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Just Another Typical Day in the Peace Corps
February 24, 2012, 10:26 pm
Filed under: Paraguay

Sometimes these stories are just too good not to share.

Ahhh, the reward of a hard day’s work. After inter-facing with the government in Caazapá all morning to discuss and plan teaching a business course to two high schools and a university, doing prep work in the afternoon for our sector’s business camp in July, a few hours of studying for the GMAT (I won the Manhattan Social Venture Scholars Program, which I just started last Monday!), cooking, cleaning, chatting away with neighbors, and running, I was finally ready for a good cold shower and a little reading before bed. I decided to treat myself to a face mask while I finished my last GMAT drill questions, and so as my face hardened into a white shell I stripped off my gym clothes in the second bedroom of my house. I  happened to glance down at my two spare mattresses (I use the term ‘mattress’ lightly here); a gift from fellow Peace Corps Volunteers who live nearby, I use them both for guests, and also as a temporary wardrobe where I roll up and place all of my clothes

What are those little black things? I mused, as I walked into the bathroom to turn on the water. Something didn’t seem right about that. I went back into the bedroom for a closer look.

ANTS! SWARMS OF ANTS! We’re talking thousands, people. Ants swarming up and down all of my clothes, around the seams of my mattress, and on the floor. I pulled back my mattresses in disgust to discover that hiding behind them was an ANT HILL, cleverly hidden from plain site. As I glanced down at an ant attacking my foot, a sharp pain confirmed to me that these weren’t nice little black ants- no, these were nasty biting ones.

As a giant welt on my ankle formed and the most maddening stinging began (I don’t care what anyone says- I will take a mosquito bite over an ant bite any day), I felt like a lost lunatic. I literally had no idea what to do in this situation; all I knew was that I had to do something fast. It was all so overwhelming; I was paralyzed.

My immediate thought process was probably not the best of ideas, but this is what followed:
1) I grabbed a towel and threw it around myself.
2) I snatched two huge buckets, ruthlessly killing a baby tarantula lingering in one of them (this is the only time I didn’t care- all that went through my mind was I don’t have time for YOU right now!), and ran to the sink, filling them full of water.
3) I sprinted back into the room and started grabbing my clothes, dunking them into the buckets and swishing them around, trying to kill the ants.
4) I repeated this for some time in a feverish state as the ants on the mattress swarmed around in angry figure eights. After all of the clothes had been dunked into my buckets, I ran into the kitchen (towel still haphazardly draped around myself, windows open to the entire city of Caazapá) and grabbed my nearest and dearest friend, ‘Matiris.’ Matiris is a special powder used to kill ants, and we’ve become incredibly close over the past few months while ants have repeatedly tried and failed to build ant hills right outside my front door. If you sprinkle the powder- wait, maybe I’m saying this too lightly- if you SATURATE the powder over these ants, they’ll be dead within minutes.
5) Regardless that this powder has to be some crazy kind of poison (I mean, it kills ants in a matter of minutes), I started scattering it all across my mattress, paying special attention to the ant hill on my floor and praying that this would make them disappear.
6) In the meantime, I did a tap dance routine across the room that would make Fred Astaire jealous, trying to squash every last ant I could find.

It’s 20 minutes later. What does my house now resemble?
– Two buckets full of water with the majority of my soaking wet clothes in them.
– A sopping wet and muddy floor from my over-zealous clothes-swishing and prancing.
– Two mattresses full of white powder, thousands of dead ants, and a sickening smell in the air that makes you a little nauseous.

So just remember this folks: while you tuck into bed tonight in your comfy, air-conditioned and fully insulated houses, I hope you think of me, dressed in nothing but a towel and a ridiculous face mask, feverishly washing angry ants out of my clothing.

This is the real Peace Corps, folks. And yes… even I have to admit- it is hilarious.



1 Comment so far
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Wow, quick thinking Brit!!! Maybe a ceremonial burning of the mattreses?

Comment by Mama




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