January 6, 2010

When Soraya fell into a sewer hole

The first time I traveled to Nigeria, when I was still a teenager, the one thing that I could not get over were the open sewers. I had a great fear of falling into one. My friend and I use to say, half-jokingly, that if we ever were to fall in that we would not want to be removed. Falling into a sewer seemed like the worst thing imaginable. Now that I have seen a few more things in life, I probably would want to be rescued from a sewer. However, I still find open sewers particularly repulsive.

Fortunately, my nine-year-old daughter, Soraya, does not share my same fear of sewers, as she fell into one today. We were leaving Boca Chica beach after a lovely day of sun, sand, and surf, and were waiting for the bus to take us back to Santo Domingo. The place where we were waiting was a sort of concrete island in the middle of the street. My husband, Nando, and I were doing our best to keep an eye on our three kids and our several beach bags. All of a sudden I hear a scream and turned around to see Soraya falling into a round hole.

I rushed over and grabbed her arm. A swarm of mosquitoes arose from the hole, and I began to scream as well. With the help of Nando and another bystander, we pulled Soraya out of the sewer hole.

It was pretty disgusting. But, miraculously, Soraya managed to catch herself on the two sides of the sewer hole, and avoided falling all of the way in. She was wet with disgusting water up to her waist, and scraped her underarm, but besides that, was fine.

What had happened is that the cover for the sewer hole was a big trunk. And, Soraya decided to stand on the trunk. When she did that, the trunk rolled over and she fell in. Thank goodness we were all right there!

We took her back to the beach, and got some water and soap and cleaned her legs thoroughly. Luckily, I had an extra pair of shorts.

Soraya was initially scared, but also found the whole incident amusing. For me, it was pretty stressful, but I am glad it was not worse. Once she was washed up, we went back to the bus stop and were able to get safely home.

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