Thursday, July 3, 2014

Too Many Legs to Stand On

Those of you who know me or have read my book are aware of my deep-seated fear of spiders.  Each morning while in South Sudan, I meticulously scan my clothing with a flashlight and shake each item vigorously to dislodge any creepy-crawlies. During the day I watch where I step. I examine smudges on the walls of the outhouse to make sure they do not have 8 legs. At night I worry that every shadow has legs.  I especially fear the spiders that hop (they love the outhouse, by the way). How can I defend against that? The locals laugh at me, but I don’t care.  They say I should instead worry about scorpions and snakes and centipedes and even certain thorn bushes (all very poisonous, some quite deadly). 

One night I heard loud thwacking in the kitchen adjacent to the room where we were eating dinner: “Thump! Thump! Thrrrump!” This continued for several minutes, accompanied by muttered grunts.  The cook had discovered a centipede, about 8 inches in length and apparently venomous, and was dutifully dispatching it to the afterlife.  I later viewed the corpse with curiosity but did not share the horror exhibited by the cook. THAT, I reserve for spiders!

Before its demise it looked something like this (a picture which I found later on the web).  And no, that is definitely not MY foot!

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