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.