Our daughter Anna loves many things about Kenya. In fact, she will tell you that the only thing she does not love about Kenya is the pincher ants.
These pincher ants may euphemistically be called safari ants. They pinch hard, sometimes drawing blood. And they are sneaky. They usually plan a cooperative climb inside a person’s clothing, and then after some secret signal is dispersed, the whole horde of them begins pinching simultaneously.
Last week Anna had a miserable run-in with several dozen pincher ants. They slyly climbed up her hair as she was playing in the grass, and at the appointed time, they launched their painful pinch attack. This is Anna’s depiction of the fiasco:
And then came the true Tenwek love. Three neighbors ran over to help in the ant battle. They directed the counter-attack, wielding a brush, a can of insect killer, and eight hands smooshing and extracting the ants.
It was a tangible lesson for a five-year-old (and her mother) in self-sacrificing love. No one particularly wants to volunteer to help extract pinching ants from a screaming child, especially since helpers are sure to get some pinching in the process. But again, I am challenged and inspired by my neighbors to love more selflessly. We’re all just hoping we won’t have another opportunity to love against safari ants any time soon.