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Natasha Jamal ,
Carleton University Student


Natasha Jamal's Blog


So about only hearing reactions to the roaches, and never seeing any myself…. Not so much!!!! I guess I spoke too soon!

I woke up on Thursday morning to the sounds of Vanessa and Kurt slapping cockroaches in our bathroom. Between every slap of the slipper, I would hear Vanessa : “There! [smack] And there! [smack] There’s another one! [smack smack smack] Oh sick! There! [smack].” I was too lazy to get out of bed, but the commotion was entertaining, so I lay awake listening, and laughing to myself. I remember hearing Kurt pick one up in a Kleenex and complain: “eew that one was warm!” That was it! Now very disgusted, I decided I was going to go back to bed. Enough of this!!!

Yeah… again, not so much!!!!! I had barely shut my eyes, when Hadeel’s voice echoes throughout the house. She couldn’t stop yelling: “Ohhhhhhhhhh  my God! Oooohhhh my Gooooooooooooooooooddddddd!!!,” followed by another series of eews, sicks, and smacks! I had to get up and see, for myself, what was happening. I walked into Hadeel and Sagal’s room – they were curled up under their covers, half in tears, their eyes wide, and almost in disbelief!). Kurt and Vanessa were in their bathroom, killing more roaches. I decided I had been saved too long. I was going to, for my first time, see these infamous roaches, that were apparently taking over our house. BIG MISTAKE!!!! I didn’t see one or two!! I must have seen FIVE!!!!!! And they were HUUUGGEEE!!! – the ones that are so big, their body and heads are separated… eewww! And one was silver!!!!!! Since when have there been shiny, silver roaches?

So this is what really happened – aside from what I heard from my room. Vanessa was in the bathroom, when she saw one or two crawling around. So she went and got the DOOM, and began to spray this drain on the floor, where they were coming out of. Apparently, the DOOM doesn’t actually kill the roaches (it is rumored that they can even survive atomic bombs!!!!!). They try to get away from the insecticide, so swarms of them started coming out of the drain. Kurt must have killed 25 in our bathroom!!! All the while, Hadeel and Sagal were, like me, secretly humored by the commotion! Eventually, Hadeel decided she was going to get up, and opened her bathroom door. When she turned on the light, she saw 6 cockroaches, beside the bathtub, just chillin’, hanging out, having a party! And then came the yells and screeches as she slammed the door shut, and held it shut, as if the cockroaches were going to run after her and try force the door open! Another 25-ish cockroaches were killed in this bathroom – a grand total of FIFTY!!!!!!!!! 50 f****** cockroaches, 2 hours of hell!!!!!!! Oh! And after the bathroom, some miraculously ended up in Hadeel and Sagal’s ROOM! They saw, during the course of the day, another few crawling around. One was even skilled enough to climb up Hadeel’s mosquito net! Eew! Eew! Eew!

Needless to say, we all got the hell out of the house really fast! And tried to stay out as long as possible. The house-help found more of these ghastly creatures while we were gone, and got rid of them before we got home. When we got home, all seemed quiet. We didn’t see anymore, and the memory of the morning was slowly fading from our minds. Now that I think about it, though, I don’t think that memory will ever fade completely! Just thinking about that morning makes me twitch with disgust!

So, a peaceful evening passed, and at night we decided to go to a lounge/restaurant/bar called Passadina. It had been a rough day, and we needed to wind down! We got to the place, and just as we were about to sit down, a cockroach crawled across our table and scuttled away. Are you frikin kidding me???????? They are haunting us! I am convinced!!!!! But we weren’t going to let this ruin our night, so we got over it. It wasn’t that big anyways. I can handle little ones. A little into our dinner, Linda (co-worker) came by. We began telling her about our day, when all of a sudden she said, almost casually, “Look! There is another one!” Impulsively, everyone shrieked and pulled their legs up onto the couches. She was right. ANOTHER one (this one was a biggie!) ran across the floor infront of me. Even while I write this, it all seems so surreal. How could I have gone from not seeing anything in two weeks, to seeing more than fifty in one day!!!! And as if that wasn’t enough – all of a sudden, Linda yelled and swatted something out of her hair! A COCKROACH HAD LANDED ON HER HEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and we saw it crawl away! It was HUGE! Where did it come from???? She said something about how they supposedly fly… but I will NOT believe that! I can’t! And what’s worse…. I was sitting where she was. I had moved when my dinner came. BUT THAT COULD HAVE BEEN ME!!!!! Ahhhhhhhh!!! Oh yeah, we saw another one, too. A HUGE one. The waitress had to come kill it and take it away.. far, far away! By this time, Hadeel was literally in distress. She was seriously fighting back the tears. Even for someone who lived in Nairobi, with its own share of cockroaches, I was pretty disgusted!!!!

Lol, the next day, Hadeel called Jerome – a Belgian who might rent out the house we are living in, and getting evicted from – to do him a service, and tell him about what he was getting into: “It was cockroach pandemonium. We killed fifty cockroaches. Fifty Jerome, fifty!”

I haven’t seen any cockroaches since, although, I think I saw my fair share for the rest of my life that morning. But I am here two more weeks… so lets see how long I stay on this lucky streak….!


July 14, 2006 — Motors, cockroaches, Cold showers and the toughest meat I have ever chewed...!

Here I am... a little over a week into my Rwandan experience. Having spent the first two months of my summer in Nairobi, I thought I was pretty prepared for anything Kigali was going to hit me with. Was I ever wrong!!!!

Let's start with the good stuff.. that's the most important.

GOOOO MOTORBIKES!!! They're cheaper than cabs, and only slightly more expensive than local buses. And only the most fun I have ever had in my entire life!!!!! What's a speed limit? When I am lucky, I get the crazies - weaving in and out of traffic, stopping ever so briefly at intersections, and trying to con me out of ridiculous amounts of money, before giving in to my bargaining. Sometimes, I race everyone else in my head, subconciously pushing my motor driver to overtake the housemates. Sometimes, I think he hears me!!!! Oh, motors!

OK now to the housing experience, dominated by cold showers and cockroaches. I have been lucky - haven't seen any cockroaches, so far (although, on several occasions, I have heard Kurt [the man, and token white guy of the house], grab a slipper and run to the bathroom, followed by screams and sentiments of disgust from the girls!)

Cold showers, however, are something none of us can... well, could... hide from. I dreaded, every day, the THOUGHT of having to shower in ice-cold water. During every shower, I would curse and swear that I was never going to put myself through it again... until the next day, when the process repeated itself. UNTIL... we heard word of a solution.

It was to fill about 1/4 of a kitchen pot with water, and wait 20 minutes for it to boil. Then, bring this boiling hot water-filled pot to the bathroom, and mix it with cold water. The shower is really not a shower any more. It is more like a cup-your-hand-to-use-this-water-from-the-pot-to-wash-the-soap-off-your-body thing! Washing your hair still involves sticking your head under the cold, cold, cold water tap. Refreshing.....

MEAT!!!!!!! I have never chewed tougher meat in my life! And I am not being sarcastic. Everytime we go to a new place, I have a false sense of hope that this time, it is going to be different. This time, it will be chewable! - still haven't had any success :(. The other day, there was beef for dinner at home. At the end of the meal, I noticed one tooth was really sore, and it was a little wiggly. The next day, the entire tooth, including the root, and my gum, was throbbing. I was convinced I needed to get it removed! I endured this pain for about 3 days,and now it seems to have healed. My tooth seems to have been re-embedded in my gum, thankfully... although I still keep all the chewing to the other end of my mouth!





July 14, 2006 — Motors, cockroaches, cold showers and the toughest meat I have ever chewed...!


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