Friday, March 7, 2008

How would you get rid of lice?

Working with street children, seeing lice is not something that is uncommon to me. Having been nominated the children’s center barber, many times, I have attempted to attack this problem with my trusty blades…I mean scissors (and the end result is usually a totally butchered hair cut!) I have spent hours upon hours, laboring to rid friends’ hair strand by strand to terminate every single nit and louse. It’s a horrible, disgusting bug, and it’s not easy to get rid of! I’ve seen many “lice killing” solutions, from an electric shocking comb to simply soaking hair in oil or mayonnaise over night. But one solution I would have NEVER thought of was burning the lice out!!

Well, each spring, on the last day of February (for the Orthodox…the Muslims celebrate later in March) Albanians gather to celebrate the coming spring. Together, they build bon fires in the middle of the road, with scraps of wood they’ve been saving through the winter. As the fire builds bigger and brighter, children and adults attempt jumping through the “perilous” flames, believing that it will burn all of the icky things that have collected on them during the winter. (translation of “icky things”…fleas, lice etc.) Parents even swing their small children through the flames! In reality, seeing that most Albanians are very clean people and NOT covered in bugs, this tradition appeared to me as more of an act to seek good luck and fortune. At any rate, the end result for the kids at the center was singed lashes, burnt hair...and unfortunatey...lice.

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