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Ants in my pants

Jul 23 • 896 views • 9 Comments Africa, Diary of a Muzungu, East Africa, Kampala, Travel, Uganda, Volunteering

It’s been building for a fortnight: a column of tiny black ants marching up and down the tiles behind the toilet cistern, 24 hours a day, the dotted black line slowly becoming a solid black line.
Yesterday I noticed ants on my toothbrush. And this morning a big trail of them was marching up outside the house straight from underneath the drain cover – “and we all remember what was under there!”

From drain to toothbrush = NOT GOOD!

Simpson said he didn’t have any ants in his room this morning. But this evening he borrowed the ant powder. Just walked into the bathroom and there’s over a hundred of them running the length of the bath into my toiletries bag. It’s full of them, eating what: plasters? eye shadow? or cream for insect bites? (that’d be ironic!)

We’ve had everything else, now apparently it’s Ant Season! (I won’t be seeing you next July then Ana!! Ana – in Portugal – can’t stand ants).

“Michael Jackson is dead” notice on one of the many blackboards that line exterior walls of Ggaba teacher training college. Few schools have electricity / PCs / overhead projectors so trainee teachers have to practice writing with chalk on boards.

Seems my Ugandan running career is prematurely over. My knee injury (slight tear to lateral minuscus), although not serious now, could be if I carry on running. Plans to run my first 10k in November are therefore unlikely.

I’m not allowed to dance either! Woe is me.

I’m enjoying work (mostly!) Things do take forever though:
- 2 months to get damp and rotten wardrobe seen to so I could unpack
- 4 months to get Outlook installed and running properly
So in scheme of things, 6 months recuperation for knee isn’t surprising … but h
aving to deal with frustrations and delays in all areas of your life simultaneously is hard though.

Success here is counted in small ways. Sometimes you just have to be grateful if you have electricity and everyone comes to work!

Last week is a good example:

Sunday
No elec all day (maintenance or shortage? Most of the Kampala grid was off)


Monday – Wednesday
No elec in compound thanks to useless landlord not paying last year’s bills.

Thursday
  • Colleagues both at a funeral (relative died of a snakebite. He lived in countryside nr Tanzania not Kampala!)
  • Luganda lesson cancelled
  • Mobile network down
Friday
Office phone out of order (and still is five days later …)

No elec of course means no landline phone or internet too, at home or in office.

[Photo: having the elec disconnected in Uganda involves climbing the pylon, untying (literally!) the cable, coiling it up, and throwing it into back of lorry and driving off].
And this was Monday morning! I had to laugh, nowt else for it :)

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9 Responses to Ants in my pants

  1. lizziema says:

    oh dear it's raining ants now! Are they big? Do they have a bite too? Very sorry to hear about the knee, especially for the dancing as I know how we (you me and Sarah) have to dance. It's in our genes! As for the electricity, it makes our 13 hour power cut the other month seem absolutely nuffink! Is this good character building stuff? Will you come home and find the Underground really quite nice and comfortable even though it may be sweaty?

  2. Charlie says:

    Ants are tiny and don't bite and wouldn't worry me but for germs they spread.
    I don't think anything of a power cut now. YO just learn to make sure phone / laptop / camera batteries are always charged. Luckily VSO office is a nice 20 min walk away so I head up there to recharge if needs be.
    What irks is having to completely reorganise your whole day when elec goes, cos you never know when it'll be back – in 10 mins, an hour or 3 days!

  3. PA says:

    Hi Cha. Think I've cracked it this time but won't say much until I am sure! Sorry about the ants in your pants (could be worse?!). Much love. PAXXXPA

  4. PA says:

    OK that went through so it now looks easy – only taken me 4 months! Didn't realize I would be able to see Mum's as well which is helpful and just for the record I can dance in my genes too – hee, hee. The unpredictability of a mobile signal in these parts drives me into a frenzy sometimes so I feel really sorry for you and the elec/mobile outages. Of course its a wonderful excuse for those who prefer to dodge their duties and I mean over here as much as over there! And that makes me even madder!

    Had a nice email from Suzie today (responding to a nice one I sent to her!)and I think we shall gradually rebuild something albeit not to what it was. "Half a love is better than none?".

    Just started reading a John Updyke ("The lovers") partly because his obituary alerted me to his work and reinforced by your Christmas gift. I found this book on our shelves but we don't know whence it came. From you perchance? Anyway I am enjoying it so far – nicely scandalous, yum,yum!

    I did write to you about Simpson (great name isn't it?) but haven't heard back from you yet. Don't mind a delay but I hope it hasn't gone missing. If I don't hear back from you in a day or two I'll resend I guess.

    Love you darling

    PAXXXXXXXXXXXXPA

  5. lizziema says:

    Jennie Mann is with me and is looking at your sensational blog (her words) mesmerized by the insect life and yours with them How do you survive this Charlotte? Are there any snakes nearby? if so that would entirely do me in. It's wonderful to hear of the work that you are doing both Chris and I send you lots of love and think you are very very courageous. "Thank you for doing it"!

  6. sjwaller says:

    Hi Charlie

    This is the 3rd time I have tried to reply. Only wanted to say that I get uptight when I have one ant in my jam!!!! Things here slowly getiing better. Take care Sally

  7. Charlie says:

    hi all tx for all the comments, I love logging on to hear from you all, it means so much to me :)
    hmmm, snakes, well they're rarely seen but I do have a couple of stories to share! On a blog nr you soon … x x x

  8. sjwaller says:

    Cant wait – have a few slimy snakes near me but wont go into that!!!!

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