Saturday, May 18, 2013

Creepy Crawlers

This is an untold story from my time in Zimbabwe that I am sharing for my friend who recently had a near heart attack from a spider in her car. So, miss Aylin, this story is dedicated to you.

When I first arrived in Zimbabwe I was pleasantly surprised by my cozy little room where I would stay for the majority of my time there. Although it was well-kept and clean, as I walked through the small lodge I noticed that there were spiders...everywhere. Big black spiders, many easily the size of my fist when taking into account their long legs. During the evenings I would sit in the common area and out of boredom would count the spiders hanging on the walls. One evening I counted 17 in the one small room. Like I said, they were everywhere.

Immediately Tecla told me, "Do not kill the spiders. They are not dangerous, and they kill other things that are dangerous." I am not really creeped out by creepy crawlers, and if I was I had more important things to worry about, such as centipedes, scorpions, and snakes which also seemed to greet me on a regular basis.

So, I trusted Tecla, went a month ignoring the spiders, and they seemed to ignore me. That is, until one evening as I settled into bed I spotted a humongous spider on the wall, right by where I laid my head to sleep. I had been pretty accommodating, but this spider, my friends, was pushing the limits. I grabbed my shoe and took a quick swipe at him. I kid you not he lunged toward me before I even knew what was happening.

That is the point that the predator became the prey, and I discovered the spider was out for my life.

As he chased me around the room, one shoe on and the other in my hand (leaving my other barefoot vulnerable) I jumped and dodged from the bed to the chair and back again, apparently shrieking and squealing with each close call. In a few short moments the night guard, Dumisani, was knocking at my door. (Dumisani deserves an entire post of his own...he was my protector, prayer warrior and friend. Shortly after I left he passed away, but I am so happy and blessed that I had the opportunity to know him).

Dumisani helped me corner the little sucker and together we escorted him to creepy crawler heaven. I went to bed and slept peacefully, but awoke to find that during the night one of the spider's friends sought revenge on me for their fallen comrade. Tecla was right, the spiders weren't seriously dangerous, but I was left with a pesky little bite that had me doped up on Benadryl for the entire day.

After the bite I realized that these were not your average spiders. These spiders had sent me a message. They would allow me to stay peacefully if I did the same for them. I am pretty sure it was no coincidence that the only bite that I got was the same night of my only spider killing.

Message received.

I continued living with the spiders almost peacefully. There was some tension during the weeks that I stayed in another home with a thatched roof, sleeping with a sheet over my head so no spiders (or other creepy crawlers) would fall from the roof and into my mouth in the middle of the night (which I am happy to say was a strategy that proved successful). And then, of course, there was the spider in the shower incident, but I will leave that to your imagination. For the most part, though, we continued on in our peaceful truce.

That is until my mom came to visit.

As my mom and the visiting ministry team walked through the lodge someone commented on the spiders. I warned them, as Tecla did for me, not to kill the spiders. In addition I added an additional caution that if you leave them alone they'll do the same for you, but if you try to kill them they will attack. I heard a few giggles, restated my concern -this time with more urgency, heard full on laughter, and decided to leave them to their fate.

I kid you not it was that very evening as I was walking down that hall that I heard shrieks and squeals coming from my bedroom. I opened the door to find my mom on the run, shoe in hand, in full-on escape mode. 

Funniest moment ever. I was laughing so hard that all I could say to was, "I told you so."

I believe that evening Dumisani once again came running to the rescue, but this time both spider and human somehow managed to survive unharmed.

And that is how memories are made.

So, my friends, a word of wisdom: If you ever visit Zimbabwe, let the spiders be. 


Aylin Brandt said...

Oh My Goodness! I think I would have died. I will make sure never to visit Zimbabwe now ;) This story totally puts mine in perspective, btw.

And it came at perfect timing, too. I've been having a really bad morning and the picture of spiders chasing you around the room definitely helped me laugh today. Thanks :)

Linda Roy said...

Ok, Becca! I do have to respond to this post since I am involved in this one! It makes me smile that I gave you laughter with the attack of the spiders! I also remember that a couple of the people that traveled with me to Zimbabwe, also had their experiences in the shower with spiders leaping on them!
Dumisani should have his own page of stories in remembrance of him since he also saved my life from the centipede. Dumisani was a God send and well appreciated. I found my photo album and will send you his picture to post, and let you tell the story. I do remember the very first night with you in Zimbabwe where I just jumped into bed and you walked in a said "did you pull back the covers and sheets first to make sure there are no centipedes in the bed? I had a hard time sleeping that night!! You also made me aware to use a flashlight and always have flip flops on when getting up at night since the centipedes were extremely poisonous. Even with all the natural "dangers", I cherish the time in Zimbabwe and my heart desires to return one day. My heart also joins yours in the love for the people there, even though my stay was so much shorter than yours. What a blessing to come and join you and support you in the mission God gave you to do, spiders and all!

Kayla said...

Oh. My. Goodness. I just want to say right now that I hope God never calls me to go to Zimbabwe. I just cannot handle having spiders around me, out in the open, like that. Peaceful or not. Ugh.