A Reflection of My Life after living in Uganda as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Walk of Shame

The tin roof on my house does not completely meet my brick walls in my bedroom. So, it was only inevitable that one day I would receive bats. That day has come. My bedroom is now a bat colony at night. They swoop down, make really loud squeaky noises and defecate and urinate all over my house. It is gross and even beyond that, I have always feared bats so this is a terrifying experience.

The first night this happened I lay with a sheet over my head wide awake the whole night. Immediately the next morning, I went to Sister Carol (she’s in charge of the school I live at) and told her about this problem asking her what we can do about it. She said she would look into it. Nothing happens right away here so I went on to talk to other teachers and find what they do to keep the bats away. I can’t be the only one who has this problem. As it turns out, my whole block of houses (there are 4 of us on my block) have bat problems. Rose suggested we send some students out into the bush to collect thorns to put in the openings. Betty wants to have our houses sprayed with chemicals. I just want them gone.

That second night, I went to dinner at the convent and when the nuns asked me how I was I said in true Ugandan fashion, “I’m not all that well.” They rushed with their concerns and asked what were my troubles. After hearing about my fear of bats they laughed hysterically, largely because this is just a problem you always live with, and then told me I should move back to the convent, where I lived before getting my own house.

I have survived the armies of gecko’s, spiders and ants that live in my house. I deal with the cockroaches that inhabit my latrine. And, I let the sparrows keep their nests in my bathing house. I cannot handle the colony of bats that think they have found a new home. So, I have moved back into my old room in the convent at night. Each night I make the journey across campus with my pillow, sleeping bag and toothbrush. Each morning I make the journey back across campus in my pajamas, wearing my glasses, and greeting the students who are busy doing morning chores. I receive many, “Amanda, why do you sleep there now.” To which I reply, “It is because I fear the bats in my house.” And they say, “You fear your house?” I affirm this question and am greeting with laughter and shots throughout campus, “Amanda, she fears her house. She fears the bats.” Oh, the walk of shame each morning.

And so, it has been a week since I moved back to the convent and I am still waiting for something to happen. Sister Carol tells me she has requested someone from town come and spray our houses but as of yet, they have not come.

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