I have personal swarms.
Sometimes they are in the form of a mosquito cloud that follows me around the rainforest. Sometimes they are in the form of piyums, a small nat-like, big-toothed biting fly thing that are relentlessly filling the boat in clouds, all day, every day -- biting and biting and biting. Sometimes it's at night in my room when the piyums are finished, but the small mosquitos and night wasps come on.
Sometimes I have a personal ecosystem. When I'm working in varzea or igapo, everything from spiders to ants to mantis to snakes and lizards and fish drop into my canoe on my head/lap/backpack, shoes, and guide.
And then sometimes, my body is a host. Over the years I have been host to things like botflies and tapir hook worms, leishmanisis, and impetigo. I've had parasites like giardia and malaria and whoknowswhat the "three other species" of gastric friends I obtained working in Panama years ago. I've had dangerous viruses like dengue and annoying viruses like what I call "Jungle Croup."
And now I have macun. I have some sort of chigger relative, living, breeding, and spreading all over my body. They started in a classic manner on my belly. I used special soap (Enxofre and Veneno) and rubbing alcohol; special powders (Polvilho Antisseptico Granado), creams (hydrocortizone), taken antihistamines, and even used a "Grandma's Potion" of Anti-Coral. The belly seemed to sort itself, but the ones on my back I couldn't reach and they have exploded up my neck and wrapped back around returning to my belly.
And as a bonus, I think I am having an allergic reaction to them/an allergic reaction
to the soap we use for clothes (we ran out of the gentle coconut soap)/heat rash on
what precious little clear skin I had left: on my arms and legs. I'm a hot mess.
No fever, no stomach issues, good spirits -- just buggy and rashy. We don't have
internet with enough bandwidth for me to self-diagnose on WebMD, so we are doing
the best we can.
For now, I am trying to not scratch, not worry -- and to find a local Brazilian
equivalent of a brujo. Let's hope for some fancy plant burning and prayers make it
all go away!