Saturday, December 10, 2011

Rain, bats, and creepy crawly things – Dec 3, 2011

We had our first major rain last Thursday Dec 1 (we had a minor one a few days before) and learned that although I was excited to see it and yell “Pula” we were not prepared for the implication of rain. Our roof has two leaks, which can be a real problem when everything you own is in a 10’ x 10’ room. One of the leaks was over the bed, and a bucket was not catching everything, so we moved it as much as we could and piled everything in the dry area. Luckily nothing was ruined since we caught it as it was happening although sadly we had to re-wash some clothes, which is my least favorite chore. After a while the rain stopped as did the leaks and we could move the bed back. The storm knocked out power so all this happened by candlelight and headlamp.

After that we settled into an evening of reading since our computer was dead. Currently we are hooked on watching the Wire to unwind and deal with boredom. We had the door and window open to cool off the room along with a doom coil burning to keep the mosquitoes away. Within minutes a bat flew in and started circling the room. We ducked and ran out of the room laughing and slightly irritated because we were ready for bed since it was 10:30 and we had to get up at 5am. After circling the room for a few minutes it irritatingly crawled under the bed, so we waited. Eventually a bat was circling the room again and crawling in all the crevices we could not reach. I started knocking on the walls to see if it would get it moving and it did. After about 30 minutes we were able to drop a sheet on it as it landed on the bed. We quickly stripped the bed and moved our sheets outside to watch it crawl away. Relieved that we could finally settle down and think about sleep again we remade the bed and sealed the windows doors in ways we had never before. Our blood pressure dropped and John finally fell asleep while I read. A shadow flew across the room again and I jolted John awake. We threw clothes and shoes on and got out of the room. After a few minutes the bad had not moved, so we were silent listening for it and heard a rustle near the stove. After initially cautiously, then frustratedly, tearing apart that area of the room we thought maybe I was just losing my mind, although I knew I saw something. 20 minutes later I sprayed a bit of bug spray hoping to irritate the bat into moving again. It was right after that when John saw the bat hidden on our stove. I removed everything from the stove while John waited patiently with some Tupperware to drop on it. This worked although the bat was none too happy and started screeching. If you have never heard a bat screech it is a piercing sound and does not leave your head easily. We got it out of the room finally and are still not sure where it came from. Sleep did not come easily after that and we are now discussing using a mosquito net to make a screen for the door.

The next day when we stepped out of the house there were millipedes everywhere. Rain must have brought them out of the ground. Most of them are the size of earthworms, but every once in a while the granddaddy of millipedes shows up. It is a little less than a foot long and reminds me of the worms in the movie Tremors (this dates me, I know). I am told that there are some that get bigger too. I will now be shoving something under my door to seal the crack because I do not want to wake up with one of those guys in my shoe. They are pretty neat looking though and some of my co-workers said they do not get that big in other parts of Botswana, just where there is more sand.

Our plans for Friday changed as well. Right now we are going through the Community Study process where we spend time interviewing people and getting to know the community and services. We had planned to spend most of the day on this but realized we had more pressing issues. After talking to some people at the hospital we took the afternoon to get several large buckets for storing things we do not want getting wet and rearranged the room as much as possible. Some of the people at the school did get on our roof and fixed the apparent issues, but we will not be able to know if they got everything until the next rain. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

On a side note, I never thought I would use a headlamp much but this is one of my most prized possessions along with converter, bug spray, sunscreen, hat, buckets and a fan.

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