As petty as it sounds, my biggest hesitation in coming to Honduras was the possibility of encountering some serious spiders. I have arachnophobia and the idea of living in a spider-ridden country sounded like so many nightmares I have had. I have been known to try to exit a moving car due to the presence of a (small) spider, or throw a book across the room upon unexpectedly turning to a page that pictures a tarantula. I told myself that it was an unacceptable reason to not volunteer in Honduras, but even so I wondered if I would actually be able to manage.
After scouring the CBS Facebook page and website, I knew I wanted to volunteer at CBS more than I wanted to avoid monstrous spiders (at least the logical part of my brain knew it), so in an attempt at self-administered exposure therapy, I had my roommate play Discovery Channel episodes about tarantulas on her laptop while I stood clear across the room and tried not to cover my eyes.
Nonetheless, I was nowhere near being able to handle finding a tarantula under my bed or in my shoes or any of the other spider horror stories I had read about on volunteer blogs. Fortunately, the spiders have taken it pretty easy on me so far and I haven’t had too many alarming encounters with any big and hairy ones.
The other night I woke up to use the bathroom and turned my bedroom lamp on. When I walked into the hallway I spotted a large spider in the ceiling corner by the back door. I assured myself it was perfectly happy up there and would have no reason to creep into my room during the night. As I got back in bed, a black spider shot up from the side of my bed and began scrambling along the wall next to me. I jumped up and froze, waiting for its next move. I saw that it had paused on the wall behind my bed, and I tried to push my bed up against the wall to crush it. Unfortunately, I am not nearly strong enough to do that, so after throwing all of my weight into trying, the bed had barely budged and the spider had disappeared.
I spent at least 15 minutes standing in my dimly lit room contemplating whether it was worse to go looking for the spider so I could kill it, or to knowingly sleep with it right under the bed. I will admit I even considered waking up one of my housemates to help me look, but it was 3am and I wanted them to still like me in the morning. Mind you, this was not a big spider. It wasn’t one of those little ones that I can now pinch between my fingers without thinking twice, but we are not talking about a tarantula either. I was feeling brave, so I decided to search for it, something I never would have done a year ago. Before I came to Honduras, I wouldn’t even have been able to smash a small spider with my foot. So there I was at 3am, standing on a chair in my boxer shorts and combat boots, wielding a broom and thinking, this is progress. In the end, I didn’t find the spider, so I blocked all spaces between my mattress and the walls with bunched up dresses, wrapped myself in blankets, and went back to sleep. The next night I had another volunteer help me move my bed and poke around for it. He insisted that nothing was under there and left. As I got ready for bed I slipped on my pajama pants and that SAME black spider fell out one of the legs. I screamed and stomped on it and once my heart slowed down I slept so well.
-Amanda (Kinder, Prepa, and Volunteer Coordinator)