I just made a cup of tea. 6 ants floated to the surface and bobbed like buoys.

This morning as I went into my underwear drawer a cockroach scuttled across my hand. I do believe it might have actually been hiding out inside my folded knickers.

Yesterday when I opened the cereal box for the kids breakfast, the contents of the inside packet was alive. Termites shuffling under toasted wheat flakes and oats like an army of tiny mutant ninja turtles.

Oh, and last night? I found a solitary pellet of gecko poo sitting centre stage on my face flannel.

None of this is novel to me.

I don’t freak out. I don’t jump or scream. I don’t whine – Well okay sometimes I do, but mostly I just pick out the debris, suck it up, and drink my tea.

We always see a spectacular increase in the wildlife here, when the rains arrive. These are the flying termites Esther and Howa collected after a recent downpour.


They fly out of the termite hills and seem to immediately shed their wings and then lie on the floor squirming and cavorting until they are scooped up into a pot and fried. Apparently they are excellent, and full of natural oil so you don’t even have to add fat to the pan.

Yummy, right?

But, I am told one mustn’t take the small ones, because although they are very tasty they will render a person deaf…


I must have looked a little dubious when our housekeeper relayed that particular part of his explanation to me, because he then spent a good few minutes insisting that this was absolute fact and many, many, people have gone completely deaf the moment they ate a small one…

This is one of those ‘facts’ that I pop in my mental box for the curious, amusing and utterly ridiculous.

So now it sits there along with the one about spiritual ancestors living within the bodies of crocodiles. So therefore I have nothing to worry about, and can rest assured that the crocs definitely won’t eat me, or my children.

And the one about, squeezing the colostrum out of a mother’s breast and discarding it, due to colostrum killing babies…

Admittedly that one is really quite a worry.

Oh, and my all time favourite.

‘Victoria Falls was built by the British.’

The power of folklore and story…

And the peril, of a lack of decent education. Or any education for that matter.

Anyway, quite enough of my cynicism.

Malawi is in a state of National Emergency.

We melted for weeks waiting for the rains to come. Everybody was desperate. The heat was intolerable. The first time the skies opened, I was in the supermarket and I watched as Malawians fell to their knee’s, thanking God.

Now the rains have wiped out the maize crops.

Thousands have lost their homes and everything they owned.

Hundreds have died already in flash floods and mud landslides.

25 school children were swept of the road and drowned.

There was one evening where Bails was phoning around personal friends who own boats, because the government rescue boats have holes in, and there were people hanging out of tree’s and no-one could get to them.

We heard 4 people had been eaten by crocs when the river banks burst – That one might be rumor, but it’s not totally unfeasible.

Our housekeeper from our old house, Rose, lost everything one night when a cyclone hit the district she lives in. She just managed to pull her 6 kids out of bed before the house literally crumbled around them, like a scene from The three little Pigs. “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down…”

She needs to start over completely. But she can never afford to build a house with real foundations and structure. So the best she can do is find the money to rebuild what she had in the knowledge that next time a cyclone hits…Poof.

And in a few months time, when there is no harvest, people are going to be hungry.

No-one really knows yet just how bad the situation will be.

Like life wasn’t already hard enough for the people of Malawi.

So my cynicism over the wildlife, coupled with my daily ranting about the fact that my husband has been unavailable to his family for four weeks now, as he works every waking hour co-ordinating the UN’s response to the situation, is of course completely inappropriate.

But that’s okay.

It’s my blog after all.

E. x


About Emily M. Bailey

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