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Wess Speaks (Part XII)

If you’re new here, our CEO, Wess Stafford, didn’t write this post, but he did answer the question. We recorded his answer and transcribed it for your reading pleasure.

Read all the posts in the Wess Speaks series. [3]

I was nine. These were army ants, actually, and these things would come in streams of two or three inches wide … millions of them. As they went across the plains of Africa, everything feared them. They just migrated around. If they came to a rabbit hutch with rabbits in it, they could swarm on those rabbits, move on in a half hour, and all you would have left was bones. So we were scared to death of them.

You could see them for miles away. We would go out to meet them with fire on the end of sticks, and we would burn the leaders. They would hiss and spread out, and our hope was, when they regrouped, that they’d be angled in a different direction — not straight at our house.

We put insecticide powder all around the edge of the house to kill these things. But if they invaded your house, you had no choice but to get out. You couldn’t fight them. They would go through the house and eat anything made of meat — all the spiders, all of the lizards … everything would get eaten.

I slept in my little cot with the bedposts in #10 cans of kerosene so that the ants couldn’t come up and bite me. One night it was very, very hot and in my sleep I kicked my sheet off onto the floor. The ants crawled up the sheet and crawled onto me. I didn’t feel a thing until one of them went across my cheek.

In my sleep I reached up, thinking it was a mosquito, and slapped it. That put them all in a panic and they all bit at once. There were hundreds of these things — I was black with ants. I screamed and I ran to my folks.

These ants don’t just bite; they inject poison, so it was insanely painful. And the poison can kill you.

My folks had to pull them off of me one by one. Then I swelled up like a balloon. There was no time to get to the hospital, which was a day’s drive away, so all we could do is pray that I wouldn’t die.

I killed thousands of snakes as a kid. I lived among lions. But the ants were the scariest thing. So now I step on every ant I see.

To anyone who reads this blog, I need you to join me in this cause. Thank you for helping children in poverty [4], but my bigger cause is to step on ants! 😉

I will go all the way across the sidewalk to get one. It’s a new movement. I need thousands of people to join me in this battle. I will never get even with them!