As a child growing up on the island, some childhood memories are far from joyful or joyous - I recall that our late patois speaking neighbour, bless her, had a fixation with ‘worms’, my research is pointing that she may have been from the slave trade Mandingo tribe or had interactions with folks belonging to that tribe, either on the island or in Aruba where she lived for quite a while, as it is documented that this tribe, seemed to be fixated with worms and blamed our internal worms for some of our ailments! If a child was too thin, her response to any anxious parent or guardian was that the child had worms! One of her grandson who was a thin lad maybe around three years of age, (the other grandson was an acceptable ‘fat’ as well fed lad) and of course, being grandmother not wanting folks to think that he was underfed whilst in her care, decided to give the child a generous dosage of a medicine that I can remember, a medicine that will forever live in my sub-consciousness named ‘ Antepar’.
Flapping her apron, she waited for the given medication to take effect - not only her, as a child I stared behind the net curtain of our wooden house, waiting to witness the effect. The next morning, amidst screams and the child basically besides himself, a white worm was seen even by myself dangling from his bottom. She broke off piece of a banana leaf and pulled it out of his bottom. Oh! Lord, the poor, tearfully battered, totally bewildered,running around the yard, bawling child, cried until he fell asleep again.
I was terrified with numbness, happy to an extent that it was him and not me or anyone in our household. Happy to depart for school, knowing that I will not have anything dangling from behind!
Little did I anticipate that a couple months later, my grandmother decided it was time for a dosage of Antepar in our household? Along with my brother, I had a spoonful of the sweet , thick syrupy Antepar – the taste was nice. And all I can say is thank God, for the voluntary muscles of the body, as I was just refusing to sit on the potty as requested by my Grandmother to examine the contents to see if any worms came out! I do believe I passed a worm, and woe and behold, there was a period of nothing short of pandemonium inside the house, after a panic session of uncontrollable screaming, bawling, outright fear, of sitting on the potty. Not sure what happened to the bottle whether Gran returned the bottle of Antepar to the patois speaking neighbour or emptied the contents on the ground!