Monday, January 18, 2010

Killer Death Ants and Me: Worst Combo Ever

First, come on, blogging three days in a row!? Is this a record? My New Year’s resolution is starting off AWESOME. Let’s hope I can keep this up. J

We all know those people that things just happen to them. Crazy situations abound and the only answer is, “well of course, this stuff only happens to YOU!”

Hi. I’m one of those. Jill Walker, you’ll also especially appreciate this since you’re one of those as well. For all those others who are one of “those”, I hope you also appreciate this.

As blogged previously, I climbed Mt. Sabinyo last Monday. The most memorable part of the climb was not on the way up but, in fact, on the way down. We had almost reached the bottom of the mountain when our armed guard guy stopped to point something out to us.

“Here, you see the mobile insect. It is very very dangerous.”

(Mobile is pronounced like a mobile phone, not Mobile, Alabama. That’s for all you Southerners out there. J)

I had never heard of such an insect. My mind pictured some grossly large insect that he would point out at a distance that, knowing my luck, would probably dive bomb my face. When I got up to where he was, he pointed down to the ground where I saw a line of what I thought were ants.

Me: “These don’t look thaat bad-ooooh, I see.”

They looked like normal ants until one got a closer look to see the scorpion like pinchers on their head.

“Ah, yeah, I can see how those would hurt. Let’s keep going, shall we?”

We continued to walk on until…

“Um, OW!”

The sharp stinging pain on my thigh told me that something was amiss.

*shriek* “Ooww!”

Then came my knee.

Then the back of my thigh.

A quick look into my pants revealed my worst nightmare. The mobiles (aka. Safari ants) had made their way up INTO MY PANTS.

Let me set this scene for you real quick. I’m in the middle of nowhere Uganda on a mountain. I am with three men: the armed guard guy, the porter, and my fellow missionary Al. I have killer pinching stinging ants all up in my pants.

As the stings continued throughout my body, all I wanted to do was to scream and strip off all of my clothing to rid myself of each one of these torturous insects. Let’s go back to that whole being with three males thing. No can do. Every time that I thought I had gotten rid of them and we kept walking, another would strike. Every new look would reveal more that were climbing, stinging and pinching their way up my body. Though they were mainly on my legs, they stung their way through my stomach, arm and more. I would literally have to rip them off my body as their pinchers had sunk in to my flesh. The further we went, the more I began to wonder about the guard’s “very very dangerous” comment.

“Um, so exactly how dangerous are these things? Like, are they poisonous?”

Translation: Am I going to die!?

Armed guard guy (I somehow never got his name) was vague on exactly how they were dangerous. If the “only” danger was the extreme stinging pain that was crossing my body, then I could deal. If I was about to die in the middle of a mountain from venomous scorpion ants, I wanted to be prepared for that…not that I could really prepare but it would have been nice to know if death were near.

At one point, my porter walked me off the trail and said something to the point of, “check yourself”. He spoke little English making moments like that funny…only I wasn’t quite at the laughing stage. The guys were off somewhere and I took that moment to quickly search if any remaining torture agents remained. I didn’t see any but wanted to wait until I was in serious privacy before an extensive search happened. I could just see, after all that, some other random hiking group happening upon me as I “checked” myself.

I couldn’t find a picture of “my” kind of death ant. The one below will give you an idea. Mine were smaller, brown and had a more defined scorpion look. When I’ve asked my Ugandan friends about this, they all express concern about the danger of the ants and the pain. Apparently the kind that attacked me are the ones that they are more familiar with. You can also read wikipedia’s article on them which, at one point, states that there have been reported cases of people—usually the young, infirm, or otherwise debilitated who could not escape—being killed and eventually consumed by them, often dying of asphyxiation” ( Encouraging, right!?

So whenever you’re feeling down about your life and wondering why things can’t be better, hey, at least you don’t have thousands of death ants wanting to consume you. And, at least, you’re not the lone female in a group of men getting attacked my killer death ants. Your day is totally already better. Trust me.


Sharlyn Guthrie said...

You are such a trooper! I think I would have ripped my clothes off, men or no men! What experiences you are having!

Meredith said...

I just got home from Uganda. and this just made me laugh. I am so sorry! TIA! (and I am one of those that things always happen to!)