An 8-year-old Chad D. has had a lasting impression on me. Twenty years ago, when I made a rather lucrative teenage living from babysitting, I was preparing a snack for that precocious little boy when he uttered, “they’re only weevils.” My hand was in a bag of bread preparing to make him a sandwich, but the bread was moving and I recoiled in horror.

Ten years later this story floated to my memory as I prepared dinner for myself in a darkened kitchen in rural South Africa. I poured pasta into boiling water and noticed dark flecks floating atop the white foam. I shrugged, stirred, and said to myself, “they’re only weevils.”

I have seldom made my mother laugh as heartily as she does when she recalls my recounting of that moment in a letter home.

Alas, the bane of my Liberian existence is actually ants. Found in various destructive variations there is one tiny breed that infiltrates everything from maggi cubes to sour patch kids (no matter how well they seem sealed or far removed they are hanging.

Of course my most recent run in with the little cretins is my own fault. BushDiva has made it her mission to ant-proof everything and so now we store our sugar in a glass jar with a screw top. We’ve had no problem…but then of course I got distracted one day while making lemonade. I left the lid partially off and returned to find ants by the hundreds plunging one after the other into their granular paradise.


What to do what to do?

Drink the little buggers. And so I do. Tonight a glass of lemonade sits beside me and I sip away on my protein fortified beverage. After all, they’re only…well…they aren’t even weevils, they are only ants!

It isn’t the grossest thing I’ve eaten (a pilchard, mayonnaise and bean sandwich at a South African event beats out mupani worms, weevils, and ants for that glory) or the strangest. Since I’ve been in Liberia I’ve taken on some – we’ll say different – eating norms. Tonight’s dinner consisted of spaghetti with boiled eggs (gotta get my protein) and my new favorite treat is an improvised pad thai courtesy of a friend at Africare (cook ramen noodles in just a small amount of water and mix in the flavor packet with peanut butter, add sautéed onions, garlic, and hot peppers, and a scrambled egg and enjoy). Not bad not bad at all…

Even so…I can’t wait for a big thick juicy rare steak with a loaded baked potato!

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