#6 Tropical Diseases and Parasites
When drinking with newbies or home on R&R, stories of having had one of these low shock value diseases or parasites will get you a gasp and an “euw” and make you seem worldly:
- Amoebic Dysentery
- Bedbugs (note: does not work in New York City)
- Hepatitis A
Break out the medium shock value* diseases and parasites to bond with Expat Aid Workers who have 3+ years of experience in a developing country:
- Tapeworms, round worms, hookworms
- Yellow Fever
- Hepatitis B
Save the stories of the extreme shock value diseases and parasites for one-upping crusty long timers:
- Hemorrhaging dengue
- Advanced stage malaria
- Cerebral Meningitis
- Anything on the list of Neglected Tropical Diseases
When speaking of these diseases, Expat Aid Workers should carefully select tone of voice and level of detail to elicit the proper reaction from the audience.
Too much detail and folks back home will tune out (they are not used to Expat Aid Workers’ penchant for describing their physical symptoms in minute and graphic detail). Inordinate complaining makes you look weak and turns off potential hook ups (whines, can’t deal, needs to be taken care of, should just go home if can’t take it). TMI can also turn off potential employers (not cautious enough, irresponsible, can’t keep things to self). Excessive “moasting” (moaning + bragging — more on “moasting” later) and you sound like that geek in high school who’s making shit up to impress. Brace yourself for the slap down from that dude who’s been shot at in a warzone or jailed in Mexico.
Keeping the above tips in mind, tropical diseases and parasites are a surefire conversation topic for any Expat Aid Worker gathering.
*Note: if treated on time