I, err, Hmmm… “To have a bed by 2020”. I know you might argue with me on this one but a bed is not a basic need. Right? Those who say it is to raise their right hand and those who say it is not to stand up. Alright. Now that we have that figured out…. Let us get to the point of this. Or why I argue it that way? Experience. I argue with people that we don’t have to live according to the books as strictly as if we are not meant to discover things for ourselves or by ourselves. Why am I saying this? Let’s look at a bed. Please note I did not say mattress… Some are thinking that is why I sleep three hours. A mattress is a need but a bed is noooot necessarily a need. Unless when the family is too big and eerr… You need to build another house in your house by having a double/ triple decker bed. That well, is a need. A few years back in a business meeting where people were claiming they did not have capital to start a business, the facilitator asked how many people had beds in their houses. Well, thinking that was a major achievement, we all raised our hands expecting an applause of course. Pffssshhh!!!! He went ahead to say how a bed is one of the things that we have, we don’t even know we are using it when we are using it. I mean, it was a fact, all you need in that space – unless if your house floods like this one…. You need to have a bed. Or at least a pier of sorts to elevate the mattress from the lake. Long story short, guys murmured for a few minutes and weeks later, we were having guys with new beds after they sold theirs and invested in the amount. I don’t know if they were pulling our toes or what. I couldn’t sell my bed. Me!? Ahaaa! Never. Or so I thought.
September 2009 is when I bought my first bed and mattress… It was a special edition. Maaan!!! The first set of a man’s furniture is usually such a blessing yaani, you come back home in the evening, and you see your wealth. Even if you are going to sleep hungry, you just thank God and say I appreciate your provision. Especially if you were not privileged enough to build a kasomething in your father’s compound. I mean, you can all see your blessings in one room. The bed at a corner, your two pairs of shoes, a tower of yellow mitungi’s for water and a bucket on top, a stove pale corner and two sufurias, and then that three seater couch… This was Kariobangi at the time one of Nairobi’s most notorious gang ridden hoods. Long story short, my bed and I have travelled all corners this county both in good places and in better places. Until my property and I landed at Umoja. Innercore.
This is where I learnt that a bed is not necessarily a basic need. You can do without it. I was kidogo broke nini nini, but that is not the reason. I also did not want business capital. If you decide not to sit next to me after this, I will not take offense. I will totally understand.
When bedbugs strike, my friend. A bed is your worst enemy. Worse if it is wood, worst if it was a mukima bed (Read bad quality bed). At this point, I would like to say that those, who have been planning to buy a second hand bed because probably they have saved up for over a year trying to get that beautiful bed, please don’t. Just go buy that black roll of paper they use to insulate roofs or floors and lay it on the floor and sleep peacefully. Second to financial problems, the reasons why second hand furniture – beds especially are sold in some parts (let’s call them bedbug Hotspots) is because they couldn’t handle the situation, and decided to spare themselves the trouble and sell off the piece of furniture. Don’t buy a second hand bed people. Period!
I think, that bedbug infestations was one of my most humbling moments in life. And it happened when I thought I had the best of life. And just so that I don’t burst the bubble of this episode, there is more to bedbugs than just the physical bugs we see. That is a story for another day. But here we are. Bedbugs in my zone. There is no torture in this world like living every moment of your day, thinking of bedbugs.
Where did they come from?
Am I that dirty?
Where did I collect them from?
Did someone send them to me?
What is their spiritual Significance?
Why now? Why me?
Will one walk through me when I am in public?
What will I do to eliminate them?
Why not all of the people?
Am I smelling paraffin, insecticide? Do I smell bug?
It was especially distressing because in the entire house, they decided to haunt my bedroom only. I live with my sister. She has a bedroom just across mine. Her room was clean. Like no bug at all. You know you don’t notice these things until when some months later they are really attacking you left right and center. Sun Tzu I tell you. I used to wake up in the morning and I could see these spots on my white sheets and wonder where these stains came from. Numerous dots, like those of mosquito eggs only blackish-reddish in color. Saw them several times, I noticed that they never got clean after washing. Then when I think their population had gone to extremes, they couldn’t even hide no more. It was time to introduce themselves. Their biting became more severe. I started waking up at night. This stage tells you they have confirmed you as a host and they have grown to even have bulls in their herds. This is where your six hours of sleep become 3. Any time you switch off the lights, you have given them the go ahead to attack. And they would bite and suck until they just drop off your skin.
Level two is the blood stains. Well, depending on your skin, it may have inflammations and blisters. But if you have thick skin like mine, – bullets only… okay kidding, and an arrow, you will not get the inflammation and telltale signs. At this level. The bedbugs have grown so big they don’t even care anymore. They feed to their death. Gluttonous pieces of nktbug! I mean, they have basically achieved their life’s purpose – to suck & torment you. At this point they are big, with all the fat accumulated in the wrong areas, knees probably crumbling to the weight of my blood. If these idiots really knew how important my blood group was, they wouldn’t suck on it as greedily as they did. Here they cannot even run, they have been so greedy they stopped working out. They cannot run anymore when the lights go on or even when they are full. So while you sleep, they bite and bite. And when you get uncomfortable, you touch the area, scratch or roll over. Guess what happens? Squeesshh. Then the all mschewwss smudgy sound men in black used to make when crashing a bug completes the sound tracks, seconds later the stench hits your nostrils… Hapo. Then you just got yourself a new abstract artwork on your bedsheets. Depending on the population, a week to two is enough for you to fail to recognize your bedsheets. At this point, you clearly know what this is – a war!
The surprising thing is I have never met bedbugs in my life before then. So first time I saw them, I wanted to cry. I think I did. I did not even know what this was. Until I went to Google and searched bed bug. Man! I was crestfallen and just like that, my esteem tank got punctured and drained like half its content. I could not live with it. Remember, it’s around 1 am. I couldn’t sleep anymore, by this time they were biting at all corners of my body. So I just stuck on Google and really got to meet my new roommates. They are no ordinary pests, they are the camels of bugs. I mean who survives freezing temperatures? Or heat up to 122 degrees? Not forgetting that it can go for months without a blood meal. It will not even wake you up, when it is acting on you. Apparently it has components in its saliva that acts like an anesthetic. It also increases blood flow to the area of biting allowing them to do this fast and painless. How was I expected to fight against such? You want to tell me such evolved from something? What now?
I could not imagine that I would go back to that bed. I was traumatized. I decided to go inspect my bed since I hear, they hide when the lights come up and come up when the room is dark and someone is snoring already. I almost fainted when I realized how many they were! I had a ranch people. I decided to spend the rest of the night on the couch. I had a flight in the morning and I did not even want to think about it. Though nobody knew about this, – well unless if I had left with one of them before I discovered their existence. Either way, I was part of the news, part of those news where I am part of the victims of a bedbug infestation.
Now you see where my point comes in? I didn’t sleep on that bed that night, & I had a new war to fight.