Rebuilding Foundations

An exploration of international development work in Africa

Starship Trooper

It’s a war.

Me against the bugs.

I’ve won a few battles, but they have strength in numbers

My room always has ants in it.  Little tiny ones.  I’ve thought about using insecticide, but it seems pointless when there’s food covering the floors in the rest of the house.  They’re not going to stay away so I just try to ignore them.

Two weeks ago I washed my sheets and the water’s surfaced was a layer of dead ants.  Looking at them made me feel ill.

Last Monday evening, though, the tides turned in this war.  There were big ants everywhere in my room.  Even though it was different than normal, I still tried to ignore them.  The rainy season is ending and as the season changes, so are the bugs.  I thought it made sense that big ants would start showing up.  However, as I read in my chair, kicking my feet to keep them off my legs, I realized that they were multiplying.  Every time I glanced around, there seemed to be more.

I got up to investigate.  In one corner, about a foot above the floor, was a concentration of them.  Was it a hole?  Were they trying to get out or come in?  I peered closer and realized it was a nest.  New ones were emerging.

Being a coward, I took a water sachet and sprayed it from 2 feet away.  It fell to the ground and I dumped another water sachet on it for good measure.

Then I put on my shoes and stomped around my room, killing as many as I could.

Totally grossed out, I tried to go to bed.  I didn’t sleep well.  Every small breeze from my fan felt like an ant crawling across my skin.

One good thing about ants is that they’re like the Borg: they collect their dead.  When I woke up in the morning, almost all the squashed ant bodies were gone.

Two days later I woke up to see a giant black thing crawling across the floor.  It was the size of a mouse, but moving too slow.  I jumped up and desperately tried to find my glasses so I could see what it was without getting too close.  Once my glasses were jammed on my face I realized it was another bug.  It looked like a giant cricket.

Again, being a coward, I opened my door so that it could crawl into the hallway where someone else would have to deal with it.

If you asked me 2 months ago how I felt about bugs, I would’ve said that I’m pretty good about them.  I don’t like them, but I’m not afraid of them.  As long as it isn’t a spider, I can deal with it.

I was wrong.  I hate them.  I can’t deal at all.

But I only have to hold this front for another 3 weeks.  Then I can retreat back to a sealed environment where I never wake up with beetles in my bed.

Three. More. Weeks.

How many more battles can there be?


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