Archive for January, 2010

Siafu

January 6, 2010

them_giant_ant

August 1998     Mbweni, Tanzania

My NYC girlfriend Pia and I had just abandoned a failed expedition through Zambia and Tanzania, and set off backpacking on our own for a couple more months.  After a great safari through Ngorongoro crater, and a Kilimanjaro summit that got pretty dangerous, we made our way to the coast to indulge in a  few weeks of things we could not find inland, such as fresh fish, fruit, beach time, a break from the tsetse flies.

During the previous three months of camping out in the bush, we had run-ins and paw-prints outside the tent from the usual suspects:  hyenas, lions, hippos, a cobra, parasites, scorpions and thieves, but the one that commanded the most attention was the army ants, known in Swahili as “siafu.”  Pia reacted with cartoonish fear to any African ants, but this kind in particular are not to be trifled with.  Ah, but I rolled the dice. (more…)