In college it was mice.  And a rat.

In my first Nairobi apartment is was mold.

And now… something new is threatening to invade my life and my kitchen drawers.


At approximately 11:30 pm on Monday night Jenn and I declared war in our kitchen.  It was the first battle of what I presume will be an epic war that will go down in history books (or just my moleskin) as The Death of the Cockroaches.

Looking back on it, while it felt like a horror film, this was probably more of a comedy than a tragedy: picture two muzungu girls running in and out of the kitchen armed with cans of Raid and Doom screaming “evacuate!” and “I need backup in here!”  (Our coworkers just gave us blank stares when we retold the story, as if to say, “what is wrong with you and why are you are surprised by this?”)

The nightmare started with one little bug – and they just kept coming.  Out from behind the cabinets.  In the drawers.  Under the sink.  On top of the cupboards.  When we went through our first can of Raid I made a midnight run for reinforcements – two extra-large cans of DOOM.  (It sounded more imposing. That’ll show ’em, right?)

Evacuation began around 12:30, when we weren’t sure what the outcome was going to be.  They were just so dang resilient.  And disgusting.


Spices and boxes and pots and pans were thrown into garbage bags.  The refrigerator and the burner and the microwave were scooted into the living room.  Pots and pans and plates and cutlery were hustled out of there like casualties of war.  I could barely see Jenn through the cloud of Raid and Doom that had formed, but I am happy to report no man, cup or box of cereal was left behind.

When everything was out, we made one last, desperate attempt to attack the nasty little invaders: fumigation.  We closed the window, coated every crack, corner and surface with bug killer, locked the door and stuffed the space underneath with towels.  Looking back, it was probably not the most intelligent decision to cover our entire kitchen with poison, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

All in all, we probably found more than 20 critters overturned the next morning.  Success… for now.

Current Score:

Muzungu girls: 1

Cockroaches: 0

Tonight is phase two: an acid party.  Boric acid that is.

If you have any tips on boric acid – we’ve heard about everything from dusting to boiling to making little balls of death – or other ideas for how to kill cockroaches, please share!