Bed Bugs

There are few rules to living in Africa.

Rule 1: Always travel with toilet paper or live to go without if the situation arises.

Rule 2: Do not drink anything that you are not entirely sure where it came from.

Rule 3: Do not turn your flashlight on in the middle of the night. You do not want to see what is crawling around.

A few weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night to intense itching on my hands. Then feet. Then arms. I could feel raised bumps and that burning sensation would not go away no matter how much I ran my fingernails across it.

The next night the same thing. And the next night. I was losing sleep and eventually I had to admit it: there was something sleeping with me.

First, I tried laying my mattress in the sun to fry the suckers to death. That didn’t work. Then I sprayed DOOM, an over-the-counter anti-bugger, and washed my sheets and blankets (rather I paid someone to wash them). That worked for about a night and the bugs came back in full force. I flew up the white flag and called Peace Corps. I needed the big guns.

I suspected bed bugs but wasn’t entirely sure. I asked others who had these creepy critters before and they described bites of three in succession. Mine weren’t that specific. I could feel the bites at night as I clawed at them but they were gone the next morning. Initially, I thought maybe it was fleas because a few of my family’s cats like to wonder into my house, but the DOOM should kill them. Then I feared a small village of spiders waiting for my to fall asleep so they could feast on my flesh.

A Peace Corps staff member and hired exterminator pulled into my school this morning to take me to my house. The staff member went through the house and asked a few questions about the bugs. He started inspecting my mattress and there he found a small, flat maroon insect: bed bugs.

The exterminator began preparing the bug poison and the staff member instructed to cover my dishes, put my contacts case and tooth brush in a plastic bag and hide all food. This was a serious war. We stepped out and the fumigator did his magic.

After he brought me into the house, which smelled liked chemicals, and showed me a few of the dead bugs walking. He pointed to how fat there were; fat from my blood.

They gave me a few instructions – remove mattress and bedding in two hours and let dry so you can sleep and let the house air for four hours – and were on there way. I probably have to rewash my blankets (pay someone to rewash them) and some of my clothes and wipe things down, a noticeable interruption to my afternoon naps, and my host mother keeps, jokingly, complaining about the smell but I know it will mean a sound night’s sleep. Also, the bug death trap is supposed to reduce flies which is a good thing since I sleep 20 feet from a full-fledge farm.

The lesson that I take away from bed bugs, and there is always a lesson in my blog posts, is sometimes I have to go through a bit of hassle to get out of discomfort. Far too many times, I just live with broken, irritating things because it is too much of pain to correct the issue. I went well into winter before I finally ponied up to pay for a broken car window because blasting the heat worked just as well.

I knew that calling PC meant a full-on fumigation that would be troublesome, but it is not the end of the world. I refused to worry about this issue and trust a solution would come. It did and I will have less red bites in the morning.

You may be reading this and thinking, “Ew, bed bugs.” I think, “Meh.” Because I am pretty B.A. and that is just the stuff we put up with in The Wild. (Note: I do not live in ‘The Wild’ rather a very pleasant rural village.) This will be a fun story to impress, or not, people back home.

For now, so long blood suckas.

8 thoughts on “Bed Bugs

  1. Hi, my name is Richard Foote and I am a student at The Right Turn. I wouldn’t turn my flashlight on at night if there were wild animals around me everynight. I liked this post because my mom put up with bed bugs to they are hard to get rid of if you dont want to throw the couch or bed out lol. What suprised me is that you went through all that to get rid of those blood suckas lol. What sounded crazy is that you have to carry toilet paper everywhere you go and make sure you have good water to drink. So how is it living in a different country is it easy to get the hang of everything and do things the way they do? Well have a good day I got to go.

    • Hi, Richard! The bed bugs were awful but they are now gone. I am sure that was hard for your mother as they are no fun at all. There are a lot of things that I have had to adjust to living in the Third World. There are lots of long, crowded bus rides and I can only charge my phone at certain times, but I’ve learned to adapt and make the most of it. Life is simpler here and you can’t get as much as you can in America but it is still a great place to live. Thanks for the message!

  2. Hello, my name is Fon Byington i am also with The Right Turn. i also had to deal with the bed bugs living in the city of iowa, rubbing alcohol keeps them away also because more than likely they will come back! scary i know. It sounds very interesting living in another country!

    • Hi, Fon! Thanks for the tip. I will use that if they come back, but I have been lucky so far. Thanks for the message and good luck with your studies!

  3. hello, my name is Tivona Quigley and I am a student at The Right Turn. I liked how you had the rules of living there. How you dealed with them an how they got rid of the bed bugs. I’m sure some people can relate to your story an how annoying an how hard it can be to get rid of the bed bugs. As I was reading it an how you were describing how they bothered you it kind of grossed me out i couldn’t imagine what it’s like to have them.

    • Hi, Tivona! Sorry to gross you out, but they are not fun! They are all gone now and I can sleep soundly. Thanks for the message!

  4. Hi, my name is rider sheard i am a student at The Right Turn.i didnt think this this was that gross! I work at steamboats and always wondering what im dealing with haha! but good blog!

    • Hi, Rider! Bed bugs are really gross. Good thing you can’t see what is under the water :) Thanks for the message and good luck with your studies!

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