My mother was an adventurous sort – sometimes recklessly so! The guide book said ‘do not drink local milk products’. So of course she immediately bought and drank a strawberry milk ‘shake’ from a local woman’s roadside stand! Luckily, no harm done. But when we were in Marrakesh it was so incredibly hot that she decided we should go swimming. There was a local public pool, and so off we went! It was a very nice, big pool and everyone was very friendly. I never thought twice about it. Until…….

A few days later we had left Morocco for the French Riveria, where we met up with my sister, who had been visiting relatives in Prague. We all went down to the beach in Nice, and the minute the salt water hit my foot I thought I would faint from the burning! I ran out of the water and saw this terrible sore on the top of my big toe. My mother also had a terrible sore on the top of her foot. We cleaned and bandaged our feet, and that was the end of my swimming in the sea on that vacation.

As soon as we came home to NY, my mother went to her doctor — because her sore was much much worse (it had eaten down until you could see bone! sorry to be so graphic, but it is true!), and so was mine. I figured whatever the doctor gave her for hers, I would use for mine. So she comes home, and I asked what the doctor said. “It is a bacterial infection which causes severe skin sores.” I said, OMG that is EXACTLY the definition of leprosy!!! She never believed that’s what it was, whereas I am firmly convinced it was!

(I should say that one day in Marrakesh (a few days before swimming) a fellow traveler and I were exploring the souk and we were winding up and down different streets until we came to the end of the stores. At the end of the street, leading into another part of the souk, there were heavy chains hanging on the sides of the entryway. We stopped to look, and wondered what they were for, until a man came running up to us, gesturing for us to go back, go back! He used signs and gestures to make us understand this was the entrance to a leper quarantine zone! Yikes!! we couldn’t run out of there fast enough. So you can imagine my horror when we got those sores!!!)

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