Susan Rodgers

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I Ate It!

Yesterday I went to the ‘Cup office to steal my husband. While waiting for him to break away, I noticed many people were chomping on snacks.

“Whatchyagot?” I asked.

Nondumiso held up the other half of what was in her mouth. It looked like a charred caterpillar. And, that’s about what it is. These things are called Mopani worms, and they’re a popular snack in these parts. KB brought some in to share (kinda like I like to do with cookies).

I’ve known about these worms since before I ever moved to Africa, but still after seven years of living here, I still hadn’t ventured to eat one. Until now.


I wouldn’t do well on Fear Factor. Jacci and Jessie coached me through it. It was like a dare, I didn’t want to let it beat me. I decided to take just one bite. I got a nice long one and Jacci got her camera out. Then I looked closely at which end to bite, the head—NOT! The tail—that’s WORSE! I dropped the thing and noisily danced in a little circle.

I said to myself, “Breathe. Self control.” I quoted aloud Philippians 4:13, only half joking, and took the worm again. Jacci said, “Just think of it as spicy beef jerky. Don’t think about what it is you’re eating.” That turned out to be the trick.

I did it. I ate a bite of Mopani worm. It’s like a thick-skinned Cheetoh with a chewy, beef jerky-tasting center. The taste actually isn’t offensive. Still, one bite was enough for me. And my stomach churned for the next couple hours (was that only psychological?).

And the last thing I thought about last night before I fell asleep was the sensation of that thing between my teeth. Nice…