As a little boy I used to collect insects (or Dudu as they are called in Swahili) and keep them in jam jars. When the family came to leave Kenya to return to the UK all our possessions were packed into large wooden crates full of straw. I was told that my insects would not be able to travel with me, so I put them in the crates which had been packed, but had not had the tops nailed down.
My father found the insects and asked a friend to pretend to look after them until we had left. It wasn’t until a long time later that I realised what had happened.
I have always wondered what might have happened if the bugs had not been detected or escaped in the crates and made the long sea voyage back to the UK. Here is the memory expressed as a poem, I hope you like it.
Early Memories – Kenya IV
Millipede and spiders,
mantis, sticks and moths
lovingly kept in jam jars
with holes punched in the tops.
Treasured by their captor,
who was due to move away
so he hid them in a packing case
to be sent to the UK.
But his father found something
that wasn’t in the crate
and when he lifted up the lid
he found his young son’s mates
The little boy was mortified
when his ‘Dudu’ were detected
so they gave them to the neighbour
who promised they’d be protected.
And so it was, the family moved
with young son quite contented.
He knew his insects were all safe
with the neighbour who’d consented
to look after the collection
and feed them every day.
He didn’t know that the insects
had already been thrown away.