Thursday, July 16, 2009

Insects I have known, and not loved, and occasionally killed, in Morocco.


* Mosquitoes. I just counted ... currently logging at least 30 bites, in every place you can imagine, despite the newly installed screen on my bedroom window.

Flies. They're ubiquitous. My house isn't too bad, even with open doors and windows. I keep my kitchen and my clothes clean, and it seems to cut down on my attraction to them. In my host family's house, I often wish I had a tail to swish at them with, they're so overwhelming. My least favorite are the tiny white ones that like to hang out in the bathroom; I assume the moisture attracts them? Well, they aren't attracted to me, so I leave them be.

Crickets. I am actually one of those who love the sound late at night ... unless they're in the room with you. Then they have to die. This happens nightly. Being, previously, one of those who tries to take the bugs outside rather than kill them when they dare to cross my threshold, I'm a little disturbed by the glee I take in catching one in the act. "Tell your friends," I whisper to them as I toss them down the Turkish toilet. I've considered leaving the corpses where they fall, as a warning to the others, but that's just ... icky.

Cockroaches. I was logging about one of these a day as well until the past week or so. I'm afraid to jinx myself by mentioning that I haven't seen a single one in at least a week. So I won't. They're big mothers here, too.

Ants. The little ones like to congregate around my toilet. Bigger ones occasionally can be seen scurrying down my hallway, bearing more than their weights' worth of some treasure or another. These I leave alone. And not just because they are protected in the Koran.

* Scorpions. Are these insects? Probably not. And I've only seen one so far, on the paved street in my little village. How'd he get here? And how'd my host brother manage to spot him in the dark? I'm afraid of them and yet I want one, being's as we're kindred spirits. Anny logs her kills in "Scorpion Death Match" on her blog; last weekend she was mentioning how she hadn't seen a single one yet this summer. Lamenting might be too strong a word, but I think it's fair to say she sounded just a wee bit wistful.

And one I have yet to know in Morocco:

Giant camel spiders. Again, I know, not really insects -- especially not when they're this big. Matt claims to have seen one at a recent summer camp. I think that would exceed my freak-out levels.

Really, as with most everything else, the creepy crawly situation here (scorpions and camel spiders aside) is no different than that back home. The difference seems to be in how I deal with them. I can't imagine the earlier versions of me managing to sleep knowing there's a giant cockroach in the house. Now, it's like -- meh. Surely this is increasing my fortitude in other areas as well.

News on Peace Corps and Morocco.

There's been plenty of it lately, and I'm behind on most of this. Also too lazy/tired to write -- killing bugs is hard work! -- so just the links if you're interested in learning more.

* President Obama this week finally announced his nominee for director of the Peace Corps. Sounds like a career do-gooder; what's not to like?

* It's been a month now since Obama appointed his ambassador to Morocco. Wonder if he'll continue his predecessor's "tradition" of rewriting "Twas the Night Before Christmas" for Peace Corps volunteers' swearing-in ceremony.

* It's also been about a month (I told you I'm behind) since Sen. Chris Dodd a former PCV himself, introduced legislation to gradually double Peace Corps' budget. Here's a good site for tracking the bill's progress and media references.

On Independence Day (America's), Obama and Morocco's king traded love letters about their common goal of Middle East peace.

* If you're really, really interested in Peace Corps, the agency has a new YouTube channel and a Twitter page.

Guest writer: Rumi.

A Moroccan friend posted this on Facebook. It's really speaking to me today.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

Quotes of the day.

“I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.” – Golda Meir

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” – M.K. Gandhi


Rachel said...

Your whole post speaks volumes to me...

Nealy said...

I am still laughing at your message sent to the bugs. Oh, how I miss you!

MollyinLincoln said...

Good God. Is that photo of a camel spider for real? That is a photo of my hell.

The flies and mosquitos in NE are patiently waiting for your return. We have some impressively nasty wood roaches, too, but so far I've just found them outside near the garage. The chickens love them! Go ladies!

Anonymous said...

A daddy longleg exceeds my freak out level - I hope you never encounter one of those monsters! Glad you're doing well. Think about you often even if I don't post much. ~ Miz N. from O.

Krista said...

Oh....that Rumi. So smart and clever. Great post lady. I'm getting caught up. Love you madly!

Anonymous said...

I read on another blog that you can catch a scorpion by taking one of those weeds with the small yellow flowers and putting the flower end down in a scorpion hole. The scorpion will grab hold of it and you pull him out. Just a matter of guessing which holes in the ground that the scorpions are living in. Even had a photo of him doing it.