Arambha

Roosters crowing children growing, got big plans but dirty pants, with kids to teach life is sweet!

Tag Archives: in common

A million?

So today was a blur of trips to the market, last minute project completions, and packing (for Cristina and Kelly anyway). I have stuff on every floor of the house and haven’t even attempted to start gathering it.

So, amidst all our running around, the last of the acoutrements from the old kitchen was moved into the new kitchen. Once everything had been put in its shiny new place, it was time to clean out the old one. This included bug bombing.

We came home from market trip number ?3? to a bluish haze lingering on the front porch and the sick sweet smell of aerosol DEET or some other atomized toxic cocktail. And then, they came. The roaches. They were all over the hallway. All over the office, the living room, Frank’s old room. Luxury suites in the Hotel Cockroach Kopila were selling like hotcakes.

Now, some of you might be freaking out about roaches in a house – but give me a break. We are in a perpetual construction site in a tropical climate, in a house with screen doors that stay closed nary two seconds at a time. The only guaranteed air conditioning we have are open windows. Having grown up in the middle of nowhere in a house that was under construction, I can attest to the impossibility of keeping bugs out of a house. It’s just going to happen.

So – Kelly, Cristina, and I are in the office, printing pictures for the school or something. And Kassoum comes in. She’s such a wonderful, elegant woman. Reserved and demure, but with an open heart and a talent for relating to others. She sits down, and with a slightly perturbed face that is so classically hers, she said…”So many roaches I think.” We nod in agreement, there are a lot of roaches. Then there’s this pause. Not because we don’t want to talk, just because we’re all absorbed in what we’re doing. And Kassoum is translating her next thought:

“A million roaches are dying today I think.”

I hope to goodness that this is funny on a blog, because in the moment it was stomach hurt funny. We all cracked up. Kassoum is not one to embellish, and “million” is such a classic American “throw-away” word, that it just was plain laugh-out-loud, tear up, giggle-till-you’re-beat funny.

We got over it, and then it was time for Kelly and Cristina to make their departure. As we said goodbye to the staff in the kitchen, a lone roach ranger made his way in from the hall. Baju saw him and started flicking him with a newspaper towards the front door. But he kept flying and scurrying around. I remember thinking, man, nothing bothers Baju. She’s awesome. Then he came towards me and Gyanu. She tried to step on him but missed (I don’t fault her, she’s so tiny the damn thing was half her size). Now it was up to me….

One of the things I truly cannot stand is killing roaches. I just don’t like it. I think many people can sympathize with me, so I won’t go into any more detail. But I knew what I had to do. I was the one with the flip flops on. And how could I let down Baju? This was my moment to shine in the spotlight of helpfulness. So I grabbed my flip flop, I whacked…and I missed. But then I whacked again and I got him. And at the point of impact EVERYONE squealed. Not just me, or me and Kelly, or Cristina. EVERYONE. Superwoman Baju, scrappy Gyanu, composed Kassoum, we all squealed, cringed, and turned away.

Some things are just part of the human experience. They aren’t unique to a culture or an ethnic enclave. Things like love, music, and a good laugh are what we all have in common. That and the grossness of squashing roaches.

Me with the A-Team

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