And so there you are, bemoaning your lot for having so many relatives. You are the only one with a job and a house in Kigali and so whoever comes to the ‘big’ city and is remotely related to you will come to stay at their son’s house. You are now mourning because you do not see how you will support a whole clan.
But if you knew how many living things you were already supporting, and how many extra mouths your kin are bringing along, you would sit down and laugh your baldhead off, because your estimate of the clan is the biggest understatement of the century!
And if you think you are the mean type and can keep the hangers-on at bay, you will appreciate the futility of your effort. You reach home and find a new face that was able to go past the domestic help, you-don’t-know how.
Out of earshot of the offending guest, you harangue your domestic worker for admitting a stranger into the house. The hapless fellow pleads with you; he verified that the guest was truly a relative. When the guest explains to you, you are able to say: “No, it is not true that I had a grand-mother who had an uncle living in Congo, and the uncle had a nephew in Kenya who married a Ugandan and which Ugandan mother is your aunt!”
You may be tough but, unfortunately for you, hangers-on are a dime a dozen. If you knew how many creatures are literally hanging on you for their livelihood, you would creep out of your skin and leave it to them as their meal!
Stretched out, your whole skin is generally about 1.7-sq. metres, which makes it a big hunting ground for a host of ‘animals’. If you are really mean and you scrub and rub your skin every other second, then your skin may be host to only 292,778,359 bacteria at any one moment!
Your skin is a big national park, habitat to game as varied as fungi and bacteria, not counting the long list of occasional visitors who may drop in for a meal and a drink! These include mites, ticks, leeches, lice, botflies, black flies, bedbugs, kissing bugs, fleas, mosquitoes, etc.
Your skin is thus literally crawling with creatures jostling for a drink of your generous blood. Whatever measures you take, at least the inevitably permanent lodgers will be there to partake of your hospitality! No amount of tough talk, domestic workers, kadogos, bouncers or scrubbing and rubbing will keep them away.
If you think I am talking hogwash, then approach a microscope, get something to scrape your forehead and put the resultant powder on a glass slide, under a magnifying glass. The sight will make your hair stand on end (if it can!), uncovering more mites that will be calmly grazing on your head!
On the glass below, you will behold adult mites lying criss-cross like sticks of wood, their stumpy little legs wriggling and twitching as if they are dreaming. They have tiny claws to help them cling onto your skin, and needle-like mouthparts for consuming skin cells.
The whole family is there, so you will see children with angled-back scutes on their underbellies, like fish scales, which help them to anchor themselves in your skin. The eggs are shaped like arrowheads and have glue that enables them to stick onto your skin.
As for inside you, it is a quarry where bacteria and viruses, together with bigger parasites like worms, are busy digging up chunks of your flesh harder than good old Nelson Mandela when he was on Robben Island!
The human race is definitely under assault. Maybe you have heard of these plants, in South America, that cherish human flesh. If you have not, why don’t you venture down there and see for yourself?
Imagine all the cabbage that has vanished down your throat: suppose it were to revenge!
That is nothing, however, if you ever heard the story of this German gentleman who got a brilliant idea when he felt a pang of hunger.
Herr Armin Meiwes advertised on Internet for “young, well-built men aged between 18 and 30” who wanted to be eaten! He got five eager responses within a few minutes! Unfortunately for the candidates, the man was choosy about who would grace his dinner platter: the first applicant, a cook, was too fat, the second, a teacher, was too lanky, the third, a hotel worker, too short and the fourth, a pensioner, too old.
The lucky applicant was 43-year old Bernd-Jurgen Brandes, a man of good build who looked younger than his age. Brandes was overjoyed for not only being accepted as food but also for being granted his wish of sharing the delicacy of his own fried and flambéed manhood with Meiwes. It was after that that Meiwes killed him and proceeded to eat a large amount of his flesh.
He is still languishing in prison but, at least, he got his wish!
Jim Reeves knew what he was saying: “This world’s not my home/I’m just passing through......”