Children’s voices and giggles outside my window kept me awake last night, so at 1.30am, I got out of bed to try to work out what was going on. The electricity was off so I stood in the dark in my kitchen and peered out of my second-floor apartment window hoping noone would notice me there in my pyjamas.
The whole street was blacked out, except for one bright light underneath my balcony. As I watched, a lady and two young daughters arrived out of the gloom from the right and disappeared under the concrete balcony out of view. A few minutes later three children appeared from below the balcony and walked, giggling, off into the dark. In the dim light, I could just make out they were carrying bulky black plastic bags full of…. what?
It was so mysterious. Had some kids broken in to the internet cafe below my flat and started looting computers? But the building would be locked, and looting is hardly a family-friendly exercise. Was someone selling something? But why in the middle of the night, on an otherwise deserted quiet street?
Eventually the intrigue got too much and I made Max go to investigate. The answer, was white ants. A plague of white ants had clustered around the light - the only light left on in Gulu (battery-powered, in the middle of an electricity outtage) - and for Gulu locals, that means free food if you can catch them! The ants have huge bodies, and four long thin white-translucent wings. Pick the wings off, dry the ants in the sun, and fry in oil and salt = delicious crunchy insect popcorn. (I’ve tried them, I lied about the delicious bit).