I creep along, slowly and silently inching my way towards my prey, my finger poised and ready to fire. We’re in Kenya, home of big game hunters and spectacular savannah, but my mind is focused solely on my target. I continue to follow, keeping my distance, then my prey settles into a stationary position and I take a single, quiet step to be within firing range. I carefully aim and fire and my target drops to the ground. I move over to where it falls and give it one more shot, just to be sure. The mosquito that had been harassing us all night has finally paid the ultimate price for his sins. I nailed him with a shot of Doom, Kenya’s best-selling brand of Mosquito spray.
Although we had yet to start our 10-day Kenya & Tanzania safari, the theme of predator versus prey greeted our arrival in Nairobi. Arriving at 10 pm after almost 30 hours of jet travel, we were ready to settle into a long slumber. Just after falling asleep, we were all awoken by the annoying, buzzing-whining sound of what seemed like dozens of mosquitoes circling our heads. For whatever reason, our hostel didn’t think it necessary to put mosquito nets in our rooms. The kids tried to catch a few with their hands and we all tried to sleep with our heads under the covers but that proved to be too hot, not to mention difficult to breathe. The first night we alternated between getting munched by the pests and sweating under the covers.
Fortunately, mosquitoes in Nairobi do not carry Malaria, unlike in most of the country, so our problem was merely an annoyance, not a life-threatening scenario. The second night the hostel manager “fumigated” the room about 20 minutes prior to us going to bed, but we had similar problems that night as well. The only reason we fared better that night is because we put mosquito repellent on prior to bed. The third day we decided to take matters into our own hands: we went out a bought a can of Doom. With my new 180ml can of toxic flying insect spray, I was instantly transformed from just another backpacking Dad into a Great White Hunter. I spotted one on the wall and Whoosh! It was dead. Another was trying to hide between the window and the curtains…Whoosh! Gone. After being tormented by the winged pests for the previous two nights, it was great to be able to turn the tables: we had gone from prey to predator.
Despite this mosquito annoyance, we felt like we have been put into the proper frame of mind as start our East African journey.