Tag Archives: 1990

Lee Treats Marcia’s Fever

Steve wasn’t here and before I even got down to South Carolina, I knew I had malaria. So I said to Dawn, “Do you have enough Fansidar?” She had been out to visit us and she had the Fansidar, so I took the appropriate dose and so I felt better, but it didn’t go away.

It seemed like I went through this period of time where every few weeks I’d wake up on the weekend and just have this low-grade fever and feel awful and then it would go away. This went on and on. We finally went out to visit your mother [Lee], Eric, in Arizona and while we were out there, I got sick again. She got me into the clinic there.

[Steve]: Was it Arizona?

[Dawn]: It wasn’t in Arizona; it was in Texas.

[Steve]: It was in Duncanville.

[Eric]: She worked in both places.

[Dawn]: That’s where she was.

I thought she was in Arizona.

[Dawn]: You’ve visited her there since then.

She was in Duncanville?

[Dawn]: But you were in Duncanville, at that time.

Well, whatever. Anyway, they did a test and found that I had the other strain that just lies low in your liver and then comes to life again. I’d been, for months, carrying this thing around and finally got the proper medication. Once I took that, that was the end of it.

[Dawn]: She had to go to Wycliffe to get it.

[Steve]: Reoccurring malaria that was serious. You have had it?

[Gail, etc.]: Dad.

[Steve]: Will?

[Eric]: I don’t think any of us siblings had malaria more than once or twice.

[Steve]: Well, that was a different strain and that strain has a tendency to reoccur. The strain that the kids had—we all had, have had it.

We all had it.

[Steve]: That is called falciparum. That can kill you, black water fever and all.

It’s the most deadly.

[Steve]: But once you treat it, it’s done. Until the next time you get infected with it.

Anopheles mosquito

Anopheles Mosquito

[Gail]: From a different mosquito?

[Steve]: With a different mosquito.

[Stephanie]: Before Kim and I left for school, though, Kim was getting sick every couple of weeks. I remember. She was so anemic.

story told by Marcia (Steve’s wife) to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 2014 with interjections from Dawn and Stephanie (Steve’s daughters) and Eric and Gail (Lee’s children); transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • Where did Lee work in Arizona? Was there an SIL clinic there, too?
  • Besides testing blood and providing the requisite meds, what else was the Wycliffe clinic in Duncanville equipped to do?
  • What’s the name of the reoccurring kind of malaria?
  • What kind of malaria did Will have?
  • Did Lee and her clan take anti-malaria prophylactics?
  • Who else has had malaria or taken meds to prevent it? Raise your hands.


Not Our First Case of Malaria

Malaria[Stephanie]: We inaugurated our time there [Ben Lippen High School] by getting malaria the first week of school.

[Marcia]: Mhmm.

[Voices]: Awwww!

[Kimberly]: That was the other thing we had gotten there. But then I didn’t have any US diseases or colds or anything until the chicken pox came around. So, yeah, we did better between malaria and chicken pox.



[Marcia]: I know. I think the school was in an uproar because they had this one, you know, Stephanie came down with malaria and they, the pharmacist filled the prescriptions incorrectly, so they gave her too much of one kind of medicine for her body weight. She had a reaction to it. She was a mess. But I had talked to the doctor on the phone and said, “You know”—they wanted to give them quinine—I said, “We never give them quinine.”

She said, “I have to give them quinine according to the CDC protocol.

[Kimberly]: Was Dad [Steve] . . . ?

[Stephanie]: Dad was still in Brazil.

[Marcia]: Dad had not come back yet. He took. .  . .

[Stephanie]: He had gone to Brazil for a conference.

[Marcia]: OK. So you [Steve] were going to come and meet up with us, but you weren’t back yet. I came down and put the kids, put them into school and went over and was at Elizabeth’s house while that, during that initial time. Anyway. . . .

[Stephanie]: We were also not supposed to be leaving school during the first month. That was part of the complication. My mom wasn’t there initially because we weren’t supposed to leave school or see our parents for the first month, oh and leave campus.

[Marcia]: Anyway, I talked to the doctor on the phone, but she told me she had to give them quinine. I just felt that that would be problematic. But anyway, the medicine also was, because it was switched around, it was the wrong amount. So she ended up in the hospital.

I told them, “You know, we’re not used into going in the hospital for malaria. It would really be better if she could just stay at the school and not be in the hospital, but she ended up in the hospital. So then I ended up going over there and staying with her in the hospital.

And then Kimberly got up one morning and had a headache. She went to the nurse and she said, . . .

[Kimberly]: “I’ve got malaria.”

[Marcia]: “I’ve got malaria.”

So the nurse said, “A-ha! We’re not taking you in to that hospital!”

The hospital in Columbia was a teaching hospital, so Stephanie had had every intern in the place come down to see this rare case of malaria.

So the nurse, who had lived overseas and knew a little bit about malaria, said, “OK. We’re going to take your blood first. We’re going to get it tested.” Sure enough, she had it, but by then they’d figured out how to give the dosage right. And didn’t you stay in the dorm and get better?

[Kimberly]: I stayed in the dorm.

[Marcia]: Took your medication and got better.

[Kimberly]: I got better. I still had the ear ringing and [can’t hear].

[Marcia]: Anyway.

[Kimberly]: Anyway, I was over it in, like, a week or less. Steph was sick for about two weeks and had a worse case than I had.

[Marcia]: So it was not our first case of malaria. We had had malaria a lot in Angola.

[Heidi]: That’s the shortest malaria.

[Kimberly]: Well, no, I mean I got really good at it in Jamba. I could diagnose it quick, right. This was the whole thing. I could have diagnosed Stephanie and treated her myself and she would have been fine.

[Heidi]: Better off.



[Kimberly]: We didn’t have any Fansidar around. We didn’t have Dad around, so that didn’t work out.

[Marcia]: Well, and I remember that your house-parents had said to me something about you having. . . .

[Stephanie]: They were trying to dose me with blueberries [? word unclear].

[Marcia]: And I said to her, I said to the house-parents, I said, “If she’s not better by Monday”—or whatever—“you have to start thinking malaria.” Because we knew the symptoms.

[Kimberly]: Because [can’t hear] we got home, right? Wasn’t it right after we got home?

[Dawn]: It was hardly two weeks.

[Mary Lynn]: Were you a few hours away that you couldn’t go to them?

[Marcia]: I don’t remember why I didn’t drive over there and take things into hand. I don’t know.

[Stephanie]: Well, I think initially it was kind of like a question of whatever. I mean maybe the house-parents were questioning what I was sick with. And there was this whole rule about not seeing your parents for the first month. I think they were just trying to help students, like, get through that rough patch.

[Marcia]: Because it was a . . . yeah.

[Stephanie]: School hadn’t really officially started yet. Kim and I were there because they were having an MK program for MKs. School hadn’t started. It was a dorm for us and the house-parents. There was a lot of back-and-forth. Part of it was [unclear].

story told by Marcia (Steve’s wife), Kimberly, and Stephanie (Steve’s daughters) to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 2014 with interjections from Dawn and Heidi (Steve’s daughters) and Mary Lynn (Lee’s daughter-in-law); transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • What were those house-parents’ names?
  • Where was the malaria-knowledgeable nurse when Stephanie got it? Why didn’t she intervene then?
  • What was the conference in Brazil about?
  • What weird diseases have you had in your travels? Where and why were you traveling? What happened?
  • Anybody remember the childhood diseases stories for the eight? Dad? Lee? Betty?

They’re Twins, They’re Girls, They’re Identical

We came back and we lived in Waltham [Mass.] for a year. Steve a year of internship at what was then Waltham Hospital [now Boston Children’s at Waltham]. Then he did residency at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, where he had done that externship.

It was during that time that I got pregnant again, and so we were pretty sure that—we found out we were going to have twins. That was kind of unexpected. It did come from my grandmother; [she] always used to tell me that she had a miscarriage that would have been twins if she had carried them to term. My aunt always wanted to have twins and never had them, but my cousin did have twins. She had fraternal twins and our twins are identical. They say that that isn’t so much a part of your heritage as fraternal twins are. At any rate, we followed the twin tradition.

My mother thought we should have a boy in the mix, so when Steve announced—and we thought we would, just because that was most—statistically that was most common. Then we had two girls [Kimberly and Stephanie]. He called up my mother and said, “Guess what? We have two girls!” And she said, “Oh, no!”

[Dawn]: Did she?

[Heidi]: Yeah.

[Dawn]: I love it because she came outside and she said, “Your mom had two girls.” And I said, “Oh, no! I wanted a brother.” And she scolded me!

[Stephanie?]: She had done it herself.

Anyway, so then we moved. When Dawn and Heidi. . . .

[Victoria]: How many years between you [Dawn and the twins]?

[Dawn]: Six.

Dawn is six years older than the twins and Heidi is two years older than the twins. The twins were 14 months and Dawn was in second grade—is that right?—when we moved out to South Dakota?

Steve Duncan Girls, 1982

Heidi, Dawn, Kimberly, Stephanie, Christmastime, 1982

[Dawn]: Yup.

Heidi was. . . .

[Heidi]: Toddling.

Not in school yet. And we lived in South Dakota for five years [1977–1982] and then we came back to the East Coast, raised our support and went to Angola. Dawn was in seventh grade and Heidi was in third grade and the twins were in first grade when we went to Angola [1983].

Then gradually they all—I homeschooled them in Angola. Dawn left in tenth grade to go to Ben Lippen School and Heidi wanted to go sooner because she didn’t want to do all the work that Dawn was doing in school.

[Heidi]: She had to do homeschool in ninth grade and it was just like uuuggghhh.

[Stephanie]: That was back when homeschooling was in its infancy and you had no options except the University of Nebraska.

We had University of Nebraska, a high school course from the University of Nebraska.

[Stephanie]: GED, basically a GED course.

Heidi went off when she was in ninth grade to Ben Lippen. Then we came home on furlough and lived in Sumter, South Carolina, for four months in a colleague’s house when the twins entered school. They weren’t too keen on being at Ben Lippen, but we said, “Try it.”

[Kimberly?]: [can’t hear] We were like kicking and screaming.

We said, “Try it.” We were on furlough. We stayed there until Christmastime and then they came home with us for Christmas break. Then they went back and stayed.

story told by Marcia (Steve’s wife) to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 2014 with interjections from Kimberly, Dawn, Heidi, and Stephanie (Steve’s daughters) and Victoria TJ Ramey’s wife; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • Which grandmother was it who had the miscarriage?
  • I’m thinking Heidi went to Ben Lippen in 1988 and Kim and Steph went in 1990. Is that right?

Cover It with Cement

Well, you can tell them that one of the creativeness [sic] that we had in Angola: We built a building, which was made out of adobe. That building—with many bricks, adobe bricks—was so big that we had to buy 570—and we got them sent to us from the United States—570 sheets of corrugated steel, which was 1 meter by 3 meters wide. Long! That covered this building. It was a massive building.

We designed it and built it, and the Lord provided a—we didn’t know how we were going to get the skeleton structure of it, but one day one of the Cuban doctors . . . no, one of the African doctors . . .  African soldiers—a lieutenant—got very sick. It was typhoid and we operated on him. His life was saved because he was just full of infection. Once we patched him up, they were so grateful in working with the Cubans, that they gave us some of their building materials, a lot of their building materials, so we were able to make the substructure of that big building.

And so the adobe work was made in such a way that it would be strong enough to hold, not only to hold all that up, but to hold itself up. We “rebocare,” we stuccoed it all over with some cement. A lot of this was even sent from the United States.

[Virginia?]: What language was that word in?


[Virginia?]: It sounded like Spanish.

[Marcia]: It does.

Yeah, it does. There’s a lot that we can even talk.

[Marcia]: We usually have been able to communicate to people that speak Spanish because we can understand and then we can answer in Portuguese. There’s enough that they can understand.

story told by Steve to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 2014; recorded and transcribed by Dawn [Steve’s daughter]

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • I’m sure Steve isn’t the only one in the family to build things. There was plenty of engineering going on. What other things did the Duncan Eight build (that we haven’t heard about)?
  • Dad, do you have a photo of this building that you’d like to contribute?