It was 2am and I was sound asleep, my left hand nestled under my pillow. Then, as if in a dream, hundreds of little feet were wrapping around my left middle finger.
The wriggling and writhing became so real that I awoke with a shriek. From under my pillow, a dark object shot out and moved down the left side of my bed.
Under bright lights, I frantically lifted the mattress, moved the bed, and searched the room, but all in vain. I almost wondered if I had imagined it...
Back to bed, with the mosquito net tucked tightly under my mattress. Then, just as sleep was returning, a rapid tickling sensation moved up the left side of my arm in the direction of the pillow. Another yelp and the lights were back on.
This time the gruesome creature stayed under my pillow where I glimpsed the sleek body and a multitude of legs. My frantic panting was so loud that it woke my housemate, Monica, who sleeps in another room.
Here in Mozambique, the word for breakfast is matabicho, which literally means "kill the beast", due to the fact that one is hungry in the morning, which is likened to a beast in the stomach that needs to killed, and this can be done by eating. Makes perfect sense and it has even become a verb that can be conjugated!
Eu matabichei as 9hrs. - I (ate) breakfast at 9hrs.
Ja matabichou? - Have you already (eaten) breakfast?
Vamos matabichar! - Let's (eat) breakfast!
So there I was panting and pointing to the pillow when Monica came in the room. After assessing the situation, she said to me, "get the matabicho."
I looked at her in disbelief, wondering why, at a time like this, she would ask me to get breakfast. Different breakfast foods went though my mind.
I must have stared at her in silence for about 5 seconds as I puzzled, and I briefly thought about saying, "Let's focus on the task at hand, I'll get you breakfast afterwards."
Then it finally dawned on me that matabicho literally means "kill the beast," and that she was asking me to get the insect spray!
After I finally understood and retrieved the insect killer, we used a plastic container to sweep the aggressive creature into a bucket where we used the spray to keep it from crawling out. Once it was subdued, I did some research to find out what it was.
"Mediterranean Banded Centipede Scolopendra cingulata, better known as the Megarian Banded Centipede. It is one of the smallest members of the family with approximately 10-15 cm length. The venom of S. cingulata is less toxic than the other scolopendrid centipedes, but they are still regarded as fast and aggressive.The scolopendrids are distributed throughout the world in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate climates."
The picture above is what I found on the internet. The pictures below are the ones I took.
Rearing itself up.
Subdued, with a pen.
Thinking it was dead, I left the creature in the bucket with the hopes of taking some close up pictures once I got my nerve back. After 2 days, I looked in the bucket and saw it was moving around!
Realizing that I would need to do something a little more definitive, I took the bucket outside and dumped it on the ground. I then proceeded to pick up a giant rock to crush it.
As I picked up the rock, I felt something and noticed a shape protruding from the rock. So I dropped it, screaming out at the top of my lungs.
On closer inspection, it turned out to be a little mass of my dog's fur.
As the saying goes,
"I discovered I scream the same way whether I’m about to be devoured by a great white shark or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot."
After this final scare, I picked the rock back up and crushed the centipede cutting it into 2 halves, and the next morning I saw teams of ants neatly carrying away the 2 halves.
Here ends the bad and ugly part of this post.
Now the Good!
Monica, from Brazil, has been a learning, loving, and giving here these last 3 months!
At the women's meeting in Picoco.
A new blanket given with love for a new baby.
Monica with the community children.
Would you keep Monica in prayer as she follows God's guidance for her next steps as she returns to Brazil.