An invasion of flesh-eating driver ants takes over the village covering everything in sight, and the entire population escapes toward the river. Leah runs mindlessly for a while, trying to ignore the sting of the ants crawling all over her body, before realizing that she has lost track of her family. Suddenly Anatole appears beside her, and tells her to remain where she is while he finds everyone else.
Rachel's only thoughts during the ant crisis are for herself. She attempts to force her way onto one of their neighbor's boats, and is shoved off. When she is flung to the ground she loses her most prized possession, the one object she thought to take with her as they fled the house, her mirror. She stares in horror at the shards lying on the ground.
Orleanna grabs Ruth May and begins running with her, but then hands her off to someone else. Ruth May begins to cry and then remembers the amulet that Nelson gave to her. She tries to think hard about being a mamba snake.
Adah, unable to run through the crowd along with everyone else, pleads helplessly for her mother to save her. Orleanna is torn between saving Ruth May and saving Adah. Unable to put Ruth May down, she calls to Adah to do her best to follow along. Adah feels betrayed and abandoned. She falls to the ground and is about to be trampled when Anatole lifts her up and carries her to the river, where a boat is waiting to carry them across.
Anatole appears again with Ruth May over his shoulder and climbs into a boat with Leah. He tells her that Adah and her mother are in another boat and that her father is delivering a sermon about the ten plagues of Egypt. Leah and Anatole continue their ongoing philosophical discussion, with Leah revealing Adah's discovery about Eisenhower's plot against Lumumba. Leah reaches a crisis of faith amid the turmoil, feeling the "breath of God go cold on [her] skin." She begins to cry and repeat Anatole's name over and over feeling that this word alone can anchor her. Suddenly she sputters out that she loves him, and he tells her never to repeat that. Two days later, after the ants have passed through, they are able to return to Kilanga.