So I am “working” (loosely used term) with the UN in Tete, Mozambique and I have to find a place to stay. The current location of party central in divey hotel wasn’t actually working. Spending nights laying in bed (another loosely used term) listening to bar fights, drunken who knows what and gun shots ringing in the air was not what I would call conducive to getting a night’s sleep. I had just arrived from South Africa where a bomb had gone off in my office building. Feeling a bit PTSD, I would hit the floor of the hotel room every time a gun would go off. Again not conducive to sleep.
So the answer… begin the accommodation search.
Now these were the days of no technology; you just didn’t punch into google and wait for an answer. This meant hitting the pavement. So back in the day, someone knew someone who knew someone who would magically have a place to rent (how American dollars make things happen). This is how I found the house.
Well, when I first saw the house, it looked great. Full of furniture, full of happy people and soon to be full of happy me. I moved in almost immediately.
And then it happened… right away… why waste time. I am getting ready to go to bed and I notice something on the wall. No wait… a few more things than just one something. No wait… the wall appears to be actually moving. Hiding under my mosquito net, I yell for back up. After a quick investigation, it appears that said wall is crawling with my oh so favourite, cockroaches.
Like What Is Going On Here?!
Cockroaches are supposed to scurry around on the floor and be scared of people… hence you see one or two maximum and call it a cockroach day.NOPE… not in this house in Tete, Mozambique… these cockroaches are not following the rules.
Freaking out (at this point mildly) I go to the bathroom and something flies at me. Hits me on the head! OMG it is a friggin cockroach that flies. These are pretty talented cockroaches here in Tete. I go to brush my teeth and one wanders out of the drain. No..no…no… this can’t be happening to me. This is just a cockroach nightmare that I will wake up from. So I head to the toilet as I am sure I need to be sick and there they are… even there, crawling, swimming, and not drowning.
I run back to my bed, check its security, throw down the mosquito net and begin the worst meltdown of my life. Yup… even to this day. I cry, I panic, I swear, I rage,… I will never work with the UN again… I will never live in Africa again… I will never leave Canada again… and so my list goes on.
I radio my “support person” – very loosely used term – the next morning. My Portuguese sucks and this is going to be a war of words and I need someone who can really talk. Not me saying… hello my name is… how are you … stuff. He arrives and I show him the evidence. He agrees this might be a bit extreme. He calls the owner of cockroach torture house.
They arrive. They see it as no big deal.
WTH? I LOSE IT! I do a major freak out which probably kind of scares them and they agree to give me part of my 500 dollars back. I think I paid around 200 bucks that night for the privilege of this nightmare. Needless to say, I am now terrified of even one little baby cockroach; I swear every time I see one, I will never travel again.
Ha Ha Who am I kidding?