Centipedes, rats and Other Fun Things Crawling About
Everyone always complains about the horrible centipede. It comes out of nowhere and attacks you. The extra strength Mortein bug spray does not even kill it, unless you spray for a long time. Many of my friends send me text messages about their encounters with this horrible insect, and I pretend that I understand what they were going though, but in truth I didn’t.
For a year I pretended I knew what the centipede looked like. Everyone has had dozens of them around their house, that creep into their mosquito net and hid among their clothes. Rachel is always telling me about her fears. Some days she is scared to leave her bed since she sees a centipede lurking around her room. Often, when she visits others, she is awoken in the night to see a centipede crawling in the room.
For an entire year I have heard the terrors from others, but surprisingly never saw one. It might be because I am not as observant, but I would like to think I was just lucky.
Then, last night, my year long streak was broken. My brothers friends were over the house watching a movie while me and Iosefa were playing cards, when something began creeping under the carpet. (Note to readers, carpet in Samoa is different than carpet elsewhere. Carpet here is anything that covers the concrete. It is mainly the nylon (I think it is nylon) sheets that come in rolls. Carpet can be found everywhere, including cars.) One of the boys lifted up the carpet, and sure enough a centipede was there. He put the carpet back down and began smashing the lump with a shoe. (Centipedes are dangerous to the touch.) After 20 seconds of constant hitting, he lifted it up again and the centipede was still there alive. It took about 15 more hits until we finally declared victory.
I learned that centipedes are as huge and disgusting as everyone described. I think it was about 2 and one half inches long and chubby. They are too big a creature for me not to notice for an entire year, especially when everyone else residing elsewhere sees them constantly.
Now that I have had my first experience with them, I am done. I am ready to wait another year to see them again.
Besides, I do come across other things that I wish I didn’t see in my house. Rats are everywhere, including in my bed. I sometimes here them in the box spring, and hope they would just go away and leave me alone. Usually they do, and I don’t hear them for a few days. However, a few nights ago I saw one crawling on my laundry line. (When you don’t have a closet you have to make due, I have string strung up around my room to hang my clothes on. I used to keep them folded in a suitcase but ants, or other creatures were eating them. I got sick of having too many clothes have holes in them.) I closed my eyes, hoping it will go away in my sleep. That didn’t work. About ten minutes after I felt something touch me in my bed. I let out a little shriek and started to make as much noise as possible. Thankfully the rat stopped making noise, or left because I did not hear it the rest of the night.
Often the rats keep me up at night. I hear them make noise in my room, or elsewhere, and they are loud. I know rat and mouse traps might slow down this problem, but my room has too much access to outside. Although my room has all four walls, the walls are a thin sheet of some sort of metal. Over the metal, is mats (either to provide some insulation, or for decoration.) It is very easy for rodents to access my room.
Another insect living in my room is the ugly cockroach. I used to hate these creatures. Now, since there are so many of them everywhere, and it is impossible to kill them all, I tolerate them. Like the centipede, they are nearly impossible to kill. You have to whack them several times for them to begin to give up their life and slow down their movement. About a minute late of constant stepping on them, they finally will die. If I can, I try to terminate them. However, if there is no object around for me to smooch them with, I just let them live. The only real bad encounter I’ve had with them, is when sleeping on the floor. A few times they have visited me under my lava-lava while sleeping on a mat. (Not an enjoyable sleeping partner!)
Of course I still have many ants in my room, thankfully they have stopped eating my computer, and rarely crawl on me in my sleep.
There still are many mosquitoes, but I seem to only get bitten when I am in certain places, such as sitting in the office at school, or in the Seventh Day Adventist Church, or certain other places outside of my village. Because I know where I can expect them, I usually neglect to put on my bug spray (hoping of course that Dengue stays far away from me).
The cute little clear lizard (pili) also resides in my room. I enjoy watching them as they are as cute as can be. The only problem I have with them, is when they have to go to the bathroom. Twice it has landed on me!
The last creature that can be found in my room, that I know about, is spiders. Since spiders eat other bugs, and aren’t poisonous in Samoa, I try to keep them around. (Besides there really aren’t too many of them.) Recently a giant one was found in my room. He was hiding under my suitcase, and ran off as soon as he saw me.
The creepy crawlers are still everywhere, but I have learned to cope without spraying that horrible insect spray everywhere. I hate the smell of the toxic chemicals, especially since the smell lurks around forever. Coexisting seems like the best philosophy.