Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Worms – Some food for thought?

I used to make my neighbour at my cottage put the worms on the hooks when we went fishing because I couldn’t stand the thought of piercing them with the fishing rod’s hook. The older boy did take some sort of sick pleasure in cutting the worms up, which I found revolting.

And now, who’d have thought, I’m getting a sick pleasure in worms here at the crèche. Sorry for the video, it can be a little much for those with a weak stomach.

When the girls couldn’t figure out what was wrong with a little boy’s foot at Ndabenhle crèche last week I knew immediately what it was from my visit here last year.

Worms. Children all over Africa get them apparently. In Kenya they call them “jiggers”, here it’s “sandworm.”

In reality, the worms come from a fly which lands on the children and lays its eggs underneath their skin. I’m told the lack of hygiene is the main cause of the fly laying its eggs (I researched, since a volunteer got them last year and obviously I’m constantly barefoot so I was slightly worried). So to anyone that is concerned, I do wash my feet at least twice a day here.

When the eggs hatch, the worms are what are seen underneath the skin of the children. This little boy had a long, curling worm right at the bottom of his foot, and a few on his toes.
So three of us went to work on him in the Combi backseat, laying the seats out like our own private examination table. While Katie pricked the worm to let all the juices flow out of his foot,

Christine and I soaked bandages in a special solution that will dissolve the worm.

Distracting him with some toys, the little boy didn’t even cry! He was so brave and everyone was so proud of him.

Despite some episodes of worms like this one, the kids here are very much the same as any kid back home.

I wanted to show everyone how Africa is not like they see on TV, or even in the classroom. The continent (surprise, it’s NOT a country), is so diverse and the people are so intriguing. I never feel uncomfortable or in danger and I am constantly surrounded by beautiful landscape with an intriguing history.

People are always more than happy to answer my million and one questions that I have for them and for the most part they are in a constant state of pleasure, which they can derive from the smallest things, like a new pair of shoes or a lolly pop.

The children don’t have swollen bellies here, nor do they always have flies attacking their faces. They play and learn and laugh like you and I did when we were kids.

That’s the wonderful thing about children – they don’t know the HIV prevalence rate of their country or their village. They don’t know their life expectancy or their increased chance of getting raped or murdered because of where they were born. They don’t even cry when you’re poking them with a needle.

They just live each day happily, with a smile on their faces. And they dance whenever music is played.

Don’t you think we can learn a thing or two from them?

Peace,
A

video

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