Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Scabies Carpet

Perhaps you are wondering what those of us here at the guest house do in our ample, nay, excessive free time. The answer is hang out, which might also be described as sitting around.

When you are in-country waiting for the wheels of bureaucracy to turn slowly and eventually spew forth your mandatory paperwork, you have almost nothing to do. As I've shared, we have had a few orphanage service trips, and have more coming up, but at night after dinner, or in the morning when you are waiting two hours for your driver to show up there is very little to do. Today we had a trip planned to visit an orphanage outside of the city, but we woke up to a torrential downpour and were informed about mid-morning that the roads were impassable. Thus, we have a whole day to hang out around the scabies carpet. We also played bananagrams (and I won).

Let me give you a few fun facts about scabies. They are contagious. It seems they are mostly spread through bed linens and from those who are in very close contact. Scabies can't live too long away from their host, so if you can manage to avoid something infested with scabies for a few days they will die. Or, you can wash and iron anything that has come in contact with the scabies. Now, most of the kids who have scabies here at the guest house got them elsewhere. Mtoto is the only one who has recently contracted scabies, and we suspect that he caught it from the scabies carpet.

The guest house has a few different levels of rooms (and, as previously discussed, toilet paper). One of the mid-range rooms is actually a suite, with two bedrooms that share a bathroom and a sitting room that is sporadically air-conditioned (depending on our power source and if the ac unit is working properly). All of the families here tend to hang out in this room, congregating around a patch-work safari rug and curled up on worm eaten leather couches. Here we discuss the many glories of this country, laugh at absurd jokes that might not be funny anywhere but here (Bon Soir Ladies and Barbie Movies), commiserate over our parenting fails, and, on serious note, spend a lot of time discussing how to help kids here and improve conditions. One thing I have noticed, is it is sad how quickly your standards go downhill here, especially for cleanliness. Hence, the scabies carpet.

We suspect that Mtoto caught scabies from playing on the carpet in the hang-out room. All the kids play on it like crazy, and it might not be the cleanest carpet in the world. Or Africa. Ever since we decided that this might be the case, the carpet has been referred to as "scabies carpet." Everyone is being a little more careful on it, or at least we were for a few hours. We even talked about possibilities for cleaning the carpet- could the carpet be ironed? Probably not. Then desperation set in and we let the kids play on it again, scabies and all. "Scabies" is also starting to be applied as an adjective to many things. Scabies couch. Scabies towel. Scabies beach ball.

Speaking of downhill standards, I've decided that Mtoto can sleep in his bed barricaded by pillows and surrounded by mosquito net without me watching him. Sitting upstairs during all of his naps and at night was too isolating. Since he is barely able to roll over (yay for orphanage delays), I figure he will probably not be able to roll off of the bed. Mtoto took his scabies treatment well. Hopefully it worked. I am thankful that his scabies are new, and new scabies don't have the same itch-factor as established scabies, so he has been able to sleep well at night. We wake up a few times for bottles, but I am managing to get enough sleep. It is amazing how quickly you can adapt- now that I'm used to sleeping dripping in sweat with the little dude (who is like a little heater) curled up next to me, it isn't nearly as bad. Although the millipede/centipede/nasty weird bug thingy that I killed last night in our room was pretty gross and I may have spend a few minutes worrying about whether his entire family was going to come after me to avenge his death. Happily, they did not. We survived to live another day, to tell another tale, and to spend more time sitting around the scabies carpet.


Testing Mommy said...

Here in the states, there's a carpet spray that kills scabies. I wish I could send you some! Prayers for you every day.

Jess said...

I have to admit I have gagged, half laughed through this post! Funny how things just have to be dealth with and sometimes not in the way we expected!