It always pays to be aware.
I'll give a quick heads up here, for those of you who are more sensitive, that this blog post is backwards from my usual where I would normally put the “ewww” things at the end. This time, “eww” is coming, well, right away here. So if you’re looking for more important news and would really rather give the bugs a miss, you’ll have to close your eyes momentarily and toggle further down.
This time of year is the season for many things: heat, fire, and bugs, primarily. This is our dry-heat season, before the rains come. It can get up to 40C or more, and if you don’t use Celsius, 50C is half way to boiling point. So yeah, hot! This semi-torching of the land by the sun seems to bring about the inevitable in nature: new life. From tender new leaves budding on all the trees to bugs and more bugs. That these events happen simultaneously is very convenient for the bugs because they emerge from whatever crevice, cocoon, or shell they’ve been holed up in
Cicada (after emerging from a shell)
and, voila! a fresh, tasty green harvest awaits them and the chomping begins in earnest. Thankfully the trees produce new leaves prolifically otherwise they'd go completely bald.
And as if the volume of leaves being devoured isn’t bad enough, some bugs use the leaves for other things, like to wrap stuff in.
Is nature not amazing?
I found these outside the other morning on the ground under one of the trees. There were hundreds but I only brought in this handful of them, all neatly wrapped like a cute little gifts with the ends all sealed down. Curious sort that I am, I had to open one up to investigate.
I found nothing. Or so I thought, until I took a closer look and noticed 2 wee tiny yellow things. I took a close-up shot and discovered they were eggs. Moth eggs, maybe, but I have no clue.
The klipspringer discovered them too and figured they must have been prepared just for him. ☺His favorite leaves all wrapped up, just like cabbage rolls.
That same morning, I stepped onto the veranda to find hundreds, maybe even thousands, of worms on the floor. They were dropping from the trees and being blown onto the veranda with the wind, on fine strands of silk.
I (and they) don’t know where they were going but I wasn’t too impressed at the sight of them—especially those that were wiggling under my doors into the house. It was the sort of sight one wakes up from relieved to find that it was just a dream. But no such luck here. It made for lots of repeated floor sweeping and washing. Thankfully their numbers diminished after 24 hours.
This is the last “eww” picture, although chameleons aren’t really gross.
This is a baby flap necked chameleon who was making his way across our yard. Seems like a very dangerous thing to do when one is so small and slow-paced, so he was “rescued” and brought inside for a few hours to hang out with us. His choice spot to hang out? The top of Dwight’s head.
Invariably, the season of heat and bugs is accompanied by widespread and uncontrolled brush fires. The fires are started intentionally for several reasons, including land clearing (preparation for planting season) and easier game viewing for hunting.
Snares and traps used to catch wild game. These were found on the mission's land.
Although we try our hardest to protect the mission from these fires, it’s difficult to be on the watch out everywhere, all the time. Last week a fire raged across most of the mission property and destroyed many hectares of grazing for cattle and sheep, and singed the outermost trees in the litchi orchard.
On a more positive note, the guys finished putting the roof on the mission school’s clinic this week…no mishaps either, so that was nice :).
Community members watch while the guys work.
Now all that needs done is to finish plastering, putting glass in the windows, putting doors and shelves in, and painting. I guess that’s still quite a bit of work, but with the walls and roof up it always feels like it’s almost ready to use.
The Mercy Air house roof is coming along nicely too...
With the health department’s current tuberculosis (TB) awareness campaign and freshly painted clinic walls in mind, I’ve been busy this week making stencils, posters and signs to help promote health and decorate walls. Since education about not spitting or how to spit “more safely” is incorporated in the prevention aspect of the TB poster, finding appropriate visuals has been an amusing activity. I went online and found many possibilities. I rather liked this one. Seems obvious enough.
I also found a picture of a well-known soccer player...spitting at the time of the photo. So I took a picture of a tin can with sand in it, as it should be, and pasted it below him so it looks as if he’s spitting into the can. I hope he doesn't mind, though he'll likely never know anyway, but I think I just earned him a new reputation as part of the TB awareness campaign in Africa.
Sometimes, and at least in his case, what you don't know won't hurt you. And it may even help someone else.