Friday, October 21, 2011

Island Life, Part 1

I live on a tropical island.

It's true.

Lingira Island is found on the world's largest tropical lake, Lake Victoria, and is just north of the equator. We have days and weeks and months of sunshine, with the only occasional cloudy and/or rainy day. The rain here comes and goes quickly.

A birds-eye view of the island. "Lingira" means "peeking" in Luganda. :)

We have pretty much the same amount of daylight year-round. Out here there are a number of varieties of colorful and unique birds, as well as many species of flora and some fauna. A gentle breeze often cools the air. Big puffy clouds float across the sky and the evenings often close with brilliant sunsets, ushering in the star-studded nights.

"Island" Collage

Now if the words "tropical island" conjure up images of swaying palm trees and me sunbathing on a beach with a cold drink in my hand, well, let me clarify. By the way, there are no palm trees here.

I love the island - it is peaceful, beautiful and some of my favorite people live here. But life here is interesting.

For instance, take the last 24 hours. Once darkness settled yesterday evening, so came the "plague" of lake flies. These seasonally gnat-like creatures "crave" light. They swarm by the thousands (maybe millions!) around any light they can find - porch light, flashlight, phone, etc. After eating dinner (and probably a few of the critters in the process) I took refuge in my semi-dark bedroom and went to bed early. I dared not turn on any light. (Note: I wrote about lake flies in Feb. 2010 in this post.)

This morning their little bodies were scattered across our floors. Sweeping and swiping away the cobwebs became a tedious job as these wispy bugs flew about.

In front of Andy and Karina's house, I carted away probably a dozen buckets of these greenish, smelly things. It looked like a small snowstorm had hit the Smith home, but it was only...bugs.

 The small "mountain" of lake flies I removed by the bucket-full from in front of the Smith home. My shoe is there for perspective.

Bugs are everywhere here. Do not dare leave any food out or the small, army-like ants will quickly locate it and call in for back-up troops. The island's strange-looking critters also include crickets with long antennas, flat spiders, flying beetles and bees that resemble B-24 bombers.

Industrious wasps called mud-daubers fly about literally building little mud houses everywhere (including on clothes, on books, on walls, on just about anything). They then lay their eggs inside and stock the little house with dead spiders for their young to feed on. Can I just say yuck?

 Mud-dauber "houses" built in the corner of a room.

Then this morning while cleaning up the obnoxious lake flies, my right foot came in contact with an iron sheet (used for roofing here), cutting the base of my small toe. By the amount of blood dripping off my foot, I suspected the cut was deep and called for Mama O, a trained nurse. She came and quickly attended to my foot, cleaning it and applying "plasters" - band-aids.

Now with my right foot in a sock to keep it clean, I am hobbling about, sorta.

For any of you planning a trip to the island, don't let this post scare you. There are many other interesting, but good things, about my little 'ol tropical island, but they will be unveiled in future posts.

Now, let me get back to my book and cold drink...

P.S. Did you know that the word "insect" comes from a Greek word meaning "cut into sections." Strange.
 (Source: Wikipedia)


  1. Wow--what a fun glimpse into your surroundings! :o) Thanks for the descriptions, Ruthie..Lingira looks quite pretty!

  2. I enjoyed looking at all the pictures! Thanks for sharing. The island looks really cool.

  3. Lucia, thank you for the comment. Keep watching for more "glimpses" of this beautiful island.
    Kendra, I am glad you enjoyed the pics. Maybe someday you can come visit. ;)

  4. it does sound 'interesting' there! I don't envy you all the bugs!!

  5. Yes, Bonnie, the island is quite interesting. I am becoming used to the bugs, and thankfully there is a lot more good to focus on. :)