This post is dedicated to Leonie who is discovering this little Dakar tidbit!

Before the  truly hot days arrive.

Before the muggy stillness sets in.

Before the sweat begins to run.

Before the first drop of rain falls.

Before the heat of the night suffocates.

They show up. Uninvited and unwelcome. They appear in the corners, the drains, the sinks, the tubs…

Big, nasty cockroaches.

At first I thought it was a problem with the house we lived in, but then we moved and they were here too. Then I heard people lament over their appearance and breathed sighs of relief that it wasn’t just us / frustration that there wasn’t a good way to get rid of them.

My parents came to visit and during one of my gripe sessions about the nasty cockroaches, my dad told me that what we have here aren’t actually ‘cockroaches’ but ‘palmetto bugs’, which are also known as ‘water bugs’. Somehow this made them seem a little less gross. Just a little. It also made me feel better that they are not the ‘hissing cockroaches’ found in Madagascar or the ‘death’s head’ variety that give off an odor when frightened.

Score one for Dakar! Our bugs don’t hiss or stink. Maybe we should use that in tourism ads?

Based on Facebook status updates from friends here in Senegal (and one particularly horrifying story from a friend who found one lounging in the bubbles of her bath!), I think it’s time to declare that these ‘palmetto bugs’ are baaack. Which means hot season isn’t far behind. But let’s deal with one trial at a time, okay?