16.6.10

Mwizi of Fruit Fly Fame

Here's how we roll in Kenya. We had a problem. Our fresh fruit was on this 3-tiered stand on the floor in the kitchen. This was problematic because Maggie has become ambulatory and was developing a habit of heading straight for the bananas and throwing them on the floor. The second dimension of the problem was that the same bananas were a magnet for fruit flies. What to do?


We looked all over for an (apparently) old-fashioned hanging fruit basket, but couldn't find one anywhere. Then, Grandpa Laubenstein in Arizona had an old one he wasn't using and sent it to Kenya with Aunt Joan. Problem the first is solved. Maggie can't reach the fruit. Next, we went next door and asked Anna Fader if she would give us one of her many chameleon pets. She graciously agreed and we placed him on the fruit basket, where he adeptly eats all of the flies. And since it's a hanging basket, we don't have to worry about a chameleon wandering throughout the house. We just have to take him out once a day to feed on some bigger flies.
We named our chameleon "Mwizi" which is the Kiswahili word for "thief", hoping that he will steal all our fruit flies, the same way that we named our resident gecko "Kiboko kidogo" or "little hippo" (an idiom for "little whip"), hoping that he would whip our mosquito population. The latter naming venture has been far less successful.

In the end, we felt bad for Mwizi. He seemed depressed that he was living on a fruit basket, with only one daily excursion to the free world. So we gave him back to Anna. Then we got some bananas and the fruit flies came back with a vengeance. We asked Anna if we could borrow him again, and he disposed of the flies very efficiently. So, maybe we'll try and work out a loan program.

3 comments:

Rhett, Megan, Claire, Ford & Gus said...

We really need a gecko for the mosquitos - I can't seem to grab one! If the lizard loan program doesn't work you can always put some cidar vinegar (wine works too :) in a bowl with a piece of saran wrap on top with some small holes poked in it. It is a great trap! See you soon!

Sandy said...

Go Anna! She's the coolest five-year-old I know!

Debbie said...

I think I need a chameleon in my house here in New York! Because my building is so old, the windows are strangely proportioned and I can't get screens in them. Combine that with 90+ degree days and no A/C...I was eaten alive by bugs last night! Somehow I think I'd be happier about this if I were there with you.... Too bad there are import/health laws that would bar Aunt Lois & Uncle Studmuffin from bringing a chameleon back with them on the plane....