While watching the African Cup of Nations match between Zambia (woo!) and Ghana with about 10 people:

“See that bug there along the floor?  That long bug 1 meter from you?  Very dangerous.”


“Yes. It’s a millipede. Very poisonous. And this one is most poisonous of all.”

“So maybe we should kill it.”

“Yes, we should. It is very dangerous.”

<No movement. Very lethal millipede goes under TV cabinet.>

“Maybe when we next see it we should kill it.”


<Millipede emerges. No one moves.>

“Ummmmmm can someone who has closed toed shoes please kill the very lethal millipede?”

<Man who has on flimsy sandals gets up, walks two steps, and stomps its lethal life out, without taking his eyes off the football match.>

“Good. Now we are safe.”

All this after I spent the day at one of our sites where our field manager had to run from a cobra (which the village kids deftly chased down and killed). Comforting.

But in happier news, no bee stings. I’ve become quite adept at bathing and latrine-ing while swarmed in bees. It’s all about being zen. If I don’t bother you, you won’t bother me.  Oohhmmmm….

At least that’s the theory.

I also ate bush meat for the first time in South Sudan. When I asked what kind of bush meat it was (it can be anything from rat to dog to monkey), the response was, “You probably don’t want to know.”

Yeah, I probably don’t.


4 responses to “Hazards

  1. They told us in Costa Rica how dangerous millipedes are too. Stupid bugs.

    • Yeah, I’ve known from other places I’ve lived, too, and this one was pretty small which is why I was surprised when they told me it was the most lethal kind. Then again they could also just be waxing poetic about that.

  2. Millipedes aren’t poisonous, it’s the centipedes – the ones with the big pincers on the end – you have to look out for. They like to sleep under my water cans in my kitchen. Oi.

    Rat used to be a “staple food” around here, but now it’s more of a special-occasion cultural thing. Ever had crocodile? If not … don’t. 😡 Like fishy darkmeat chicken.

    • Interesting. Maybe it’s an english/translation issue, because that’s more like what we killed last night, but I’ve also been told the same thing in other places and people always say ‘millipede’ instead of centipede.

      I actually had crocodile while I was in either South Africa or Zimbabwe, but it was at a restaurant and, uh, more in a carpaccio style, so it was actually quite good. Don’t think that’s quiiiiiiiiiiiiite the same. 🙂

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