Africa: Why I’ll be ironing my underwear.

Today we had a conference call with Katie who I’ve mentioned several times, and almost everyone who is going on the trip.  There were lots of conversations about all kinds of things – our volunteer placements, orientation and language, and doing laundry.

During the laundry discussion, Katie casually mentions that we’ll want to iron everything that we wash, including our underwear.  At this point I’m on the phone, with the mute button pressed, dealing with a student who has a question about his paper (it was an informal class session today).  And I hear this statement about ironing our skivvies.

Why would we iron our underwear, along with every other article of clothing?  Tumbu flies.  (Yes, I’m a little bit itchy as I type this).

Tumbu flies are these little guys who lay eggs on cloth – clothing, towels, bed linens, etc.  As soon as this fabric comes into contact with skin – they get down to business burrowing inside it, and the party begins.  At least for the fly larvae.  You may have seen some of the  botfly videos on you tube (that I will let you find on your own if you want to be grossed out).  There’s some tumbu fly videos out there too.  Watch at your own risk.  (Mom, this means you – don’t watch it.)

This will give me something to obsess about  do when I’m getting over my jet lag and getting settled in.  Apparently I’ll be ironing like I have obsessive and/or compulsive disorder.  And maybe I should go buy a travel iron.



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