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Insect Killer

When we get new girls at Poppys House, they often come very dirty and uncared for. More specifically, they come with lice. Please bear with me, I promise I’m not writing this story just to make people start scratching their heads.

Back when I was a more naïve volunteer, I didn’t put the pieces together that when a new girl arrived, we should check for lice. As you probably guessed, not only did I end up with lice within a few days, but so did the majority of the other girls. It wasn’t pretty.

We thought that making a train of girls combing at each others’ hair would do the trick, but the lice were growing faster than our handiwork. We had to come up with an alternative.

That alternative, so surprising to me that I couldn’t help but laugh, was the Peruvian equivalent of raid insect killer. Looking back on it, I don’t think I was laughing just for the craziness of it all, but also for the rising fear that I was going to end up bald by the end of the day. But we didn’t just spray it on and call it good. We sprayed the raid (and for the record it was not a small amount), poured a cooking oil that I had never seen before, covered our hair with bags, and stood out in the sun to let our scalps and the lice bake nice and toasty.

Was it an ideal situation? No. Was it a very entertaining and bonding change of routine? Yes. We were laughing at how ridiculous we all looked with bags on our heads and we took turns spraying the raid. We expressed our concerns that our ears were tingling and ran to our showers when the time was up. Most importantly, the ritual worked and I am not bald. All of us were lice-free, that is, until another girl showed up…

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