I promised to my Zambian twin to write about my phobia of reptiles especially Geckos.
I have this fear of reptiles as far I can remember. Snakes, Lizards and its family. The worst of the worst are Geckos. Lizard have a very large variety of species, Geckos is among them. What I am used to call Lizards are big, they are usually outside, and they are very colorful. In some areas of Mali the one of the Uncircumcised boys (Bilakoro) favorite game is to hunt this species of Lizard (Bassa) after they roast it and enjoy it as a snack. Geckos are smaller, their color is beige and sometimes they even seem transparent, we find them inside the houses, on the corners of the walls and on roof…
The reason of my fear of Gecko are the following:
1) They are reptiles
2) They are very fast
3) When you kill them their tail keep moving
4) In my culture they say if you walk on a Gecko’s tail your foot will swell
5) In my culture they say that if a Gecko spit on your food it’s toxic
6) They move usually above our head…. as said the Rule of Gravity F=mg ; meaning that they can fall on our head at any time…
How one can’t be fearful in front of a so incriminating list?

The first time I saw a Gecko in my room in Dakar, I left the room and the spaces around my room during one whole week.

And one day I had to travel in Benin! Let me tell you what my Tunisian friend who was there few months before said. Just know that she is the Queen of exaggeration

Eh you know there, there is Lot of Lizards?? They are in the rooms… And they are huge like this………. (😱).

Eh I swear! One day I woke up in the middle of the night, no light because of power outage. There was several pairs of green eyes everywhere around me…. (😱). Lizards eyes…. (😱). I swear it was lightening the room like torches…. (😱). I was traumatized….. I was afraid to wake up in the night after that

Walah it’s true

I laughed so hard this day. This crazy queen of exaggeration, it was her first time in Sub Saharian Africa. I could understand her choc.

When I arrived I used to sit on the balcony of my apartment and just watch the view. On sunny mornings, we could observe a parade of very beautiful Lizard, yellow, orange, red, grey. And I remembered that I used to see these ones in our familial house yard when I was younger, and now we are not seeing them anymore. Lizards are cute and they usually stay at a correct distance from humans.

And then this famous day came. I was laid on the bed, I raised my head and guess what??? Two huge Gecko on the roof.!! My heart skipped a beat! I was alone, I couldn’t kick them out, I couldn’t even move. I kept my eyes on the roof until morning… Yeaaaaaah!!! Okaaaaaay!!! She was talking about thaaaaaaaat. They are effectively huge…..😂😂

And then another day two other huge Gecko in the Kitchen. It was like these Geckos liked to follow me, they were everywhere. Through the time I have been used to see them around…

Few month later I went to Buea in Cameroon. After a 6hours flight and a 2 hours roadtrip I was worn out. I just needed to sleep. I was making my plans in my mind… Once in the room, I will take a shower, I will skip dinner, and I will sleeeeeep……

My first foot in the room, first look inside and What did I see ??? A Huge Gecko, near the window… It was like he was waiting for me, he wanted to organise a welcoming ceremony or something like that… Oh my God it was my room??? Why me??? Is it the moment to have a panic attack??? Would I dare – as I just arrived in a foreign country and I know nobody there – would I dare go out and ask for Help to kick out a Gecko ??? So many questions…

I was so sleepy, I just put my mind in silent mode, I really don’t know what will happen during the night! But I need to sleep. I laid on the bed, I imagine myself on a beach in Bahamas… and then slept. And for the first time I slept in a room where Gecko was. If you don’t have choice, you don’t have choice right?.

And then I realised 3 things:

  • In Dakar, we don’t have so much Geckos, Dakar is less humid than Cotonou or Buea
  • And we don’t have the REAL Geckos, the one we have are smaller
  • And if you don’t have choice you just settle in

I also understood that while in my country we usually kill them as we kill cockroach, in other culture they are totems and you don’t touch them. Now I can relativize and sleep in a room with Gecko on the wall, but it is still one of my greatest phobia.

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