I will leave much of this story to your imaginations, but the little ones exited, alive and dead and dying, and it wasn't pretty. We'll call it a "Baker's dozen." Suffice it to say, it's not an experience I'd like to repeat!
But after talking with people in my neighborhood -- yes, everyone knows now that I had worms! -- I began to wonder why we live in a world where so many people are exposed to such unpleasantries. Yes, there are parasites worse than roundworms. And if you're hearty enough, the worms won't kill you. But it makes me think about all the kids in my neighborhood who get them regularly, mostly because they don't have clean water to drink and because the lack of toilets in their huts makes sanitary conditions in their immediate environment deteriorate quite rapidly.
Think about how often we take clean water for granted. I buy bottled water -- a luxury people here can't afford. Most people in my neighborhood pump water from a "fresh water deep well" but the water is contaminated with all sorts of parasites and pollutants. And though they are told to boil water before they drink it, often people won't take the time to do that. Mostly it's because they lack the education of why it is important to do so. Or maybe it's just not a priority as they try to scrape together a few pesos for the food that day.
Whatever the case, it does make you wonder: Why do we live in a world where we allow this to happen? Especially to kids. It is heartbreaking to see the poorest little kids in my neighborhood with skinny arms and legs and big bellies full of worms. They are malnourished from the infestation and usually get dewormed only when the public health nurse delivers deworming pills house to house -- usually twice a year.
I know this question is a big one and a bit esoteric for those of us who are just living our daily lives, but Fred and his friends sure brought it home.