1920’s THE CHRISTMAS BEE
Remember that Nairobi sits just south of the equator and that December is actually summer there. Not that summer and winter mean much in an equatorial climate. That’s not to say that there are no seasons but rainy vs dry season has more impact on people and on the animal life.
And so it is that Jade and her friends would be celebrating Christmas and the New Year with a natural set of noisemakers: The Christmas Bee. And just what is this creature? It’s the South African name for the cicada and right now after the November and December rains, it is out in abundance. The reporter for The Standard said that, while he was on safari, he saw every tree and bush completely covered with the insects. The reporter quoted a poem “Happy are the cicadas’ lives – for they all have voiceless wives.” To test this, he collected cicadas with ovipositors (females) and found that they lacked the “two large tympanum-like discs which protect the stridulating organs.”
He advised the readers to visit the Nairobi Museum to see specimens of the different cicadas that were busily making the Christmas season a very noisy one.
Next week: Race Week and New Year’s festivities in old Nairobi.
All quotes and the headline are from The East African Standard, Dec. 25, 1920.
NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, and The Leopard’s Prey, all available in trade paperback. TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH is available in hardcover. An excerpt and information on pre-ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda