Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Bug season!

I just got back to Mali from leave, and it turns out that it's Bug Season!

The rainy season is receding into the past, the hills around Bamako are getting steadily browner, and the air is dustier.But the main change is that there are bugs EVERYWHERE.

There have always been ants. But now there are more, and they're bigger, and they have NO FEAR. I was reading on my sofa in my living room last night, only to find massive (luckily non-bitey) ants crawling ALL OVER ME.

Then a step up from the giant ants, there are big black hoppy things (technical term). They're about the size of my thumb, and they regularly launch themselves at me from the other side of my office. You don't know shock until you're merrily writing a report only to find yourself pelted with massive black insects seemingly intent on flying into your face.

Then there are the grasshoppers and criquets pelerins (locusts) making their annual pelerinage from north to south. Those don't fly into you as much, but they are still everywhere. Apparently there are more than usual this year - normally they wipe them all out in their Libyan breeding grounds, but this year people in Libya have been a bit busy and didn't get round to the extermination. Luckily they don't seem to have destroyed too many crops - for a while, we were worried that after the war and the food crisis, the locusts would be next - possibly followed by the river of blood, the frogs, and the death of the first-born son.

Anyway, having been eagerly anticipating the cooler weather, I now have lesser dreams. I just want to be able to sit in my office without enormous bugs flying into my face, and on my sofa without being covered with a swarm of ants.

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