My life in Haiti: Wherein I spend a night sleeping with maggots.


03/05/2011 by etiennefish

While I’m sure you’d all be very excited to read my originally planned post, where I elaborate on how I’ve recently managed to have a social life in my non-work hours that goes beyond the come home, watch a film and read a book excitement of previous weeks/months, and sometimes even crosses into the thrilling realm of binge-drinking, beach going, and dance amazingness, I’m pretty sure you’d rather hear about the fact that Sunday night I slept with worms. Literally. And by worms I mean maggots. Yes.

No. I’m not joking about this.

And yes, I don’t know if I’ve ever been more disgusted about something in my life. FACT.

So basically, earlier in the weekend, while, ahem, lazing around on the sofa being absolutely worthless, I pointed out one or two caterpillar-ish worm looking things to The Housemate. I suppose that I just assumed they were yet another typical form of Haitian wildlife intent upon invading my happy home. I wasn’t worried, and I let the squirmy things continue on their merry trek across the floor, promptly forgetting about their existence.

Then on Sunday night, we went out to see this famous Haitian band called Tropicana (more on that in another post). By the time we got home, I was pretty exhausted, and knew I had an early day on Monday. As I prepared to fall face first into bed, however, I noticed another little wormy thing inching it’s way across my bed. I didn’t find this a huge deal, but I also wasn’t totally into sharing my already tiny sleeping space, so I oh so carefully picked him up with tweezers and flung him over the balcony. I looked around, didn’t notice any other creatures, so I passed out without a further thought.

Monday morning, I woke up, and blurrily stumbled to the shower without incident.

Clean, dressed, and considerably more bright-eyed (although more than a short distance away from bushy-tailed), I started to pick up my room a bit (you know, so our cleaner wouldn’t have to cos I’m ridiculous like that), and upon grabbing my plane-neck-pillow thing (which I often use to prop my balcony shutters open with), I found a horrifying little surprise waiting underneath it- a massive writhing nest of disgusting worm thingys (which is, of course, the technical term). There may have been a large sigh. Typical. Then, I started to look around me, and noticed that a good portion of the floor was also covered with these same worm things. I felt my stomach sinking, knowing what was going to come next. Steeling myself for the worst, I looked down at the sheet on my bed.

After choking back down the previous night’s dinner, I proceeded to pick up the sheet, and look underneath it. Awesome. Yep, sure enough, I’d been sleeping, wrapped up all snug and tight, in a bed full of maggots. It was definitely a shining moment in my own personal history, let me tell you.

Then, as I didn’t know exactly what one is supposed to do in a situation such as this (I mean, no one gave me any ‘when you’re sleeping with maggots in Haiti’ training or anything), I delicately put the sheet back on the bed, walked out of the room, and went to stand in the lounge. And then I walked back in and checked under the sheet again. You know, so I could stare at the creepy crawlies for a second time, just in case I was imagining things. And then I walked back out. It was after a few such repetitions that I found myself standing for about 5 minutes, motionless, in the middle of the apartment, that I realised that there wasn’t exactly a best-case response to this situation.

So when considerable indecision brought on, no doubt, by a significant lack of caffeination in the form of strong coffee, led me to stand in front of The Housemate’s door, I am not ashamed to say that I managed a fair impersonation of a giant baby, and I calmly demanded that he deal with the ‘worm situation. Immediately.’

And so, after a short conversation in which I probably became immediately frustrated that he didn’t instinctively understand what the hell I was talking about, he valiantly came to my aid, clad only in boxer briefs and armed with a broom. Thus The Housemate bravely fought off the disgusting intruders. I may even have helped a little (and yes, by help, I mean I pointed out the ones that he missed).

This is when, however, I learned where they were coming from. They were dripping (please take that as literally as it sounds) from the ceiling and onto my bed. I’m not going to lie, this was sort of the most disgust-inducing moment ever. Fact.

Actually, I was thinking about it later, it is extremely lucky that I didn’t (as I sometimes do) decide to sleep in the opposite direction that night. For if I had, not only would I have been sleeping and rolling around in maggots (yummy), but I probably would have been eating them as well. Not that it really matters, though. With my luck, I’m probably already dying of some hideous maggot disease as I type this. Wonderful.

Anyway, unsurprisingly I spent absolutely the entire day Monday fixated on my roll in the hay with these delightful new friends. And I still can’t really stop shuddering. At lunch we went back to the flat, and the room had been disinfected, but they were still dropping from the ceiling in a never-ending wave (and I mean, who else has luck like this? Seriously). Anyway, we informed the landlords, and they had someone go check it out.

So of course, an investigation yielded the happy knowledge that a rat had crawled into the space between the roof and ceiling and subsequently died. And the maggots were slipping through the cracks onto yours truly. Oh yes, how I love my life.

But, at least the rat has now been removed and everything has been thoroughly cleaned/chloroxed within an inch of its life. However, I’m still planning on sleeping in the lounge for the time being.

I cannot wait until we move apartments.

2 thoughts on “My life in Haiti: Wherein I spend a night sleeping with maggots.

  1. katie boula says:

    Hey Emily (us old farts will always call you by your childhood name)-

    The maggot thing sounded ABSOLUTELY disgusting, but as Phil noted, it did provide you with some good material for your blog!
    Hope you are well and you continue to find excellent adventures while you do good things.
    We’ll look forward to more notes from the front lines-
    Singing Katie and fam.

    • etiennefish says:

      Hi! So I suppose you can call you by my childhood name if I still get to call you Singing Katie. The maggots were definitely the most disgusting moment I had in Haiti, and something I’m hoping not to repeat here in the DRC… Its nice to hear from you guys, glad to hear you’ve found the blog, and hope everything is going great on your side of the world!

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May 2011
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