On cockroaches and my childish reaction to them

If there are cockroaches in your house here, you are either a dirty person, or you live in a dirty area of town. Roach-infested places are often closed down, at least temporarily, and the cockroaches are destroyed. I’ve not seen a cockroach here, something that given my fear of bugs, I am very thankful for.

Nigerians are clean people, a generalization perhaps, but one I have observed to be true. I’m not just saying that because I happen to be Nigerian (especially since if you came to my house you’d be horrified by how messy it is). No, it seems to be part of our culture to be clean: we wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without taking a bath that day (not everyone around the world has adopted this philosophy I’ve observed!) and we pride ourselves on looking neat. We keep our shoes clean and polished, our clothes washed, ironed and looking crisp. We sweep our parlours daily and don’t let dishes pile up unwashed.

But despite these efforts, even homes like that of my great-aunt, with floors so clean that you could eat off them, will have the occasional cockroach visit and that is something that I have trouble with because I am scared of bugs. I’m talking I’m going to scream if I see a bug even though I’m 31 years old kind of scared. The I can’t even move close enough to try and kill it scared. The Young children will inevitably mock me for my cowardice kind of scared. I guess cockroaches are like spiders here (another critter that I’m scared of).

One evening I wanted to ease myself (that phrasing makes me giggle; Naija speak for “use the toilet”) so I went to the bathroom with a flashlight as there was no electricity at the time. As I entered the bathroom and flashed my light around the room in my typical way, one cockroach scurried up the wall directly in front of me, and another roach dashed past on the ground in front of me.

I guess I was having a bad day because I screamed (predictably), stomped my foot and said “I can’t handle this!” and proceeded to go to the room I was staying in, grab my purse and march to my great-aunt’s house (she lives one street away from my grandma) where I was able to use the bathroom in peace. I don’t have to mention that my grandma’s tenants’ laughs and jeers followed me all the way to my great-aunt’s house…though many of them did offer to help me kill the roaches (through their laughter). After easing myself at my great-aunt’s house she gleefully informed me that they have cockroaches too (for you see I thought they had found a way to avoid the critters). It gave her great pleasure to burst my bubble regarding me thinking I had found a solution to avoiding the creepy crawlers for the rest of my trip.

One evening not long after that incident, I was gisting in my grandma’s backyard with my cousin and a tenant and my cousin got up suddenly and went to take care of something. He did it twice more before I clued in that he was killing cockroaches that had come out at night before I noticed them and before my screams woke up sleeping tenants. Even seeing the dead carcass is enough to make my stomach turn.

So even though I know I can adjust without problem to bathing with ice cold water, days without electricity, and though I have no problem fetching water and doing dishes and laundry by hand, when it comes to bugs I’m a total princess. I hate it but I don’t see it changing any time soon…especially when you learn that even in Canada, I still scream when I see spiders and when I lived at my parents house I used to get my sister to kill bugs for me.

Are there any good Nigeria-friendly cockroach elimination remedies out there?

21 thoughts on “On cockroaches and my childish reaction to them

  1. Nope, some places are just cockroach infested because of the weather. the best you can do is make sure there is no food around and have a can of Baygon handy. From time to time just spray the whole room especially all the nooks and crannies.

  2. No solution but we are on the same page about roaches! I was just smiling this morning that I haven't seen the hated creatures around the house in a few weeks. I hope this trend continues ofr some time. They FREAK me out!

  3. LOL pele dearie, i can kill dem for u free of charge but d only creature dat makes me scream my head of is a dog, i'm so so so terrified of dem.d oda day motor nearly jam me wen i saw a dog n crossed d road without looking, it was embarrasing :(

  4. You know how they say that if there were ever a nuclear fallout, only the roaches would survive? Yea…it's very true. These are animals that survived the dinosaurs' extinction, for goodness sake! So yea, you just have to get used to them and once in a while just spray the house.

  5. Customer: Do you have any cockroaches?

    Clerk: Yes we sell them to the fisherman.

    Customer: I would like 20,000 of them.

    Clerk: What would you want with 20,000 cockroaches?

    Customer: I'm moving tomorrow and my lease says I must leave my apartment in the condition in which I found it.

  6. Customer: Do you have and cockroaches?

    Clerk: Yes we sell them to the fisherman.

    Customer: I would like 20,000 of them.

    Clerk: What would you want with 20,000 cockroaches?

    Customer: I'm moving tomorrow and my lease says I must leave my apartment in the condition in which I found it.

  7. i hate cockroaches…but kill them. Like my daughter says 'I die cockroaches' she hates them too but at 3 i'm teaching her how to kill them. Its an essential tool for living in Naija!

  8. I hate roaches, i wont scream if i see one though :P and I cant stand flying roaches they freak me out.

    You can try to eliminate them using Insecticides, but cleanliness is key.

  9. I'm not scared of them , i actually usually kill those jetters. Best remedy, keep your home , especially your kitchen clean, put the garbage out at nigh,. And if you have a lot, call the exterminator

  10. Baygon, will do the magic. There's also the white stuff used in Naija,i think its called Canfor (not sure i got the spelling). I am not scared of roaches.I can even hold dead ones in my hands.LOL.

    What i cannot stand are rats & mice.Those disgusting rodents increase my blood pressure, i hate them.I found one in my apartment last year and moved out till the exterminators came.I wish an epidemic would wipe all rats and mice out of this world. Planet earth would be a better place without them.eeeeeeek!!!

  11. i am soooo scared of bugs, it's not even funny. i link it to a traumatic experience with a cricket during my childhood.

    i never knew that there were cockroaches in nigeria, but here in houston, giant cockroaches are just part of the natural environment. luckily, they are usually only outside, but every now and then one will make it inside and scare the crap out of me.

  12. @ toyin, girl you read my mind!

    i have a little babylove at the present time, but i'm only slightly ashamed to admit that i will be using her as my bug-killer when she gets older. :-)

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