Introducing CardStories with “Giardia burps!”

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Now that you’ve had a chance to play your JadedAid deck a few times you are probably wondering how we came up with all of these hilarious cards! The answer…by crowdsourcing ideas from aid workers like you!

The cards are funny because each card is grounded in truth and we’re pumped to announce the launch of CardStories – a series of posts where the people behind the cards share their inspiration.

Get ready to laugh and cry with us each week when we release a new CardStory!

First up… Giardia burps!

Giardia was my first ailment in a developing country. About a month into  my Peace Corps training, I was hit with diarrhea so bad that I couldn’t make it to my host family’s latrine and instead spent hours sitting on a bucket in my room retracing my copy of Where There Is No Doctor and chewing Pepto Bismol tablets. The diarrhea eventually passed, but noxious sulphury burps were a constant part of my 2 years in my rural village. It didn’t matter how zealous I was about bleaching my fruits and veggies, washing my hands, or treating my water, every time I sent a stool sample to the Peace Corps med unit, they’d send back giardia treatment and a judgy note about sanitation. I’d treat myself and a few weeks later the burps would start again.

12+ years and 17 countries later, I’ve developed some rather robust gut flora and I very rarely get sick, but giardia seems to be my thing. I have a much lower tolerance for diarrhea now that I am actually paid to do development work. Luckily, those nasty sulphur burps are little warning signs that preceed the worst of the GI issues, and usually give me enough warning to get to the closest dodgy pharmacy for drugs. The one time I didn’t get to the pharmacy in time was when I was housebound in a cast for a broken ankle. That was the day I learned that it is impossible to simultaneously hop on crutches and clench your butt cheeks together.

I suppose giardia has taught me some life lessons, like when the going gets tough, it could be worse: you could be trying to figure out how to take off your soiled sweatpants without getting poop on your cast.

Pro tip: keep the name and dosage of the meds for whatever most commonly ails you overseas saved in the notes on your phone so you can pull it out and show it to the pharmacist even if they don’t speak the same language.

Anonymous worked for many years in DC and the field, ironically, for international public health NGOs.

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Categories: Card Stories