Saturday, January 14, 2006
Siafu - These ants really bite
As a boy I thought a day had been usefully employed if I could boast a ring of Siafu ant heads around the hem line of my khaki shorts. We would catch a large soldier ant and hold him so that his pinchers could grasp the bottom of the cloth. Then as soon as he had bitten we would nip off his body leaving the head permanently attached. I have been told that it is perfectly possible to align the edges of a severe skin wound using siafu heads as sutures. These migratory fire ants will pass through an area and eat every living thing in their pathway.
Siafu, Siafu, they travel in lines,
Sometimes in tens and sometimes in nines,
Sometimes the ranks are ten yards wide
With big soldier ants that keep guard at the side.
Siafu, Siafu, I’ll tell you no lie
You had better move quickly when they come by
For if they catch you and if you should fall
There won’t be much left of you at all.
Siafu, Siafu the cleaning brigade
In Africa we all know why they were made
They march in their rows and where ever they’ve been
Not a living thing’s left, the whole place is clean.
Siafu, Siafu, the farmer’s prayer
They scour through the fields and leave nothing there
Not a mouse, not a mite, not a snake nor a snail
Only the crop’s left when they end their trail.
Siafu, Siafu, you’ll be on the run
Ants in your pants was never such fun,
They climb up to places that you never mention
Then all bite together as if by intention.
Siafu, Siafu, they make a cow shudder
They crawl up and bite them from eyeball to udder
They stagger and fall it’s a pitiful scene
In a day and a half their bones are picked clean.
Siafu, Siafu in rain or in drought
When they move in, why you move out,
There really is nothing else that you can do,
They invade but are gone in a day or two.
Neil, Ewan, Alan and Roida by the river in Rumeruti 1956