We faced several unexpected challenges while we were renovating classrooms, (How do you paint windows that are 3 feet taller than anyone in the group? Put Kelly on Tesia’s shoulders and hand her a paintbrush. How do you get curious children to stop touching wet paint and then giggling? Make faces and chase them.) but the worst was the case of the African wasps.

In case you aren’t aware, wasps are nasty little buggers.

They’ll sting you for the heck of it.

When I’m in America, I run like a thoroughbred horse from a wasp.

Now, in my mind, African wasps are the unholy spawn of the seven deadly sins, the fourth ring of Hell, and Andrew Lloyd Webber (I still haven’t forgiven him for inflicting Cats on the world) so you can imagine how mean they actually are. An African wasp will sting you just for the heck of it, but it’s going to play with you first. It’ll chase you, hide, chase you again, land on your back, chase you a third time, and then sting the crap out of you.

You can only imagine what happened when we encountered them while painting.

The day had started off quite normally. We had finished our first classroom and started cleaning our second. Everyone had a sponge, scrub brush, and soap and were attacking the mud that was caked onto the walls. Then someone noticed a wasp. We gave the thing a wide berth and waited until it left the room. We went back to our work.

About five minutes later, someone noticed another wasp and gave the call. We gave this one an even wider berth and waited for it to leave the room. In twenty minutes about six or seven wasps flew in and out of the room. Then we noticed that there was a freakin’ wasps nest in the room and there was no way we were going to get rid of the wasps.

Unless we had wasp killer.

Which we did :)

Unfortunately, none of us was brave enough to use it :(

So we drew straws and Tesia lost :)

You must know that we’re all girls and are used to enlisting the help of our fathers, brothers, and male cousins to kill bugs. Feminist that I am, I still call He-Man and Nii-chan (my brother) to kill bugs. If they’re not around I will lock the bug in the room and wait outside until they’re available. When I get married, my husband’s primary household duty will be bug control.

I don’t do bugs.

Imagine, if you will, eight girls with a bottle of wasp killer and no idea how to use it. We read the instructions on the bottle and decided that we would close all the doors and windows, except one, have Tesia spray the crap out the wasps, and then run as though her life depended on it out the open door. Actually, her life did depend on it.

African wasps are nasty.

Angry African wasps are murderous.

The plan went well until we realized that there was a five-inch gap between the roof and the ceiling through which the wasps could escape.

I’m not one for foul language, but may I say, “Damn.”

Some of the wasps flew out of the gap and sent us running into the crowd of school children that had gathered to watch African wasps vs. Mzungus. They thought it was hysterical. We did not agree.

Thankfully, none of us were stung.

It took about five minutes for us to gather up the courage necessary for us to go back to the classroom. Then, we pressed our faces up against the window and saw that there was one solitary wasp clinging to life in the room. The ground around him was littered with wasp corpses (heh, heh), but that little jerk wasn’t going to go down that easily. After what seemed like an eternity, he flew to another part of the room and we decided to give the area another good spray.

We opened the door, piled inside, and then realized that the wasp was hiding behind the door.

Wasp + Mzungus = high-pitched screaming that can shatter glass.

Looking back on it now, I realize how funny it must have been to see eight grown women run screaming from a wasp, but in the moment it wasn’t funny at all.

And the wasp chased us for another half hour.