Sunday, October 3, 2010

Scorpions, Bats and Parasites: Oh My!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Where to start? Scorpions. Riding my bike at night through the bush. Having a pet bat named ligdi or muerte. Parasites revisiting. Talking to my mom. Hmmm....

Let's start from the beginning... Having my parasite come back from the dead. I thought it had resolved itself - my stomach cramps and diarrhea were gone last Friday or maybe Thursday, but low and behold, 3 or 4 days later it came out of it's dormitory state and apparently is really mad I ate muton (sheep) and other African dishes this Sunday and Monday. Ouch. When I got to Ouaga on Friday I'll talk to one of the PCMOs (Peace Corps Medical Officer). As I mentioned, my parasite is back and was quite unhappy when a fellow PCV came to visit me on Sunday. there was a huge funeral that day before she could make it to my village - a very important, well known Imam passed away and his funeral was in my village. There were so many people here I felt like I was in Ouaga when I got to the "center" of my village. I was insane - and I needed to shake hands with everyone - very intimidating and very tiring too! I saw 3, well, no... 2 1/2 nessaras (stranger, or white person) at the ceremony/gathering/fête and almost jumped out of my seat to go talk to them and hope they spoke English. Turns out they are Belgium and the live here. They've been here for about 2 years now - living in Ouaga, but working in another city in the south of the country. She and I talked for a bit - but she had to go since her husband and small son were leaving the next day - so we didn't get to talk much.

So! Monday, the PCV and I went to a city for the marché and I bought some more things for my little house and we had some awesome lunch! : Hummus-esque type sandwiches with tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, onions and a vinaigrette. It was America in my mouth. Ashley came down to the city too later that day - so we all chatted and shared a beer and some muton. Damn you parasite!! Ashley caught me up on upcoming plans with the gang...and that left me leaving the city way too late! 18:00...that's 6:00pm for everyone who doesn't do military time. It gets dark by 18:30 and it takes me over an hour and a half to get back to village via BIKE! Geez. I hauled ass on my bike - really - I was riding so fast! Or, at least, as fast as I could and by the time I got home it was pitch black. I was accompanied by four men on their bikes throughout the journey though: one who was going to a small village on the way to my own village (about half the way to my village), then another man who was going to the village right on the corner of the main road and the dirt road to my village and then two guys on their way to my village who lit the way through the bush. I was really scary. I couldn't see anything and it was all so different looking at night. I second guessed the route so many times because I didn't know if it looked the same or not - but things always appear differently at night.

I get home - go the chez major to let him know I didn't die on my way home and to eat dinner with him and the other nurses and pharmacist. Went home, showered (took a bucket bath) and noticed a really big spider in my indoor douche area!! I got my HUGE can of Oro (insect killing spray) and went to town! Well, I noticed ants up in the doorway to my bedroom too - so I sprayed them. Then I saw it scurry under my "kitchen table." I thought it was a spider with something caught on it's butt from it's web...BUT IT WAS A SCORPION! I was so scared and killed it with my sandal. I swept it outside and showed/called over my neighbors. I was really shook up and asked to the best of my abilities if there would be more of them if I saw one. They assured me no and I should spray "pumpé" the insecticide and go to bed (at least I think that's what they said). I went to sleep outside in my bug hug... but then a storm came rolling in and I had to go inside. I slept inside my tent in my "one-size-fits-all room". Went to sleep pretty easily & woke up around 8:00 because I was so beat from all that biking. Got out of my tent and started looking around because I sprayed my whole house because I went to bed outside. Low and behold ANOTHER SCORPION: still twitching on it's back right next to my tent. I freaked out and then saw another one on the opposite side of the room - dark in color and really scary looking! (these things aren't small either! about the size of the palm of my hand). It was dead - and if it wasn't, the girl whom I got to come inside my house because I was on the verge of tears killed it when she came in. By the time three women were in my house I started crying because I was so stressed and scared. They tore apart my house - lifting my mats, my luggage, and whatever else was on the floor and made sure there weren't any more scorpions. They found just one more. FOUR SCORPIONS IN TOTAL! I don't like it one bit - I'm actually really spooked now and am paranoid there will be another one crawling around my feet or up the wall ready to prick me with it's venomous tail. So scary.

So today's been a weird day. Scorpions in the morning - along with lots of tears - then a newborn baby. I got to look over her at the CSPS for a little bit. It was so tiny! On the subject of the CSPS, I'm not sure how well the medical system is: I feel like it would be better if they were more vocal with the patients and were more organized. So after the baby, I called home. This was around 10:45 here, which is 5:45 at home. Mom picked up!! It was such a relief to talk to her - thought I didn't really get to spill my terror filled guts to her. But it was great. I miss her so much. Devon and Berto are visiting home in October!! I'm really glad everyone is doing well. Dad's working on the house to get it ready to be sold - he's on "vacation" but always working. Poor, poor daddy. Mom says she's gonna come visit me during her spring break which means April or March? I forget when that is... that would be next year - sounds good right now - I told her to buy a West Africa travel guide book thing. I think that'll help.

After I talked to her, I sat around the CSPS and then went back to my place just after midi. I ended up sweeping a bunch and being paranoid - but laid down and quickly fell asleep on the ground. I woke up and noticed something moving around where my tin roof meets the cement walls. I saw a furry face and tiny feet - okay, this could be either a mouse, rat, or a bat. I kept watching it as it was peering down to see what I was doing and noticed it's claw-like feet: BAT! Plus it's little face was all kinds of squished. I got worried and walked to the CSPS to tell them that I had seen a bat in my house to gauge their response - seems like it's not a big deal. They said that it faire rien (does nothing). Phew! But then they saw it and was gonna either kill it or terrorize it! I quickly stopped them and said it will eat lots of bugs. He shall stay and be my friend. I'm calling it either ligdi (money in Mooré) or muerté. He's really tiny and kinda cute - I woke him up from a nap and he yawned BIG! I want to feed him bananas because he started squeaking when I was eating one. Maybe he's a fruit bat? I don't know. But I think I'm okay with him in my house. I'd rather him than any number of bugs...especially scorpions!

MMMMmmm - I made yummy make-shift mac and cheese tonight with vache qui rit (laughing cow cheese) and powdered milk. I added green pepper, tomatoes, onions, chives and garlic - along with the essential salt and pepper with some chicken bouillon stuff. It was good! I saved the left-overs for lunch tomorrow and put the contents in my desert fridge. But alas - my parasite didn't like it one bit. He growled and made me think I was gonna throw up and crap all over the place just 10 minutes after I devoured my meal.

I ate a banana - I hope that helps.

Gotta get up at 5:00 tomorrow to be ready for traveling to one of my satellite villages. It's about a 16KM bike ride away - I leave at 7:00.

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