Last night was quite the debacle. I actually wished for a mosquito net to be draped around my bed because the house is full of bugs. Our air conditioner broke, so all day yesterday the front door remained open as the workmen went in and out. As a result there are bugs everywhere – big bugs, little bugs, moths, beetles, unidentified flying objects, and tsetse flies. The glow of my laptop screen particularly attracted them. In fact, I was actually attacked by a cat trying to swat at a fly and by attacked I mean my arm was punctured and bleeding. I actually started to feel bugs crawling all over my body – think The Mummy scarab attack scene
However, I was so tired neither bugs nor blood could stir me from my
cozy very chilly bed.
I actually don’t mind bugs. I just really don’t want them in my house. If they are in my house, I expect to have a herd of chipkali or, at the very least spiders, waiting to attack. You would think our pet menagerie would pose some kind of threat but as is evidenced above, I’m the only thing that was actually attacked.
All this bug talk reminds of the summer after my senior year in college when I headed to Uganda for five weeks.
Sidebar – It was truly one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I was able to go with four of my very close friends.* We spent time in different villages working with/at churches and getting to know the people. – End Sidebar.
In Uganda, there were bugs everywhere, and we slept with mosquito nets wrapped tightly around us. As ridiculous as it may seem, these bugs played a huge role in our trip for the following reasons:
1. The room in which I stayed in Mutungo, a suburb of Kampala, was shared by about 10 of us. Each night there was a great ritual of comedic proportions. Nets had to be unwound and tucked quickly around the bed making sure to leave no opening. Then, there was the crucial moment of turning off lights and actually getting into bed. You either hoped that you weren’t the last one, therefore seeking help from another to secure your net or you hoped the bugs were distracted for a minute. The worst was when you forgot yourself, turned on a flashlight and welcomed dozens of flesh eating mosquitoes into your net. I was sorely tempted to throw a flashlight across the room, sending the bugs after it.
2. Melody and I plus five others headed to a town called Luwero, about an hour north of Kampala. Melody and I somehow decided it made sense to share a twin bed (sleeping head to toe) and one mosquito net. I’m still amazed that we got any sleep but it made for hilarious stories at the time and now.
3. Melody was attacked by a poisonous caterpillar.
4. Pit Latrines have a lot of bugs.
5. When you have no running water, Mzungu don’t quite know how to handle this. While the Ugandans looked constantly pristine, the Mzungu begin to attract bugs. Standing water also attracts a lot of bugs. The one thing you learn on a trip such as this one is that Mzungu are also extremely wasteful, hoarding an extreme excess of water, and then realizing too late it’s not actually needed.
6. While this is not a bug, I feel that it came to us because it was after a bug. One night while a large group of us were gathered in the main room of the house in Mutungo, a blood sucking bat swooped in, sending the women screaming and the men to get their pickaxes.
7. If you fall in the Nile, your body will more than likely be infested by flesh eating bacteria or maybe just a plain old parasite (a different type of bug).
When my friends and I reminisce about our time in Uganda, we always laugh about one of the above stories. So, last night as I lay in bed, being attacked by both bugs and cats, I could not help but think that I have far, far too many stories of bugs that do not appear to be diminishing. In fact, I think we have a long, bug-filled marriage ahead.
My dearest Jamie and her husband Scott still work with Ugandans through their ministry, Pearl Ministries. Check at her blog http://www.ranchedonjesus.com/.