Posted by: michelle g | May 12, 2010

What is it?

Amelia with her green friends

Amelia loves collecting animals and nature

So Amelia had all these bites on her. This is not atypical for a girl who loves to be outside most of the hours in a day. But these bites were a bit funny in that they itched for days and scabbed over. I washed all her bedding and clothes thinking something was in them. Nothing seemed to help. She was getting really irritated by them last Friday. I packed up the backpack and hiked down our hill to catch a local taxi (Jacob was gone with the car). The girls and I piled in and headed off to a local clinic near church.

We arrive to discover a 2-hour wait time. I asked if they could call me when it was about our turn and thankfully they said yes. I put Line on my back and held Amelia’s hand as we walked down the road to a restaurant I know. We waited and waited and waited. The call came and we hiked all the way back to the clinic. After a grand total of 4 hours to do this doctor visit, we find out that it is a bug bite. Well, at least it confirmed what I knew and he told me to buy her a new bed. He thought it might be bed bugs.

I did some research online and decided to put all her bedding in boiling water to kill any critters. We dismantled the bed, examined the mattress and bleached everything down. There was no sign of foul play from nasty biters. Along with the bedding, we washed her mosquito net. I went to put it back up and I saw many little bugs in the corners. How did the bugs get inside it? Jacob had mentioned a while back that her chameleons might carry some bugs on them from outdoors. I didn’t think this was it because they don’t have fur, just skin. But it makes the most sense. She is the only one who takes those chameleons around everywhere: supermarkets, people’s homes, in the car, in the house and ON her mosquito netting sometimes all day long.

Why does she like them so much? Well, they are super calm. They are happy to be held or crawl up your shirt and ride on you all day. They are a huge topic of conversation because Ugandans are deathly afraid of chameleons as they believe them to be dangerous. It is quite an attention-getter to see a little foreign girl carrying it around as a pet. She holds them up to the workers at the supermarket and they are so amazed–often she gets free biscuits.

To close this out, we report a successful completion to Amelia’s bug drama. The boiling water did the trick and the new rule is: no more chameleons in the house!

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