Monday, November 17, 2008

Safari ants & cockroaches

We moved into our house!! Praise God!! We have a beautiful home, way nicer than I would have expected. We have beds and more furniture will be on the way this weekend. When we leave in April, the landlord will have a furnished house to rent, which will be the first one in Arua! He has already had NGO’s and missionary families ask about renting the house when we leave. We have orange, lemon, mango, guava, and avocado trees in our yard!! You can bet we’re going to be harvesting as much fruit as we can eat and drink in the next 6 months. Our yard is pretty big which Osobie and Fatu are happy about. The kids are sharing a room and we are turning the spare bedroom into our “school room”. We are definitely blessed!! And on top of it all, we get to have some roomies! There is another building next to our house called the “boys quarters” with 4 small rooms. Susan, a waitress from the hotel and 2 of Jeff’s coworkers will be living there until April. It will be nice to have some new friends around. We are planning to have a house warming party once we get more organized. Jeff’s hoping to grill some pork and I am going to “attempt” to make matoke, rice and beans for all the Ugandans! I’ve already had the comment made from Jeff’s driver Jackson that if I’m cooking matoke, he’ll be having a Nile Special (Ugandan beer)!! Can you believe that? Well Jackson, you just wait and see…this muzungu might just surprise you with some mean matoke. ( this was written almost a week ago… and we already had a small little house party but we kept it simple so no matoke was made, maybe next time). So, we are thankful, we are well, we are healthy, and we are cooking our own meals!! Now that is something to celebrate!! Especially when you can eat mondo sized avocado’s everyday!!
Side note*One thing that we didn’t expect was a dilemma with power. We have just gone our longest stretch without power, 4 days. There have been some serious problems in Arua with the power situation. So far we’ve lost power every weekend from Friday night until Monday morning. We might need to invest in a generator so we can have light! Please pray the power problem gets sorted out! But anyway… did I mention that the bugs here are scary huge?? Let me share some bug tales..:)

It all started at 9 am as we loaded the truck with our luggage and household goodies some missionary friends sold to us at a great price. At 9 am, the power is supposed to come on. The schedule is power from 9 am to 11 pm, which is actually amazing, that is when things go as scheduled. Well, the Sat. morn of our big move into our house began without power and didn’t come back until Monday afternoon. So, our first 2 days in the house went something like this. Moved in our luggage, put sheets on our beds, hung mosquito nets, cleaned like mad, then the much dreaded “darkness of night” blanketed us. Now I am not afraid of the dark or anything, although the kids aren’t fond of it, but what I am dreadfully fearful of are cockroaches!! I know they don’t bite, I know they cannot harm anyone, but they are stinkin’ creep-ville! I don’t care what anybody says! Now I am not talking about the itty bitty sized roaches found in shady restaurants and crawling across sidewalks in big cities. No, I’m talking about AFRICAN sized cockroaches!! These things are as big as a half dollar if not bigger and they move so fast I swear they are running at the speed of light!

So, after going out to eat (we still didn’t have groceries or cooking gear just yet), we came home to a pitch black house and began our long first night of cockroach hunting and Katie freaking! Can you believe it? I mean I am not the type to care much about spiders. I am not the shrieking type, but boy did I ever reveal the “wimpy” side of Katie. I wasn’t a good example for Osobie and Fatu and soon they feared the roaches. After many hours of surveying the house with flashlights and killing roaches we attempted to get some sleep. Right as I was slipping into sleep, I peeped open my eyes one last time and there again was the monster size cockroach crawling on the wall under the curtain. Poor Jeff thought his wife had finally given up on her paranoia and was certain I was asleep until I yelled for him to come and kill the beast. Once again we settled in under our net (which I forgot to mention was too small and so ineffective) and lay there hoping that we were so tired we would just pass out. WRONG!! Within minutes our ears were pierced with a loud hissing sound coming from the hall. Jeff armed himself with DOOM (bug killer) and searched for the animal. It came from a hall closet or the ceiling. We called our night watchman, George to see if he knew what African animal was living in our attic. George first announced it was a cat. Then he decided it was a rat! At that point I was ready to head back to the hotel! Then the final verdict came back that it was a large insect. Jeff sprayed a whole can of DOOM in the attic but the insect refused to die! We fell asleep to an awful sound of hissing, and that concluded the first night in our house in Africa!

The second day went similar to the first. Our first activity of the day and last activity of the night was chasing after cockroaches! Osobie and Jeff had a wonderful papa-son talk and soon Osobie was my brave hero telling me, “Mama, I can kill them for you!” He knew the routine. He slipped his beefiest shoe on his hand, I carried the flashlight, and together we went around the house lifting up bags, sliding curtains back and killing cockroaches. Fatu was sweet enough to come along but never with any intention of killing. She’s definitely a lot like her mama when it comes to these things.

Then came the next adventure, safari ants. Sunday night we were walking through the yard checking out our bounty of fruit trees and stumbled upon some ants. It was just a small line of ants marching towards their destination, no big deal right? WRONG! We followed the trail and discovered millions of them in piles and marching in lines all across the yard weaving through the grasses. I am talking biblical proportions here!!! We couldn’t believe our eyes and then looked further to see they were taking over a whole building! They covered the walls of the “boy’s quarters”. The building is white and it was now painted ant-black. O and I ran inside to get the bug spray and started spraying them until the can ran out. Thousands upon thousands of safari ants, the kind that spread up your legs and bite you like mad! Maybe some of you have read Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver?? They crawl between your toes and start biting and man does it hurt!! Jeff’s coworker said that safari ants would “undress you”! Meaning you will have to rip off your clothes if they attack you just to get them off of you. Jeff chuckled and Nicholas said with a stern face, “No really, they will!” So I hopped up and down spraying insecticide everywhere hoping to end this ant attack. I am sure I was a laughing stock to all the passerby’s on the street!! That was day 1 of safari ants. It took 3 more days of spraying, burning the lawn, setting fire to them and their homes (which you have to find first), pouring gasoline and boiling hot water on them to finally put an end to the ant ambush. Our neighbors taught us all the techniques for killing safari ants and I sure had at it!!

Okay… so now I’ll have to tack on another week of fighting safari ants since I wrote this post last week. Our latest invasion happened Saturday evening when our neighbor yelled at our window “they’re coming”!! We all knew what he was talking about! We grabbed our paraffin (kerosene) and newspapers and starting burning the ants, hundreds of them taking over their yard and marching towards ours. There was a team of us outside fighting the little buggers until finally we felt we had burned them all. We came back in to sit down to dinner. Fatu said prayers for us and we began to enjoy our meal finally. We were pleasantly surprised because our beans were still warm, when all of a sudden I heard a crackling sound. “Did you guys hear that?” I asked. Jeff saw an orange glow from our bathroom window and yelled “Fire”!! We grabbed cooking pots and our pitcher filled with water and ran out to see our papyrus fence on fire!! Luckily our water tank was nearby so we all heaved water onto the fire and soon it was out. Oh yeah…
After 2 days of no power and not much to do we had our first bit of excitement and thrill killing ants and putting out a fire! Never short of adventure around here!!
*I had to include this pic..we are making Christmas cards and this was Fatu's first nativity scene..check out baby Jesus,...isn't that cute or what??


Missy said...

I feel like such a wimp now, complaining about florida's palmetto bugs. Your life sounds glorious to me. I love the updates.

Johnson said...

I love the drawing! I am so glad to hear you are in your house and like it!

Dawn said...

Love the details!!!! My first thought was "Poisonwood Bible", read back in the Tool Room days.
Love the pics and baby egg Jesus!