Benguela is a tropical climate and it’s not a huge surprise that when the lights go out a secret kingdom of giant cockroaches emerges in the kitchen at the house here. There is no plumbing under the kitchen sink so water and food particles just fall to the concrete floor below (seriously) which leaves a nice smorgasboard for the critters (in addition to creating a nice rain-like sound effect). I’ve tried to inspire a conversation about serious fumigation efforts, but since that involves buying something and since my organization doesn’t have any money I’m resolved to just live with the critters for now. I’ve gotten pretty good at stomping on them (after the initial shock of their sheer size wore off), which isn’t easy as they can sense the arrival of the bottom of my shoe and scurry around in erratic patterns to make it difficult. That just makes it all the more satisfying when I do nab one, and I’ve started to keep a tally just for kicks. I’m up to 8 so far this week.
More impressive are the cockroach population control tactics of a certain species of lizard that also inhabits the kitchen. The Portuguese name for this animal is the “jacaré da parede”, or, literally, “crocodile of the wall”. They are gecko-ish white animals that blend in to the wall and move suddenly, which usually makes your heart stop for second before you realize what’s happening. I was hoping these animals had an appetite for cockroach, and one Sunday afternoon I came home to proof that my wishes had been granted. I have no idea how this particular gecko managed to catch this particular cockroach, but I arrived in time to watch the feast. I have a feeling Mr. Gecko didn’t need to eat for awhile after digesting this meal, but I hope he’s hungry again soon and brings his hungry gecko family with him. It was a cheap thrill but hey…you take your entertainment however you can get it here. Enjoy!