The Ants Go Marching One By One
By John Rauschkolb III, KF-12, Philippines
During my first lazy Sunday afternoon I sat outside, catching the rays and admiring the scenery. A large ant farm freeway was busily working its way to and from it’s farm on the hill to a small apple core which was thrown there the day before. The ants were diligent and tireless until 4:55 p.m. GONE. No ant to be seen and still plenty of apple core left to be consumed. Why were they gone you ask? They knew that in five minutes the rain would be coming and they needed to get to high ground.
While traveling in the Philippines during the rainy season, a standard by which you can set your watch is the rain at 5pm. Upon my arrival, every day for a week at 5 p.m. on the dot the rain came pouring down. Like a shotgun shooting at the roof above your head you can hear the droplets pelleting the tin. At first I took this as a coincidence, but after a week of clockwork, many conversations with the locals and my observation of the ants, I have determined it is a fact.
I spoke to a couple local Tricycle owners who were still working in the wet weather to get their thoughts on the rain and how it affects their business. As one would imagine, there are no people walking on the streets during the rain and thus I assumed no individuals who require rides. To my surprise, this is not the case. One driver said that during the rainy weather no one is outside because they are already either at work or at home. And for those people who did not get home before the rain, they do not want to walk outside. A worker who normally would walk from their facility to their house is more likely to flag down a tricycle driver so they do not get wet. Another driver notes: “Although rarely, I sometimes charge more during the rain” (A classic example of supply and demand).
Whether out of necessity or ingenuity, the tricycle drivers are able to provide a wet free ride during the rainy weather. A driver knows that although his tricycle is somewhat covered by the rain, as he is providing a service during the wet weather, (at possibly a higher price) he needs to ensure his riders dry clothes remain dry. Some drivers have a plastic windshield which straps on the front as well as a zippered plastic enclosure to help conceal the rider; other drivers make due with an old banner from a past election. Whether a new plastic windshield or an old banner, the entrepreneurial spirit is found around every turn. Now if we can just teach the ants.