For the last ten months ‘don’t let the bed bugs bite’ has been our prayer as we’ve battled an onslaught of small but very annoying critters.
I tried to contain them myself armed with bug killer, a toothpick and tissue to pick them up. We even repainted a wall where they were living hoping to suffocate them. It was a bloody war, literally, shown by the marks on our sheets. I was even fighting them while Debbie was in labour. But, alas, I had to surrender and bring in the big guns.
As I often do, I looked to Google for the answer – to find a local pest exterminator. ‘We travel all over Gauteng’ was a common phrase I found written on companies’ websites. Great, I thought as I dialled the phone. However, each time, as soon as I mentioned Soshanguve, they refused to come. Soshanguve is definitely in Gauteng and has a population of more than one million people. Yet fear and history stop these companies even entering the area.
There are so many lines of separation in South Africa. The country tries to move on but is struggling to leave division behind. It’s going to take courage for this country to change. Courage to overcome fear and risk interacting with the ‘other’. Courage to let go of the pursuit of power and instead walk with others. Courage to live with integrity.
In the end I connected with a local exterminator, a friend of a friend. This whole saga highlighted the inequality still prevalent here. Yet there is also hope, I found the skills that I was looking for right here among my neighbours.