rambo

3 12 2008

I’ve either done something great or monumentally bad. A few weeks ago, a scorpion stung a staigaire at her homestay. Consequently, the day of the incident, PC issued all 30+ of us in 4 different villages RAMBO, African spray insecticide and bug powder supreme. Routinely on Sundays or Saturdays while doing laundry and sweeping with my handy-dandy, millet stalk broom, I’ll spray and powder my room and vacate after for the prescribed 20-30 minutes. The other night, one of my host sisters entered my room asking to borrow said bug spray. I naturally assume its for her house and go into a desperate attempt in my novice-high French (as confirmed in last week’s language program test) to stress that after using the spray…..you must get out. I later hear someone outside spraying in short little bursts so small that I doubt anything is actually coming out of the can. Assessing that outside bugs must be the problem, I leave my room thinking I’ll tell whoever is spraying to HOLD down the nozzle while spraying INSIDE, meanwhile I grab my bug powder to line their outside doors and windows (windows are often metal slats, not screens or glass that would keep bugs out). On my way to track down just where the spray is being “detonated” in the courtyard, I come across Amena, my host sister who is my first ally in any family translating affair. I give Amena the bug powder and stress that the kids must know not to play with this white powder because it is toxic. Half way into my charades, Amena yells something in Moore, and all of a sudden I see the bug spray culprit who just happens to be my favorite older sister— permanently smiling and always managing a deep chuckle that shakes her entire round frame. As she rounds the corner, I see that as always, a slew of children are in tote. I immediately am worried because the kids shouldn’t be around when insecticide is being sprayed…AND did I mention my favorite older sister speaks nothing but Moore solidifying that yes, indeed, this too shall be some interesting play on “French attempt 1, French with English attempt 2, response of straining eyes and tilted heads, and then yepppp, the clincher…that chuckle with a LAFI! (Moore for good/okay/going well).” Next, Amena gives the bug powder to the older sister as I try to explain the differences between the spray and powder and their equal harm around kids. I’m getting somewhere by asking what type of bugs are the bother (gotta be ants, gotta be ants) when all of a sudden I see older sister spraying RAMBO supreme directly onto one of the children’s heads. Oh my god. It’s head lice. Of course the problem wasn’t actual insects. This is Burkina where having a bat in your house is considered good luck and fried caterpillars are a delicacy. Oh no, if allowing bug spray to burn someone’s head wasn’t enough, big sister is now actually massaging RAMBO powder into the kids’ scalps. Help. This can’t be good. Immediately, an image pops up in my head of the kids eating their bouille the next day while toxic, white powder falls from their heads into their bowl looking seemingly innocent like sugar frosting. Yowtch. I manage to swipe both RAMBOs away and come back with a simple sache filled with ¼ chlorine, ¾ water. I tell older sister to put this on the scalp. The next day I return home to find a king’s feast waiting for me. My host family is responsible for my breakfast and dinner. Everyday, breakfast is two bananas and a baguette and dinner of spaghetti, rice and a sauce, or vegetables and fruit. This meal has a baguette, two bananas, rice and peanut sauce, spaghetti AND poisson. Though I still don’t know what’s the reasoning of this (could have been the recent cross cultural host only meeting where families shared what stagaires like to eat, could have been some awkward encounter of which my host dad felt bad and I don’t even remember transpiring because for me, the disaccorded discourse is daily) I’m hoping that the real reason is when I asked Amena “has the kid’s head lice improved,” she responded….”yes, good medicine.” Wow. Ive either found a new n’ice or karma just handed me an early Christmas. Regardless, the kids are now lice free and I can sleep a bit more easily.

my host mother with her two kids

my host mother with her two kids

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2 responses

4 12 2008
Your mommie

Sweetie – what a story!!! Glad about your fish (protein) for dinner, wouldn’t it be nice to know why you were served such a rarity??? Love and miss you every day – xoxoxoxmom

4 12 2008
Kira

That is so funny! Hopefully nothing weird happens to the kid who got a dose of RAMBO!! Just got your letters, and am sending one out this weekend! Love your banana butt!!

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