Inspired by Kate in Kenya
We have been thoroughly entertained by Kel’s friend Kate, who is doing some volunteer work and living in a village in Kenya, and her descriptions of her terrifying insect encounters. So I’ve been inspired to share with you some of my terrors as well…
Least terrifying but perhaps most annoying are the mosquitoes. The ones that carry malaria aren’t too significant looking, they’re small (of course the malaria is a concern but not at this time of year) but there are some huge ones. I came back from the shower one evening exhausted after trying to avoid being carried off by one persistent little blighter.
This one is especially for my sister, Min, who has a bit of a phobia, understandable when she was hairdressing.
All the kids here have headlice and they regularly check each other’s hair, parting their frizzy locks to search for the lice. One day I had some girls come and sit with me while Nic was in Vila (I think they worried I was lonely) and they started this head-checking procedure. They obviously thought I didn’t know what headlice were so whenever they found one, they gave it to me to look at and squash! Ever since then, my head has been itchy but Nic’s had no luck finding my invisible lice!
Finally, one insect that got Nic instead of me. At the mother’s day feast in front of the nakamal we sat and ate laplap. The lighting wasn’t very good, we’d had a shell of kava and we aren’t yet really up on all the types of laplap yet but Nic was pretty sure that the mouthful that contained a bettle wasn’t actually supposed to. He said it made his lip go numb (like kava) so perhaps it could be used for a new line of local cocktails…
The toilet here isn’t exactly a treat in the first place but I drew the line at sharing it with this many others. I went in after dark one night and the previously writhing mass at the bottom of the long drop had obviously matured into adult flies and all took flight towards the light I was carrying, this might have been OK except I had on the headlamp and I got a face-full of blowies! The mortein was never before such a praised purchase.
Another toilet story. Our long drop is regularly invaded by cockroaches that are so big they would easily carry off a bullock. I generally take the same action as I did with the flies and douse them in mortein but just this week when I tried this the ‘roach took off out one of the many gaps in the toilet wall. Thinking I was safe I prepared to go when the beast came back in and in search of the safety of darkness ran straight up the leg of my fish-pants. I issued a squeal of terror that apparently went unnoticed or ignored by everyone but Nic. (Just the white woman screaming about something in the toilet again!)
They have a spider here which looks much like a huntsman and is also harmless but it moves much faster. Nic and I have chased a couple around our house before but this time it was much worse. We were getting ready to go for a swim so I grabbed my towel to wrap around my boardshorts (which is the culturally appropriate thing to do, nobody is meant to see women walking around away from their house in pants) and we were just about to leave when I felt something inside the leg of my shorts. I slapped the offending area and out fell the biggest spider I had seen yet and it fell writhing in it’s death throes to the floor. In the meantime I had shot across to the other side of the room and commenced sobbing and rocking in the foetal position. Nic finished off the spider but I was still too scared to let him bring it past me to throw it out the door! I’m sure most of you know my fear of all things eight-legged and you’ll understand that I jumped at shadows and every tickle of clothes or breeze for days!
That’s about it for the time being (let’s hope that’s all the insect stories I have while we’re here!!!)