31 Days · africa

#write31days {Pure Terror}

The light was fading as I lay on my bed, working on my computer. I looked up, preparing to turn on my light, when I caught a bit of movement out of the corner of my eye, in the shadows on the floor. I hopped out of bed, avoiding that area of the room, flipped on the light, and turned around with dread niggling in my heart.

And I confronted my worst nightmare.

Y’all, there were a lot of fear-filled moments when I lived in South Africa. In a country with a high crime rate and a tendency to treat women as inferior, there were moments when I was afraid. Whether it was the crazy-fast-kombi-driver who thought he was driving safely, the bat in my room at 2am, the drunk man following me home, or the creepy guys in the taxi ranks…there were lots of moments when I felt fear. And yet, nothing had my heart racing like this.

As I turned around, I saw a tarantula scurrying across my floor. Even worse, he had clearly been hiding UNDER my bed.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been borderline arachnophobic. I would have nightmares if I even saw a photo of a spider, and I had a panic attack in the high school cafeteria when a kid brought his pet tarantula to school. When I joined the Peace Corps, this was literally the one thing I had severe reservations about, and I was thoroughly happy I wasn’t sent to Latin America, where big spiders are common.


So you can imagine the pure terror I felt.

And yet, I couldn’t just ignore the problem. So I grabbed my broom and umbrella, and unsuccessfully tried to kill the tarantula while jumping up on my bed whenever it came close. (Yes, I’m serious).

Eventually my host mom sensed something was wrong (maybe from the bangs or screams coming from my room), and she came up and killed it quickly with the broom. She might’ve laughed at me a bit, but it was a nice bonding experience.

Minus the tarantula.

Of course, now spiders really don’t bother me. Unless they’re on my face. Then that’s not cool.



Slowly we’re creeping to the finish line! In case you missed it, I’m participating in #write31days, where I publish a post each day of the month through October. I’m following Kate in doing a month-long five minute free write for 31 Days challenge, so I’m writing for about 5 minutes each day. Check out the other awesome writers who are doing the same here.

My topic? 31 Days of Moments in Africa.

Top photo credit: http://www.scienceinafrica.com/


21 thoughts on “#write31days {Pure Terror}

    1. God’s strength was the ONLY way I made it through this. I did have a moment of “maybe I’ll just lay in the fetal position and cry” though. 😉 Of course, I was afraid it would crawl up on my bed if I did that.

      And FYI, I didn’t sleep well that night!

  1. I hate spiders, too! For some reason I’m reasonably okay with a daddy-long-legs, but the fat juicy ones get to me. Of course, squashing those is more satisfying. 😉

    I had to be the spider-squasher when I was a stay-at-home mom of a toddler. Now that my son is almost 17, he gets that assignment.

    1. I used to be terrified of daddy long legs (and any arachnid)…this year? Ha! I had them crawling all over me during an outdoor lesson with 3 grade classes, and I was able to swat them off mid-sentence without a shudder!

    1. Haha! Well, I needed sleep to deal with all those crazy school kids! Plus, I pretended my mosquito net was an impermeable spider shield.

    1. That thought crossed my mind. I omitted the part where I jumped on my bed, fought off tears, and frantically text a friend with my last words. Just. in. case. 😉

      Because I only had 5 minutes to tell the story. 😉

  2. Spiders are not my worst fears…I do have a few legitimate phobias, but spiders are not one of them. Still, I know I would NOT like a tarantula under my bed! (That scene in Home Alone has always geeked me out!)

  3. I’m impressed by you conquering your fear. My daughter has been to Africa twice and loves it there best of all, despite all the cultural and entomological differences 🙂 Enjoy your time there!

  4. I am not very scared of spiders, but where we live in the country, there are seasons of the year in which we have an abundance of spiders around our house. While I know they serve a purpose, it can still be a bit unnerving. The worst is when the spiders spin their webs right in the doorway that leads out to our garage. One morning I opened the door and was just about to walk out, when a spider dropped down from the top of the door frame and was hanging directly in front of my face. It totally freaked me out. I have learned to be extra careful when I go out that door so that I don’t walk face first through a web!

    1. UGH!! That’s ALL I can say!

      Of course, the whole tarantula incident was during the “spider season”. When the winds were cool and strong. Apparently the seek shelter indoors during that time, so praise the Lord it was the ONLY one I saw!!!

    1. Ah somehow…I suspect you’d be resilient in the same situation! There’s a lot more strength in us than we usually realize.

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