Wednesday, October 29, 2008

National Geographic Flies

I'm sure you've all seen the National Geographic pictures of those tragic-looking children with tears in their eyes and flies all over their face. You, like I, probably thought, "Why don't they just swat them away?"

That's because African flies are not like American flies at all. Oh, sure, they're about the same size, have six legs and wings, but they're like 500 times more annoying.

In America, even just talking about a fly swatter will clear the room of flies.

Not so here. Here they just don't care. You can bat at them to your heart's content and they just keep coming back for more. Once you become their target they will never leave you alone. They will follow you for blocks, continuously landing on you and buzzing around your head. They aren't shy about entering any body cavities, either: ears, mouth, nose, eyes. You name it, they'll go in it.

And they just won't leave you alone!

I finally got some good National Geographic worthy pictures of Rachel. It's a shame I didn't manage to catch her grumpy face. That would have guaranteed a front page of National Geographic.

We went to Maadi House today and the flies were just everywhere. Rachel was running around the park screaming and I was following her around, batting flies off of both of us. When she had all those flies on her hand, I picked her up, thinking that the movement would startle the flies. Not so. They held their ground and continued to torment Rachel. I took her bread away thinking it would help. It didn't. When the bread was gone they went after her face.

She certainly seemed to getting the brunt of it. It's like they somehow know that since she's smaller she must be less coordinated than I am so attack her first.

I'm kind of nervous, mom...

And this is when Rachel was wriggling her face to try to get the flies off and she almost ate one of can barely see it, right in the corner of her mouth. Yummy.

And this is where a fly flew right into her eye. She was pretty upset about it. Ah, but notice that blasted fly is still on her cheek? Yeah, he just doesn't care that she has her hands up there brushing flies away. He's going to sit where he wants to sit and ain't nobody tellin' him otherwise.

It didn't take us long to decide that what we really needed to be doing was swimming, not standing around getting attacked by flies. So that's what we did. There were a bunch of gross looking bee-wasp-hornet things (one day I will get a sweet picture of these things) but they weren't interested in us. They were just sipping the pool water.

My friend Lydia tells me you can tell it's really winter when there are no more flies around. And then can tell it's spring again when you see more and more flies. Good to know. I wasn't sure if we had seasons here or not. Apparently seasons here are measured in flies.


  1. Wow. I can not complain about the flies we get here anymore. Do those African flies bite? Or just sit and be obnoxious? I guess I shouldn't say "just" because they're probably more annoying than just "just." That probably doesn't make sense...and I am very tired. Bedtime!

  2. They don't bite. They just are obnoxious. It makes me feel as helpless as doggy doo.

    You've seen how American flies treat such a mess--they just swarm all over it and the doo can't do anything to get them to go away.

    That's how it is here for people. Only the fies don't actually eat us...they just eat stuff off of us, I guess. I don't really know what they're doing.

    But, yeah, they're rather obnoxious.

  3. Ugh...I so remember flies like that! It's so disgusting, and you're right-- they won't ever go away!! The worst was when you had a skinned knee or something. Bandaids were a must until the scrap was totally gone! I hope yours disappear soon...

  4. At least they aren't as large as the ones in N.C. I caught one in a 6oz Dixie cup, it's head was at one end and the tail touched the other while the wings curled up and around both sides about 1/2 inch the cup. Only they didn't bothered anyone. But, just for fun you should get a "bug-zapper" tennis racket and enjoy yourself.
    Love ya.

  5. Poor Rachel. Maybe she'll like or wear a hat that has a net around it. It'll protect her face but can't think of what will protect her hands and food.
    Love ya.