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The first time I contracted amoebic dysentery, it was on a three-day hike up Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. I had so many bowel movements that I ran out of toilet paper and had to resort to using pages torn from Shiva Naipaul’s excellent travel book, North of South; and then to leaves; and finally, as we went higher and the vegetation became less luxuriant, to smooth stones. Near the top, my difficulties were compounded by altitude sickness and I keeled over on a petrified lava field between two snow-capped volcanic cones at about 1,800 feet. I lay on my back,…

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