Tuesday 11 May 2010


Apologies for the slight hiatus in activity - I was grounded! And no, I hadn't been a naughty school girl.

I had been  on a work visit to another NGO where VSO Volunteer, Susie, has been for the past 2 years. I went to look at some of the work she has done which might be transferrable to my NGO. She is based in Bhawanipantna, a small town in Western Orissa,  1 hour car journey from the nearest rail station. They get lots of power cuts there, and long ones so I had planned to be there across two days hoping for enough power on time to complete the work. On the second day we were contacted by VSO India office alerting us to a security alert they had received because of mounting Naxalite activity in Orissa. The advice was specifically for anyone in the Koraput and Rayagada districts, ie me. The alert was unconfirmed reports of axalites targetting foreingers. Although I suspected this was unlikely and considered it was a bit over the top, their advice was not to travel back that weekend, but to wait and review the situation on Monday. So I was grounded in Bhawanipatna for the weekend.

Up side was Susie and I had lots of time to cover other work related topics and to generally chat - a delight for those of us who live on our own, without much in the way of social contacts, and very little English speakers. Made more so by the current state of the UK following our election which resulted  in a hung parliament and which we were struggling to get news about, until my friend Keith phoned on Sunday night and was able to supply a detailed account of what has been happening. Exciting times in British politics!

The down side was I got bitten to high heaven by red ants! Tiny little blighters, who clearly decided that like their bigger cousins in Costa Rica they like the taste of me. My feet, ankles, lower calves, and arms are covered in red raised pin pricks which are incredibly itchy. Even my face has been got at! The first sign is heat spreading throughout the effective areas, red blotches on the skin settling into pin prick sized bites which you can follow the path of ant attack as they migrated over me, just like a string of Hansel and Gretel marker stones! Luckily Susie had some Antisan cream, and I ended up using most of her supply. At least they calmed down enough not  to have to resort to ice baths! Now I just look like a pin cushion! And am still applying my Benadryl which I of course didn't carry with me on what was supposed to be a short trip!

For those of you who are a stickler for detail I am informed that a red any doesn't bite it stings! Which ever is the correct description, the effect is the same :) not nice. 

Anyway, Monday came and no further alerts meant I could travel back to Rayagada, exchanging the heat of ant bites for the heat of 47degrees C as I stepped off the train at 3PM. I could feel my skins scorch! Luckily an auto driver  was up for breaking his siesta and I was home in no time, for a very hot but still refreshing shower!

1 comment:

  1. Glad it ended up being a false alarm but there is lots of naxalite activity and a real need to take care
    Not spotted any red ants here!