Adversity is a fact of life. It can’t be controlled. What we can control is how we react to it.
January 2016 was by far the month of adversity to the queen of black soldier flies. Marwa just managed to overcome the loss of some 50 thousand adult flies that were washed away by Nairobi’s shower rains. Shortly after that, some nasty mites attacked her baby flies and she had to get rid of her colony and start all over again.
Her brains knew that it was a very common condition when it comes to insects’ mass rearing, but her heart that somehow developed lots of affinity towards her baby flies refused to accept such a situation and she felt as sad as her flies when they undergo depression during winter times. Some weeks later, Marwa and her flies were feeling good… rockin good as the mites’ manifestation was controlled and things at icipe were once again progressing.
At home, Marwa was not doing much better. She had spent the month playing the role: Marwa the cockroach slayer. At first, she noticed a couple of cockroaches in her apartment, but soon enough she realised that a whole tribe of huge flying cockroaches were living together with her. Of course rent free!!!!! Marwa had tried each possible method on them, spraying them with insecticide, showering them with borax, spraying them with ice cold water and even chasing them with her pair of flip flops. As it kept on raining, power kept on surging and eventually my electricity circuit collapsed so I had to spend some days with no electricity. And last but not least, muddy rain clogged water pipelines and I spent almost a whole week with no water in my home. I survived by carrying water in buckets out of my landlady’s reserve tank.
On a good note and sometime during that tragic January, Marwa received some copies of ZEF’s 2016 calendar to be handed to her icipe co-supervisors which she believes is a very beautiful gesture from ZEF PR team. The calendar itself is beautifully arranged and depicts research themes that ZEF’s researchers are engaged in all over the world through researchers own lenses. Look for Marwa Shumo’s capture from Darfur, Western Sudan- featured in the Month of May 2016 – that documents her journey as a casual consultant working on water and sanitation issues facing people living in internally displaced and refugees’ camps.
Marwa’s love affair with the streets of Nairobi keeps on growing deeper and she finds some peace of mind and spirits uplifting each time she visits the Maasai Market. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the word ‘Maasai’ then let me tell you that it’s a Nilotic ethnic group that counts for around one million people divided between Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania. Maasai people are well known for their distinctive lifestyle and dress that they managed to preserve in the times of globalisation. What makes the Maasai of great interest to an environment scientist like me is their resilience to climate change and their special ability to farm in deserts and scrublands. If you ever visit Kenya, then a visit to one of the African great lakes game reserves would give you an opportunity to spend some time in one of their villages and have a closer look at their daily life habits. If your visit is only limited to the capital city, then you should never ever miss on the chance of visiting one of the Maasai markets scattered all over the city open to shoppers on almost every day of the week. At the Maasai market you can buy artefacts and clothing garments, bags, sandals and accessories made by the Maasai using materials obtained from their own environmental surroundings.
Marwa is promising you that her next post is going to be from another place 😉
Till then… Cheers