In Which I Ate Bugs.

Are you ready for this one?

Christy, Michelle and I back when we were a little less ghetto-fab.

Earlier today, Ben went to the street meat sandwich guy to pick up lunch for my team and I. For those of you currently lounging in an air-conditioned Starbucks sipping a pumpkin spice latte and wondering who on earth would ever eat something called “street meat”, I should clarify that last year, my team loved street meat sandwiches. I know, I know, a year ago I would have pointed up my jaunty little western nose and judged me too-but I promise that if you lived here, you would quickly tire of fish and rice and there would come a day when you too, would find yourself making your way over to the street meat man.

Street-meat-man has a makeshift grill precariously positioned in the sand outside of a decrepit lean-to, in which he keeps giant bags of French baguettes and buckets of meat on sticks.

 …I am uneasily uncertain as to what kind of meat it is, but in Africa you learn to say “merci” and keep your questions to yourself. 

 Street-meat-man speaks no French and only a bit of broken Wolof, and so through a series of highly amusing hand motions and those priceless affirmative and negative grunts that cannot possibly translate on paper but are universally understood, you communicate what you would like on your baguette. How many sticks of meat he should throw on the “grill”, whether or not you would like onions and hot sauce, etc. With the practiced of ease of one who has spent his entire life doing exactly that, vegetables and sauces start to fly through the air as Street-meat-man slides thin, heavily seasoned chunks of mystery meat off of thin, wooden kabob sticks and onto your dauntingly large baguette, wraps crude brown paper around his completed tour de force, and with a flourish gives both ends a quick twist and hands you your lunch.

It’s difficult to spend more than two dollars at the street meat stand. To my knowledge, in fact, it’s never been done!

Michelle, Dayton, Ted, Christy and I gave Ben our sandwich orders several hours ago, and sent him over to Street-meat-man. Upon Ben’s return, we all sat around the men’s kitchen table, and hungrily unwrapped our lunches. To my dismay, after I’d already devoured several bites of my third-world piece of heaven, I heard Michelle gasp quietly.

 Now, background. About five days ago, Michelle was a vegetarian. Understanding that maintaining that lifestyle in Senegal would be impractical, she’s been hesitantly easing back into the carnivore world. She’s had a remarkably positive attitude about the whole thing!

Back to our story. In the midst of chewing my third or fourth bite of mystery meat, I heard Michelle gasp quietly

Michelle with the vanilla Ben and Jerry's that accompanied her and she boarded our flight to Dakar. Little did she know what she'd be eating days later...

and exclaim, “There are ANTS on my sandwich!” The poor girl. Mere days into her journey back to meat-heaven, and she found herself eating unidentifiable, ant-covered chunks.

Disconcerted to say the least, I looked down at my baguette and noticed several of the devious little creatures crawling around my sandwich like they owned the place!

What’s a girl to do? We all brushed off as many ants as we could, and kept on trucking. Thanks to Street-meat-man’s failure to keep a lid on the meat bucket, there was an added dirt crunch with every bite that enhanced the whole ant-eating experience.

 Oh, Africa.


  1. […] This must be Africa, because I finished a good portion of the sandwich and justified later in the afternoon by thinking that I must have strengthened my immune system by that meal.   Our whole team had a good laugh about it. (see my teammate, Ashley’s, blog for more of the hilarious details in: In Which I Ate Bugs) […]

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