I had recently returned from working in Sudan where it seemed like exotic diseases were waiting around every corner, yet I had been spared, I was back in Uganda completely whole and healthy. Or so I thought.
About a week before I was leaving to head back to the states these bumps arose on the outside of my right arm around the elbow. Over time these bumps grew and hardened, turned black, scabbed, itched like crazy, eventually fell off and left scarring where they had been. They never came back and didn’t really cause any discomfort other than itching. I was just glad they were gone because I didn’t want to get quarantined on my arrival back in the US for being contagious with some strange disease. Well I thought, it was Africa, things like that happened, no big deal, but I always wondered what exactly it was….
Flash forward 6 years and I was in Darwin, California with a group of friends on our way to Death Valley. Darwin was a creepy town but there was a sign pointing off into the hills with a UFO on it and said “Yaw’s Gate ahead”. That piqued our interest so we all began searching the internet for anything referring to Yaw’s Gate. We couldn’t find anything about a gate, but the term “Yaw” turned out to be very interesting.
There’s a disease that occurs in some tropical areas that causes bumps that grow and harden, then turn black, scab over, itch like crazy, and eventually fall off and leave scarring where they had been. It’s called Yaws.
So it took a few years, an adventure to a ghost town in the Californian desert, following the trail of a mysterious UFO gate, and Google to finally figure out that I had Yaws on my arm. That’s pretty cool.
I’ve included a link below to an article about Yaws, but only look if you don’t get squeamish: