Feb 28, 2015
So, here’s a short little story to brighten your day. I promise it’s actually short!
Last night, the power cut out around 2am and only managed to come back on sometime around 5:42am. Normally I’m ok without power but Shirati is at the end of a very long dry season so it is incredibly hot, especially at night. I sleep with the windows open, though they do little to diminish the heat. There are also lots of mosquitos and I don’t have a mosquito net so I sleep with a fan which solves both problems at once. It cools off the room and keeps away the mosquitos (or at least it makes a noise louder than the buzzing and therefore it seems like there are no mosquitos). Anyways, the power, once again, cut out for most of the night so it was a hot and buzzy, sleepless night. I feel asleep around 545am (within minutes of the power coming back) and woke up at 7:45.
But this is not the point of the story. I only mentioned it because while lying in bed waiting for Tanesco (the oh so loathed electrical company) to turn on the power, I actually thought that the power cut was going to be the worst part of my day. It wasn’t....
So, I got up and headed to town to grab a “taxi” to Tarime where I was catching the bus to go to Mwanza. Let me clarify the word taxi. Don’t let it conjure up images of shiny yellow cars with one person stretched out in the back. Here taxi cars are a regular hatchback kind of car but they are used as a small bus, each with its own route between specific towns. But unlike regular cars in Canada where everyone has a seat and a seatbelt, these hatchbacks magically transform into clown cars where people are piled in and piled in.
We started with me in the back and an old dude in the front. Then two young women, a baby and a 7 year old girl piled in the back with me. The 7 year old was carrying the baby on her back and as she got in, she took off the baby and handed him to me. Anyone who knows me, knows that, whilst I have been endowed with a body primed for bearing children (wide child-bearing hips and ample bosom), I was not endowed with the oh-so-crucial, “mother” gene. I reluctantly took the baby while they piled into the car. However, once in, no one made any effort to take the baby back.
So there he was, sitting on my lap. Just like how a dog is able to find the one person in the room that is afraid of dogs, this baby sniffed me out. My hesitation in holding babies in cars on hot, dusty, bumpy roads is two-fold. One, I know all too well that their diapers are usually little more than a couple of layers of thin cloth wrapped around their bottoms and two, bumpy roads can make anyone a little queasy, even babies. So, with no other options, I got the baby comfy and tried to make him sleep. However, he was far too intent on examining every nook and cranny of this strange white person that was holding him. Once he was satisfied with his examination, he fell asleep on my chest (which luckily provided good cushioning for the bouncy road).
Not long after we started our journey, we picked up another passenger which meant we were 4 adults, one 7 year old, and one baby in the back seat. The funny part of the story comes after an hour or so on the extremely bumpy, dusty road. We finally got to the pavement and picked up another passenger. She sat in the front seat with the old guy. Don’t think for a second that the front seat is a bench seat, it’s not. It’s two separate seats, but somehow they always manage to fit 3 or 4 people in the front. I have actually been in the car when the driver has someone share his seat with him. It’s always a bit terrifying.
Anyways, as we picked up our 9th person (6 of us in the back, driver and passenger already in the front), I looked over at the baby’s mom and there was nothing but a look of terror. Her eyes were wide open and her lips were sealed shut . Before I could ask if she was ok, she leaned over me and started to puke out the window. Oh wait, let me clarify the order of events. She leaned over me, started to puke and then made it to the window. Yup, all those worries about the baby peeing or puking on me were for nothing. Instead I got puked on by the mom. Luckily it was more smooth than chunky but it still got on my thigh and dripped down my leg. Yup. Add that one to the list. I quickly hopped out of the car and let her get by so she could puke a few more times on the side of the road. Then the driver hurried us back into the car and we went the last 30 minutes to the bus station. She managed to hold it in and then puked again when we got to the bus station. Always an adventure. Always!!
Basically the moral of this story is that, if you didn’t get puked on today, than you’re having a better day than I am so rejoice and enjoy!
Wait... it's not done... there's more...
Part 2 - March 1st, 2015
I wrote the first part of the story around 8 pm that night. I had already arrived in Kisesa and had made my way to friend’s guest house. Unfortunately, there was a wedding happening next door so all the rooms were full. Fortunately, the one room where the staff girl slept had a big bed and she was willing to share. So, I crawled into bed nice and early (after a sleepless night and a long bus ride) and wrote my little story. When I finished, I was convinced being puked on was the worst part of my day. I was wrong again....(I'm kinda getting tired of being wrong all the time... )
By about 9pm, I was feeling itchy. I felt some bites on my arms and feet but it hadn’t heard any mosquitos so it didn’t make sense. I laid there for a while, trying to ignore the itchiness. There were more bites and I became itchy in more spots. I finally got out of bed around 10 to check the bites (of course there was no electricity so I used my head lamp) and the bites had quickly turned into massive welts. Easily bigger than a toonie. It was definitely not mosquitos. I had never experienced this before so I was not sure what it could be. We checked the bed but didn’t see anything. I thought maybe spider bites, as I’ve been bitten by spiders before, but there were too many bites and we couldn’t see any spiders. Then… on the bed.. we found the culprit. Bed Bugs!!!!
So, another bucket list item checked off. By this time it was almost 11 pm, the wedding guests were arriving and creating a lot of commotion. I decided to sleep on the floor where I could hopefully avoid the bugs. That didn’t work… I still kept getting bitten. By this time I had a good 20 or more welts of various sizes across my body. Through it all, the other girl was sleeping on the bed. I have no idea how she did it.
Around midnight I talked to my bed bug exterminator friend back home for some expert advice which calmed my nerves a little. Around 1am, after still not sleeping and still getting bitten, I decided to leave the room completely and took up a spot on the floor in the entrance way. The wedding guests were probably surprised to see a white girl sleeping on the floor but at this point, I was indifferent to their reaction. I tried to sleep and not scratch too much and I think some time around 530am, I feel asleep (this is starting to be a pattern…). I woke up around 800am and as per instructions from the expert, I washed every piece of clothing by hand. I took all my stuff out of the room and went through it piece by piece to make sure there were not little friends hiding anywhere. I moved out of the room and found some floor space in the office for the following night.
So, that’s the story. I’ve include some pictures on facebook for your viewing pleasure.
I’m not sure what the moral is now. Maybe it’s, never think you’re having a bad day because it can always get worse. On a side not, while I was washing my clothes, I watched a goat get slaughtered…. Yup…your day can always get worse.
Hope you’re all having a great day! :)