Swaziland has opened my eyes to many new things. I have a newfound love of ice water and mangoes. Learning siSwati has introduced a culture of depth and tradition. I have also taken a special interest in the small critters I see in the rural community.
Apparently, this is a thing for PCVs in many countries. A PCV in Mozambique organizes and curates an Instagram account (@woahinsecto) featuring insects from all over the world. Growing up in an urban environment, I found insects to be a nuisance. When I did journey to more rural places on family vacations, the insects were huge and had stingers that left itchy bumps. The only insect that had redeeming qualities was the firefly because it lit up the summer sky.
I’ve seen creatures here that are truly stunning. Some of the tiny critters are extremely hairy. Other critters are incredibly colourful. A couple of weeks ago, I was at school heading to class when I saw the critter pictured above. I thought it might jump when I got close, but it didn’t. It did start walking away. Luckily, I was able to get close enough to snap this picture.
Be kind to yourself.
P.S. – According to @woahinsecto, the creature above is the Pygromorphidae and their colors are a warning to predators that they are chemically protected!
When I’ve perused various forums and blogs, I noticed that one big concern for some future PCVs and those considering Peace Corps is bugs. There’s the “but what do I do if there’s a (insert scary bug here)” question. I hadn’t given much thought to my own possible reaction. That is until this past Friday.
I was sitting on my porch enjoying a nice, early summer Friday evening when I noticed something. A spider. To be fair, I’ve seen spiders before. I saw them as a young boy and occasionally in my adult life. I’ve encountered spiders and other things (lizards, flying insects, etc.) inside my home here in Swaziland. This spider was different. It is the biggest and hairiest spider I’ve ever seen in real life. Suddenly, my Friday evening arrives at a decision point. Do I:
A. Kill the spider?
B. Name the spider and keep it as a pet?
C. Redirect or relocate the spider?
D. Go inside?
E. Do nothing?
If you guessed (D.), you would be correct. I have no idea what kind of spider it is, whether it bites, or its overall danger. The spider seemed to be having a fine Friday evening. I wouldn’t want to ruin the spider’s evening because I didn’t want to share the great outdoors. Live and let live.
Be kind to yourself.
P.S. – if you didn’t do it early (and you’re eligible), be sure to vote tomorrow! #DCStatehood