Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Do You Know What’s Living in Your Shower Drain?

*Warning* Do not read this post if you have an irrational fear of cockroaches and/or things that crawl out of shower drains

First, some good news: we have a new volunteer with us!  After 2 months of just me, Katie, and Clara, Elena from Romania has joined.  Elena has lived in Rome the past 11 years and is a dental hygienist.  She arrived on Monday with Katie and me (we were returning from our vacation in Kampala, more to follow on that).  She will be here for 3 months and then join a group of dentists volunteering in Uganda in August.  We are very excited to have a new person here with us.

Now, when a new volunteer comes, we usually clean their room before they arrive to make them feel welcome.  We decided to give Elena Matteo’s old room, which no one had really been in since Matteo left in mid-February.  So, last week, I decided to start the clean-up.  Unfortunately, the windows had been left open, so the room was covered in a thick film of dirt and grit.  After sweeping about 5 times it was nearly clean so I turned my attention to the bathroom.  In retrospect, I should have just stopped with the sweeping and let someone else take on the bathroom…but oh well.

On entering the bathroom, I noticed immediately an abundance of cockroach corpses in the shower- 15 to be exact.  Plus 4 in the sink.  I thought it was gross, but they were dead, so it could be worse.  Well, I went to sweep them out and turns out a couple were still kicking, but I quickly disposed of them.  With all the corpses out of the way in the shower, I thought it might be a good idea to run the water from the shower faucet to wash away all the cockroach limbs and general grime.  So I opened the tap and let it run for a minute.  Then, to my utter horror, I watched as 1…2…3…8 cockroaches popped out of the shower drain!  EIGHT!!!!  The first two weren't so bad, but then, they just kept coming!!  All I could do was stand and watching in jaw dropping, stomach turning, horror as Matteo’s bathroom turned into a scene from a horror movie.  I think I stood frozen for a good 5 minutes as I watched the cockroaches scrambling to get out of the shower.  I mean, I’ve had experience with things crawling out of my shower drain before (see my previous post on the resuscitated spider), but eight cockroaches popping out after sweeping away 15 was just a bit much for me.  I had brought a bottle of bleach with me to clean, so I dumped about half of it all over the shower and all the cockroaches were belly up (literally) a few minutes later.  I swept them outside, then locked the door and let Clara do the rest of the cleaning. 

And for all those of you who wonder how cockroaches enter the house…VERY big cockroaches can pop out of very small holes…I’ve seen it.