Daily Life, Housing, Kenya, Nairobi
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Bugs

When the prospect of moving to Nairobi first came up, I asked my husband about the bug situation. Would there be a lot of creepy crawlies? What about roaches, would there be roaches? Also, mosquitos find me quite delicious. Would I need to worry about those blood suckers?

I was assured that it wouldn’t be as bad as I was imagining. I am happy to report that what he said was true. (This is evidenced by the fact that I still live here.)

There are some bugs, but not that many. Because of the altitude, Nairobi is cooler and drier than you’d think. It does get hot out in the sun. But it’s not a hot and humid place that makes for a thriving bug population. There are some mosquitos, but very few where we live and Nairobi is not a malaria zone. (The coast is a different story.)

I’ve seen all of one roach, and that, I’m pretty sure, came in from outside and was quickly and easily eliminated. There are a few crickets that like to hang out in the downstairs powder room. I don’t mind them.

Sometimes a fly might come in, and then fly back out. There are a few random bugs. Some of them don’t bother me and I leave them be, especially since they usually just wander back out again like the flies. Some, like that one roach, are killed on the spot.

There are very few bugs. As I mentioned above, this is partly because of climate. Also, we’re two rather fastidiously clean people. (I might have been called OCD.) We also have a cleaning lady come in Monday through Friday. I also pour bleach down all the drains about once every week or two, you know, just in case. There isn’t much to attract vermin. This leads to the next bug topic: spiders.

We have a few spiders. They don’t bite. There aren’t really any cobwebs—our cleaning lady is too good to let any major construction happen. I think the spiders keep the other bugs at bay. Every now and then, if I’ve seen what I feel to be too many random “walk in” bugs, I will have a chat with the spiders and tell them to do their jobs. And then I’ll kill one to send a message.

I realize this is all for my own benefit and that my mob boss negotiations with the spiders mean nothing. However, it’s an interesting evolution in my relationship with the insect world. I’ve gone from worrying about bugs to establishing how and when to coexist with them.

Right now, I need to get up and open a window for a fly who desperately wants to go back outside—and I am happy to give him that exit.

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