Saturday, 17 November 2012

Veranda Safari

It's Saturday. I have spent the day on the veranda!
Life has turned so far round for me, that these days I find the weekends the hardest part of my week. Gone is that yearning I used to have for the 'weekend' to arrive. Now I find myself looking forward to Monday morning!
The hardest part of moving from England to Burundi has not in fact been the food, or the unwanted wildlife or the isolation of being unable to speak the language. It has been leaving my family behind.
This Saturday has been especially difficult as yesterday I missed my son's (JohnAlex) Passing Out Parade. After 26 gruelling weeks of training he is now a Navy PTI (Physical Training Instructor). Being a proud mum 100's of miles away is a bit hard.
So back to Saturday. A day that was threatening to eat me up with misery and self-pity. I have been 'blessed' with some great distractions on the veranda. I am a woman of routine. One of my 'routines' is to come out onto the veranda every morning to have breakfast. Obviously on week days, I leave the veranda and go to school. But Saturdays if there is nothing else to do, I seem to stay here all day!
First thing I find this morning, is some grasshopper carnage.
These appendages were actually spread further, but for better visual effect on the camera I had to move them. It brought to mind an incident from the day before. Elijah, no not the biblical one who was taken into heaven. Elijah from Year 6, Kings School, brought in this lovely grasshopper for me to see. I think because he has become accustomed to my strange desire to photograph all things creeping and crawling. I grab my camera and 'shoot'. "You're not holding it too tightly, are you." I ask Elijah. He looks a little sheepish. "We don't want it to die." Elijah's sheep impression becomes even more pronouced. I look a little closer at the grass hopper. There is something not quite right about it. Elijah then confesses, that he and an accomplice have in fact already pulled off it's back legs! I thought I might burst into tears. I think Elijah thought I was going burst into tears. He was starting to bleat. I marched Elijah off, grasshopper in hand to confront the accomplice and deliver an I-don't-care-what-you-usually-do-in-Burundi-that-is not-acceptable speech. Maybe I was wrong to, but it seems to me to be universally cruel, to pull legs off living creatures. Now electrocuting cockroaches, that's a different matter entirely, of course!!
Back to Saturday. So I'm faced with more legless grasshoppers, when I turn and discover a fully limbed, living grasshopper on the door to the veranda. Click. Next discovery, a 5inch Praying Mantis on the other door. Click. Click. ....Click ......Oh joy for digital cameras!
Finally, a glance at the ceiling reveals a large dragonfly, sheltering from the rain.
On a slightly more ominous note, the ceiling also revealed a tiny but very dangerous insect. A Nairobi fly. These little black and red flies are full of acid. Many of the African children have quite serious scars, where they have swiped one off their skin, only to squash it and have the acid burn them. Stepping on them with bare feet, is not recommended either.
Back to Saturday. The rest of my day has been punctuated by little safaris from the veranda around the garden and back again. The day has trickled by, and I've seen more new sights and continued to experience the awe of God's creation. I've faced my giant, Homesickness, but I think I won. Thank you God, for a Praying Mantis!

 Photos all taken on my garden safaris. Full album on FB as it takes ages to download on here (sorry to non-FB users)

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