Friday, January 8, 2010

Initial Fears and Current Responses

1) Air-Conditioning and Cold Showers: There's no real practical way of coping with the heat other than sweating continuously and being perpetually covered in a thick film of sweat. As such, cold showers are not the only available shower temperature, but very much anticipated under the hot equatorial sun.

2) The Sun: Fearing the deleterious effects of prolonged exposure to the sun, I vowed to protect my skin lest I return to the US in 2 years looking 20 years my senior. I've been applying sunscreen religiously and walking around under a large umbrella. It is important to note that Samoans do not typically carry umbrellas around. Thus, if being light-skinned and Chinese was not enough to draw attention, a light-skinned Chinese female of incredible small stature wielding a large umbrella that can easily accomodate 5 people surely made me a sight to behold.

3) Mosquitos: I haven't yet coped with this problem. I still loath them with every fiber of my pathetic being. On average, I get bitten 20 times a day and I am willing to bet that before the completion of my service I will contract dengue fever.

4) The Flies: They are everywhere. Aside from their ostensible roles as decomposers in the apparently "efficient" ecosystem process, I could live a day without flies. Moreover, they do exceptionally well to spread disease. This fact comforts me every time I see 3 flies on my morning toast, my feet, and pretty much everything that I've come in contact with.

5) Cockroaches: Every time I see a cockroach, I would seethe, "I despise you." You can sometimes find my silently fleeing from the outhouse trying to be as descreet and cool as possible. Relative to their American counterparts, cockroaches here are quite large, and when squashed they ooze a green goo, which I was told was made up of "cockroach babies." What can I say except that they are everywhere and I can't turn a corner without meeting one. In fact, the other day one crawled into my bed and from the other side of the mosquito net I instinctively squashed the damned thing with my bare hands. I subsequently proceeded to sanitize every surface area of my body.

6) The Ants: Dear Lord, why the ants? If you have food in your room, they'll find it. If you have food in a semi-air-tight container, they'll find it. If you have food suspended in the air, they'll find it. If you have cotton underwear, they'll find it. If you have foam pillows, they'll find it. Get the point?

7) Giant centipedes: I shit myself every time I see one.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, sounds like a real experience! I met someone who once told me that after a bajillion mosquito bites, you'll stop reacting to the poison. I guess that would still mean they could inject malaria or whatever in you, but at least you won't be itchy. I don't know if that is really true though.

    So you sleep under a net, I guess. An insecticide treated net or just a net? What does it look like?

    What are your living quarters like??

    Abby :)