Sunday, June 17, 2007

Creepy crawlers

I grew up in Texas where scorpions were not that uncommon of a sight. Never cared for them, and preferred them dead, but mostly we just avoided each other.
Here in Mali we have two kinds of scorpions. A skinny brown one (not much different in size or shape from the kind I grew up seeing in our house). And the large black one. The black one, though, is apparently on average about four to five inches long and armored in a heavy duty, sleak-black exo-skeleton. To me it looks like a scorpion-orc from Lord of the Rings and makes my skin crawl just thinking about it.
After being in the village a few months we got into a conversation about the scorpions (trying to figure out their different names, actually) and our friends told us that both of them, of course, would sting. But one of them did serious damage. It's sting is far worse and can make you swell up like crazy and last for close to a week. Some people when left untreated have even died from it. My thoughts returned to the nasty black orc we caught sneaking into our house during our first few weeks in country. But the Africans are insistent that the big black orcs are almost harmless. They'll sting, but the pain is mild and only lasts a few hours. Some of the boys tried to convince us that they hardly even felt it when they were stung by those. No, its the little browns you gotta watch out for. Either way, I don't think I can convince my instincts that the horrible black orc isn't a serious threat to me. I only wish I had a picture to show you what these things looked like. Well, I take that back. I've seen one one time and I don't really care to see another just so I can take a picture of it for you. You'll just have to trust me.


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