September 11th, 2011
Here in Swaziland I hadn’t encountered anything strange or unusual in the creepy crawler department. That was until yesterday.
To start my day I was taking down one of my lihiya that I am currently using as curtains. As I was folding it up something flew out and scurried across the floor and around my bed. I chased after it to see what it was and found the largest spider I have ever seen. It was the size of my palm, with thick long legs. It tired to seek refuge under my bed. Wishing I could just leave and deal with it later I just stood in fear for a few minutes. Then my adrenaline kicked in and I quickly shoved my bed over and trapped it under a bowl. I then ran to my Babe (host dad) and made him come and kill it. He brought a mop with and scooted it outside and them pounded it to death with the end of the mop handle. He said it was a good thing we killed it, he thinks its poisonous. Well great. But he assumed it came in through the window seeking a cooler place to hide from the scorching African sun. So just don’t leave my windows open was his suggestion. I am going to makeshift some screens out of old mosquito nets so I wont literally bake in my tin roof hut once it gets above 100°F.
To end my night, I was sitting enjoying the setting sun with some of the men and boys on my homestead. One got up rapidly and stomped on something. He said it was a “wife snake,” an ncobe umfati, and it needed to be killed because it was poisonous and would kill you by the end of the day if bitten. Awesome… not. I haven’t quite figured out what a wife’s snake is as it was small and unidentifiable once squished. They couldn’t explain to me better then a wife’s snake as to what it was. I assured them I was going to die here in Africa and they just laughed and said no poisonous things are not what kill people here. They are probably right on that one. I don’t know if that should comfort me or if it’s a sad reminder of the great effect of HIV/AIDS here.