I went to my office this morning at 4 am. All inky black African darkness outside and strange stars. I'd been awake for an hour and a half. When I couldn't get back to sleep, I decided that tossing and turning was not going to do me any good, so I may as well just start the day.
Because I was in the office, I did get to straighten my hair in a mirror this morning (ah, the little things). My bathroom in Africa doesn't have a plug in it and my bedroom doesn't have a mirror in it, so I've either been using my computer camera as an ad hoc mirror or I've been doing it blind and hoping for the best. My office bathroom has a plug in it though, so cheers.
Also because I was in the office at an ungodly hour and no good every comes of that, I was attacked, by both mosQUEEtos that kept regenerating (honestly, I swear I clapped some that sprung right back up after just being stunned)... AND this bug.
I was Skyping (at something like 5 am) with Nick when that bug came in through a hole in the window screen (right behind my desk) and I was screeching. It's a really loud bug - it sounds like a helicopter (no really), I've seen them before (or I thought I had), so when it started buzzing at the screen, I started telling Nick about it. And, now, in the wild, they are totally interesting because they aren't bouncing around at the light directly overhead, they are just loud flying things way above my head, so all was fun and games. And I'd even noticed the hole and been like, eh, there's no way it'll come in... and then suddenly I was screaming. Holy crap! It's inside, and I was running around my fairly sizable office, and still yelling to the Skype and hiding under my desk at some point. It was ridiculous. Then it disappeared, but obviously didn't get out... and that was worse for a while. I was throwing a roll of toilet paper (this is all I could find that I was willing to sacrifice, there not being many extra supplies here in the wilderness of Africa) at anything that the bug might be hiding in or near (this is a shocking amount of things to hold your breath and chuck a toilet paper roll at, even in my fairly sparse office). Eventually I found it on top of this electrical box and was able to get a photo, a number of them in fact. I'm pretty sure it's dead and I almost wanted to try and move it, so that I could better photograph it, but decided not to chance such a thing.
So, post-photo op, I'm googling to try and figure out what this thing is, because of course Nick thinks I'm just afraid of nothing, and that two-inch bug (okay, so maybe inch-and-a-half, but seriously, a monster) is NOT nothing. To identify it, I made the mistake of googling giant African bugs, which
was a terrible horrible mistake (I don't suggest trying it, not even to
understand more completely what I mean. Just use your imagination.
You'll come close enough). So then I changed it to giant African
flying bug. I think it might be a carpenter bee, but then I was
distracted for the second time that morning by the hole in the screen of my window...
... by an incredible sunrise. So, I grab my keys and take off running. Like the office is on fire. No one runs in Africa. I don't know why, but I haven't seen anyone even move quickly here and it's 6:15 in the morning and I am booking it, in the most professional outfit I brought out here mind you (I'm wearing a jacket today, no joke), to the sunrise. I'm pretty sure that everyone working next door is concerned about me, which is only if they didn't hear the "I f'n hate Africa!" comment while ducking to avoid a giant flying buzzing African bug. Otherwise, they think I'm completely crazy already.
And I took pictures that don't do it justice. I said a little prayer (RWE) and curtsied to the Creator and then went back to work.
Maybe two hours later, the giant African bee bug came back to life and started buzzing around again for a good 15 minutes until someone came to my rescue, told me they'd been dealing with these things all their life, and after being unable to successfully catch it WITH HIS HANDS (what?!), trapped it in our garbage can and set it free outside. Also, this dude's name is Spy. How awesome is that?
NOT AS AWESOME AS WHAT HAPPENED NEXT.
So I'm walking home to grab my trusty duct tape-and-leatherman combo that Jak insisted I have so that I can patch up the hole that the nasty bug came through in the first place and I wave at one of the cleaning ladies. She's carrying a mop and a bucket, so she needs to put down the bucket to wave back, but she isn't close and it's just a sweet moment. Anyway, she calls to me as I'm almost past her and asks me in I live in House 2. Which I do. And she's the one who has left me flowers and the swan sculpture of towels on my bed. Not every day, but now and again. And I leave Asante Sana notes (thank you) and flowers about laundry and fixing my water pot and whatever else. So, she's all excited and I'm excited and we're not really speaking to each other because I speak English and she speaks Swahili, but for some reason we both end up nearly crying and we're hugging like crazy. So I grab her hand and ask her what her name is... and it's Elizabeth, which she says "Lizbet." And I'm even more excited now, and we're still holding hands, and I explain that it's my sister's name and so we too are sisters. Goodness. I managed to hold it together for a couple more hugs and walking away, I had the biggest smile on my face.
All in all, there's nothing like a good scare, a good sunrise, a good talk, and a leatherman and a roll of duct tape to make all right with the world.