Bunker Bugs


I walk slowly into the steel reinforced, concrete bunker at UNICEF in Malakal. It’s dank and moist with virtually no ventilation. I begin to sweat immediately. I assume it was built in response to fairly serious rounds of fighting in Malakal in recent years, perhaps most notably in 2008 when Joint Integrated Units of northern and southern soldiers split apart and fought heavily throughout the town.

In one corner of the bunker, I notice the largest cockroach I’ve ever seen. I tried my best to scale it with my hand in this photo but it still does not do justice to the creature.

Malakal at this time of year is teaming with all kinds of massive bugs. As I stood in that sweltering bunker, wet, dark and infested, I wondered if I might take brave a few rounds rather than sleep the night inside. Filled with people for days on end, I can imagine few situations that would require more fortitude.