The Price of Honesty and Other SAS Thoughts

We have to be medically cleared for Semester at Sea. One of the questions is, Have you been recently exposed to TB? WELL. I’m a medical student. In South Africa. In the Western Cape. You tell me if I’ve recently been exposed to TB.

So I was honest. Because I have. I’ve had many TB patients. Yes, I’ve taken the necessary precautions, but that wasn’t the question (even though I stated it in the comments). Now I need to have a PPD done. Sigh. In South Africa we don’t like doing PPDs on adults, because so many have been exposed. A positive won’t necessarily correlate with active infection. But regardless, I can’t afford a PPD or a chest radiograph at this point. It’s the end of the year. I just piled double the amount of debt onto my name in order to do Semester at Sea. So tomorrow I’ll go sit in a long queue at the public hospital and get an X-ray done there. For free because I don’t earn an income. ย I should have lied, how would they know? I know I don’t have TB. This better be worth it.


Got my meningitis and typhoid vaccines too, and malaria medicine. Most expensive medicine ever. About one in two people develop mild myalgia after the meningococcal vaccine. I’m one of those, it seems, and it’s not mild. Owie. I’m grateful, in a way, for the meningitis shot though. It’s not something I would get otherwise, even though it has been on the market for a while. And we have lots and lots of meningitis patients.

I realised today that I am incredibly nervous about this voyage. I am shy. I’m not the bubbly personality that my little sister is. What if I don’t make friends? What if I’m lonely? What if all this trouble wasn’t worth it? I’m not ungrateful, I’m just really scared.


  1. I think you will be fine! Doing something different is always scary. I think you will make a friend or two or three, because you all have something in common, so there is something to start with;-) Have faith!

    1. Thanks Robyn, I appreciate it ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Alexa Rae Johnson says:

    I know you can’t respond but would like you to know that a Semester at Sea alumni (Spring 11) is reading your blog and incredibly excited for you! Because of SAS, I have been to South Africa! So we have a couple things in common. ๐Ÿ™‚ Embrace every opportunity, live in every single moment, eat outside every meal that you can, meet as many people as people. Would love to chat with you when you return and hear all about your experience. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Alexa Rae

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