Avoid Open Flame

So, it was a week.

Last Saturday, some colleagues and I went out to the Monrovia Medical Unit (the U.S. Public Health Service-run Ebola Treatment Unit for medical workers) for a four-mile run.  It’s the fourth team to be out here, and they wanted to celebrate before closing down April 30.  A couple of the survivors came to the event.  It was great fun, even if it was 16 times around the quarter-mile perimeter of the facility.

On the way back home (it’s located about an hour away, near the airport), I got a call from my wife to let me know that 1) everyone was safe and 2) there had been an electrical fire.  Our stove shorted out and started spewing smoke and flame while they were cooking breakfast.  I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up fire extinguisher discharge.  That stuff gets everywhere, and it really hard to clean up.  For the record, damp rags work better than soaking wet ones.

Later that night, the generator went wonky, and we had brownouts.  That got taken care of, thankfully, but it took them a while, and to try and keep the security lights going we turned off all air conditioners and anything else.  It got a bit stuffy and muggy.

Monday-Wednesday I was up-country to observe a by-election.  More on that later, but suffice to say that accommodations were…rudimentary.  It was a good trip, but tiring.  Also for my wife, who heroically wrangled four children while I was away.

Wednesday, on the way back, I got a text from my wife that the school principal had called to let us know they found lice on Yakum and Ikinji.  Not too surprising since the school had previously alerted parents that there had been at least one case.  The kicker is that there are no OTC lice treatments or lice combs currently present in Monrovia.  There just isn’t a demand, so the pharmacies and other stores don’t routinely import them.  So, it’s internet to the rescue.  It seems that basically all treatments (home, OTC, or prescription) involve a combination of somehow killing the adults and nymphs and combing out the eggs.  Oil will suffocate the hatched lice, and vinegar loosens the eggs from the hair shaft.  mayonnaise, being a combination of oil and vinegar, does both at once..  We actually didn’t go that route, though.  We tried straight oil on Yakum and rubbing alcohol on Ikinji.  The twins have been getting vinegar rinses, but we may need to up our game for them.  My wife also tried oil, then vinegar.  Both the oil and the alcohol seem to have worked, along with a vinegar rinse.  Combing is tedious, but necessary.  This morning, I also tried aloe vera gel with some rosemary essential oil.  That seems to have put paid to the critters on Yakum and Ikinji, so I tried it on Quarta this evening.  We’ll see if there’s a difference between her and Tertia tomorrow morning.

As a precaution, I doused my head and beard with rubbing alcohol.  I’ve so far avoided the lice, but don’t want to take too many chances.

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