Last November 1, occasion of All Saints Day, Ah Kong, like thousand others in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and Region 1, made a beeline towards the cemeteries.
Ah went to Lubas Cemetery, in La Trinidad, Benguet, where his father and brother were buried.
As he sat and watched others tidying up their loved ones’ graves, somebody hailed Ah with a wave of his hand and an accompanying grin.
Ah recognized the burly person. He was Dr. Silvestre Aben, professor at Benguet State University (BSU). So nice to see an old friend not seen for so long.
Thereon, Dr. Aben approached and, without much ado, squatted on the ground – never for once minding the soil that would dirty his pants – and started a warm conversation as both tried to catch up with times gone.
Professor Aben is simply like that. Holding a sensitive position at BSU, respected in the institution and in Benguet province as well, Aben is a down – to-earth person who wouldn’t mind one bit to have his hands dirtied by soil, would grab a hoe, remove weeds, clear soil and dig furrows for seeds.
As the two bantered, Ah noticed a mother and her child nearby – relatives of professor Aben – atop the tomb of their deceased. The mother was diligently looking for something in the hairs of her child.
Ah took a picture of the scene with the tacit approval of both professor Aben and the daddy of the child.
Now, Professor Aben, the daddy of the child and Ah knew exactly what the mother was trying to achieve, engaged in a determined battle to exterminate that good-for-nothing louse or lice, sucking her child’s blood.
And anytime is a good time to do it, even when done in the cemetery, atop the graves of loved ones.
Now, contrary to popular belief, presence of head lice doesn’t mean your child is dirty or lives in a dirty place. No!
A louse, or lice, simply love children, easily transferring from one child to the other.
School time is great moment for children. But it also paves the way for spread of lice. It’s good advice by the Department of Health – Cordillera Administrative Region (DOH-CAR) for parents to seriously mind the hair of their children – like what the mother was doing with her child at Lubas Cemetery – and use effective, safe and affordable head lice treatment.
Looking on at the mother and child scene, Ah tried to get what was in the mind of a louse and what it was thinking. And how a louse describes its being the scoundrel on the heads of children.
It came out this way, as a louse would have described it as how it came to existence:
“I, a certified louse, was hatched on the head of a girl. In this place, as in other lice-populated heads, I soon settled and raised a family. It was the happiest period of my life.”
“I wasn’t bothered at all by a comb or razor, and saw no misfortune, except that the girl’s head (our city) has become overpopulated by other lice. And we are compelled to migrate to another head of another boy or girl. School time would be a good time to squat and settle on other heads.”
“One day, as all my family members and other lice were greedily sucking the blood of the girl in her head, somebody (I think it was the girl’s mother) placed a gooey and unspeakable mass on the girl’s head, to the total ruin of our lice community.”
“Impossible to describe the stress and confusion brought about by that horrifying quagmire that left thousands of other lice dead. Even our eggs (kilit) were not spared from the destruction.”
“Then thinking our tragedy was over, the girl’s mother poured water after water into the girl’s head, drowning whatever lice was left weakened by that unspeakable gooey mass. We were overwhelmed by a second inundation.”
“I was among those that was able to escape. After recovering from fright from the loss of members of my family, I reconciled myself to the fact that I was one of the lucky ones, considering the fate of those who had perished.”
“But the series of misfortunes that I had been doomed to suffer, without respite, has now began. The following day, this girl’s mother, whom I describe as a wicked being hell-bent on carrying total destruction of our lice community, started sifting through the hairs of her little girl, in search of our eggs (kilit) that desperately clung to the girl’s hair strands. This girl’s mother was, indeed, a most wicked creature on earth.”
“The technique of the girl’s mother was simply. Using her fingernails as claws of evil, she’d find a kilit clinging to a hair strand and, with two fingernails, possess the kilit. I was within a hair of being destroyed by her clawing nails.”
“With a squeal of delight, this murderous mother then would put the kilit at the back of her fingernail and murder the kilit by squeezing it to death. This mother should be hung by the neck till her tongue lolls out!”
“I was so terrified by such an incident that I crawled furthest down to the girl’s nape, continued to hide all the rest of the day and came out only to feed on blood when the girl went to sleep. I deduced that come next morning, I will soon be safe from the clutches of the girl’s mother, whom I hate with all my heart.”
“In this condition where I became impatient with confinement at the girl’s nape, I swore to myself that come future days, I will roam around the head of the girl and wreak havoc till the girl screams with pain.”
“That is the vengeance I will get from the girl’s mother who caused the death of my family. And I, too, swear that I will visit my dead loved ones at their graves come every All Soul’s Day.”
But it didn’t happen that way, the louse wished it to be. The mother of the girl who wasn’t astonished one bit about the wiles of a louse, had another weapon she wielded.
As the louse started to implement the destruction it promised, the mother brought out a certain comb called “sugod,” and with dexterity, combed her girl’s hair.
At the third stroke of combing, the louse was caught in the fine mesh of the sugod and pinned there for good.
It was the last louse on the girl’s head, as the girl’s mother picked off the louse from the sugod and – as the louse described her as murderer – murdered it without remorse.