Very early this morning, it was still pitch black so must have been 5ish, there was a gentle knock at the door. I thought I was dreaming! But then another knock, this time louder and I heard Innocent responding with what must have been ‘Who is it’ and then the clanging of the heavy bolts and padlock on the metal door as he made his way outside. I thought there was some kind of emergency when I heard Judith’s and Betty’s voices too, and those of several other people. I was just trying to decide whether I should venture out to see if I could offer assistance when I heard lots of laughter so I stayed put! It had been the neighbours who had woken us to share in their excitement! It was only when I went outside this morning that I saw the 🐜 🐜 drying on sacking in the sun that I realised the flying ants had returned!
Judith explained that the season for their appearance is very short and happens after the drought season when the first rains come. The 🐜 s bury themselves deep in the ground when it gets too hot, make there way out when it cools down and then get eaten!!!
FYI There are three ‘flying ant seasons’, February, May and August/September (so I have been ‘lucky’ this visit!), though with the affects of global warming seasons are changing! These critters provide free protein to a much restricted diet for these people.
I first came across flying ants in 2002 when I first came to Uganda and I was living and working at Maria’s Care Children’s home in Kamuli. Just as last night I woke up to the sound of commotion, caused mainly by the deaf children’s excited squeals as they were non-speaking too. I grabbed my camera as was my habit back then, still is (!) and ventured outside to find children jumping up grabbing something and diving on top of each other with obvious joy! I had a bit of a shock when one child thrust his hand in my face offering me the ‘delicacy’! I wasn’t persuaded but did promise myself I would try ants one day. At least my first taste had been of cooked ones!!