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Sunday, 26 June 2011


Lice.  Those abominable blood sucking creepy-crawlies nestling happily & making their home in their host's hair. The really annoying thing is Lice are head-over-heels in love with clean hair and a virgin scalp, so they'll migrate from their existing hosts to a clean head of hair as soon as they can put in a change of address!

When I was 11 or 12, we had a house-girl who came with some extra 'hair-guests' (yup, her hair was extra-crunchy! LOL.) My younger brother and I promptly caught em off her! As a typical middle-class child, I had never had or been near lice before so I had no idea why I was suddenly scratching my head vigorously. But after catching hold of a couple of strange lil blood-engorged beings on my scalp, I told my mom. BIG MISTAKE!!

4 hours of unimaginable torture soon followed.

A mixture of moth balls/camphor was added to palm oil. I watched with wondrous eyes and thought ok, the cure didn't seem to be too bad - this red-orange mixture was then spread liberally over my scalp & hair. OMG! Words cannot adequately describe the pain - I was convinced my scalp had caught fire! Till today my body still jerks at the memory. Death would have been a relief from the torment!

So a few weeks later, when I found my scalp itching again, I decided to spare my mom the pesky details of 'The return of the Mack Lice' -  NOTHING was going to make me undergo that scalp-burning experience again! Being very resourceful & independent, I spent the next week wondering how to resolve the itchy-scalp issue myself - liberal applications of undiluted shampoo were no good, but then one night as I carried out the familiar-to-every-Nigerian-child-ritual-of-spraying-the-bedrooms-at night-with-insecticide to kill off mosquitoes, a light-bulb went off  (& not because there was a power-failure). FLIT! (The brand name of the insecticide in my hand). Very logically, I reasoned that if Flit killed mosquitoes, then it should kill lice too innit??? Simplez!

It was the summer holidays so I put my extermination plan into action. I convinced my mom I wanted to keep my hair in an afro for the holidays (the usual cornrows would not have helped the death-and-eviction-of-lice-by-chemical-spray plans) and as soon as she & my dad left for work, I would whip out the Flit and douse my head liberally. This cure was carried out 2 times a day. I must say, it was very sooooooothing & cool on my scalp. ;D

Of course my poor parents were blissfully unaware of their daughter's new habit of pumping dangerous chemicals directly unto her scalp.

Despite the deadly fumes I must clearly have been imbibing, my DIY-please-dont-ever-try-this-at-home-yourself cure was a sure-fire winner. Every night after the last top-up spray dosage, I combed my hair out and watched with satisfaction as dozens of dead lice came tumbling out. But I kept the routine going for weeks as I wanted to make sure any hidden hatching eggs (yuck!) were also terminated soon as they opened their beady lil blood-sucking parasitic eyes!

The cure worked but till today I still get a minor twinge of trepidation if my scalp itches even for a brief second.

P.S Hmmm, I wonder now how many chemicals trickled through to the brain cells below! LOL

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