‘There are some large green insects on the mosquito net. You know, the ones that jump and eat the crops’, I explain to Ibrahim, being too tired to even remember the French word for grasshoppers.
Even though I do not at all like killing animals, not even insects, I had killed one earlier that evening, but hadn’t found the courage for the rest hopping around the bed room. And if it weren’t for the horror stories of locust swarms that might descend to Mali and eat the crops, I would not at all have killed it.
Locust swarms are nothing new of course, neither that they eat crops. The country has dealt with the consequences of it more than once in the past. Over time systems had been created to prevent locusts from becoming a plague. However situations change over time and former threats may become real again. Due to the war in Libya controlling possible locust threats has not been on this year’s priority list and Mali’s modest equipment has fallen into the rebel’s hands earlier this year.
After last year’s drought Mali is dealing with severe shortages of basic foods such as rice and millet. Prices have gone up, the quality gone down and many a family does not have the financial means to compensate last year’s poor harvest by buying import produce.
‘The green ones?’, Ibrahim asks delighted.
‘Yes’, I reply somewhat sleepy.
‘Fantastic, they are the messengers of good luck, of prosperity, I am not going to kill them, it is a blessing that they are in our house!’
Luckily the one I killed wasn’t a green one…
I wouldn’t have dared to prematurely kill our good fortune
Counting my blessings by the sound of grasshoppers jumping around the room, I fell sound asleep.