief prosecutor, now that people were being murdered in Iraq for whatever reason they called it? Why was food aid to other countries sent across the ocean, while our own starved from lack of their paid up pensions?

There are so many contradictions that make up my civilization. Perhaps the most basic one is an organized religion quandary. "Over 80% of Americans profess belief in God and a religion... you know... "Love your fellow person." And "80% of Americans demand the Death Penalty!" What do these statistics explain?

There is a huge gap between what we are taught as children in Sunday School - taken to church to specifically learn - and what we are expected to know when we are suddenly shafted because of exposure to unusable rules. The teaching suddenly changes when we find ourselves in a legal quandary." "You should have known better. You're a Big Girl now!" However did such an accepted contradiction take hold?

What would happen if we made a specific choice of loving our fellow person, or of being a liar - so that we would quit straddling the fence.


In 1989, 2 ½ years after I came back to USA, after I had been to a large number of AMA doctors, I knew I was dying. The only recourse I had was to do the cycle of establishment doctors again, as I died. I did not know about Alternative Medicine, the branch of medicine which healed you. But friends warned me against going to the only hospital in reach, saying I would die quicker there.

They had kept me in their homes as I awaited promised monthly pay, and now it was time for my largest Lucky Star to appear… my sister Francey, called to ask about my condition.

She had just gotten past her own insurmountable problems, just enough to be able to call, and she said I should move to Ft. Worth where she could keep an eye on me.

I moved from Eastern Shore to Ft. Worth.

In a matter of weeks I located a doctor who was highly recommended by all thoughtful persons I asked. I was already spastic on my right side, and by this time, my right leg dragged, my right eye was crossed. My right arm was not useful. I was swollen all over. I could not hold conversation.

The doctor had a list of degrees which provided hidden-from-me ability. Voluminous plaques on his wall included certificates of Doctor of Osteopathy [DO], Master of Public Health [MPH], Fellow American College of Preventive Medicine [FACPM], Fellow American Osteopathic College of Preventive Medicine [FAOCPM], and Doctor of Homeopathy [HD].

What was not hidden from me, was that the entire treatment was between me and this doctor. A treatment which was currently needed, rather than what the doctor once read in his old training school manuals which included a Desk Reference of pills to sell.

That he was a happy person; he laughed a lot. He asked me what I wanted to do with my life, turning my attention away from my misery. Along with his degrees, and happiness which became infectious, he used the Chinese medical system which included herbs and acupuncture. Later, I used food supplements including vitamins and minerals, and when I was able, resumed my old habit of "eating to live," not "living to eat."

I emphasize "When I was able," because I was well into months of treatment before I made a statement of my own volition. I had been that close to total loss of my faculties. It was gently brought to my attention when this doctor chuckled and quietly said, "I didn't know you could talk."

He manipulated internal organs. He prompted ordinary conversation, positive con- versation, and worked around me in the middle of his office. For over two years I had drifted from day to day in a fog, trying to find a way to help myself, but being shunted from office to office and having no idea what to do about it. Now, this doctor caused me to center myself… my life.

He prompted conversation on how I could again take responsibility for myself. There were no inane questions about my last doctor; no giving approval for old records being sent, being passed around, never being through, and not getting something done.

He said things like, "You are grieving," not "You are a label." Nor, did he say things like, "People don't survive Falciparum, therefore you didn't have it." Nor, "You are a psychiatric case for thinking you survived Falciparum." Labels were not the issue. My thinking, or the lack of it, was the issue.

I was moving up the line from, "I am what I eat," to, "I am what I think" which included "I am what I eat," to realizing I was a result.

Eventually, I saw that habitual anger was a habit, that angry thoughts, and grief, controlled my thinking and therefore my body and health - via internal organs - and affected my road to recovery. How good overcomes evil became plain to see. It's inside the person. It feels good to think and do good. That's how good overcomes evil.

There were several single statements he made, any which could have knocked me over with a feather but the one I remember is, "You can get the same thing done better, if you are not angry." It was one of those sage pieces of advice which after thinking about the simplicity of it, one explains with compunction, "I knew that!"


I was with this doctor for a year - for a total of seven treatments - when he said, "I can do no more for you. You have to do the rest."

But, he had given me so much to think about, that I discovered a decade later that I was still reaching for his tidbits of counsel.

I left his treatments in high spirits, good humor, and with plans. Life was laughable, I walked and talked with a degree of dignity, and made much conversation!

I was ready to resume life.

Click on a link below for more stories on PCOL

When this story was posted in January 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Peace Corps issues appeal to Thailand RPCVs Date: December 30 2004 No: 354 Peace Corps issues appeal to Thailand RPCVs
Peace Corps is currently assessing the situation in Thailand, anticipates a need for volunteers and is making an appeal to all Thailand RPCV's to consider serving again through the Crisis Corps. Also read this message and this message from RPCVs in Thailand. All PCVs serving in Thailand are safe. Latest: Sri Lanka RPCVs, click here for info.

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