0 In Explore/ International Development/ Nicaragua

Have you met my friend(s)?

“Have you met my friend?”

This was the laboured and sleep-deprived response I received from Krystle when I, having abandoned my hammock sometime in the fives (which was an impressive sleep for me given my body’s apparent current sleep strike), found her sleeping outside and upright in a chair instead of inside the thin mattress-supplied room she had opted for in lieu of an outside hammock.

Inside the room, by the light of my headlamp, she pointed to her eight-legged ‘friend’ on the wall and wondered aloud how she could possibly sleep when her thoughts were consumed with tracking the location of her guest. Solid point.

As she opened her mouth to ask if I had met her second ‘friend’, a giant buzzing bee swooped at the light on my forehead and made his own introduction. Despite trying to put her mind at ease and somewhat level the playing field by using my ninja-like reflexes to crush a cockroach that scurried between my feet (although guiltily as it was more likely that we were the unwanted guests), I knew that from now on, she too would opt for hammock sleeping. Despite being exposed in the great outdoors, confrontations of the insect-kind seem somehow less likely to be quite so intimate outside the confines of four walls.

Other jungle friends include the friendly outhouse-dwelling giant locust…


…and the not-so-friendly river dwelling Barba Amarilla (Yellow Beard snake) whose bite leaves a person with about three hours to live. Turns out that these snakes are deadly even when they are dead because the venom takes forty years to break down and even contact with skin could prove fatal. This could explain why the boat driver who killed it hovered nervously around all of us naive Cheles as we posed for photos…


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