Here’s the news! You’ll all be thrilled to know that I do not have any strange or exciting tropical diseases. In the last week and a half or two I’ve been in 3 hotel rooms, 4 different houses, 5 different roommates, accumulating well over 50 hours of travel time. (Surprising I haven't had an illnesses, actually)
Though it’s been completely exhausting to be on the road so much and living out of a suitcase it’s been great to see so many people that I haven’t seen in a while. With all the rats my house doesn’t really feel like my home anymore anyway (which puts me in a funny limbo-like mental state).
So, speaking of the rats, here it is.
I have now waged war on these rats. While in Nairobi I was unable to find the rat poison suggested to me so during a trip to Busia I was able to find the off-brand. During this war I’m hunkering down at a friend’s house as I wait for results. Monday I laid out plates with slices of bread sprinkled with this black poison… presentation is everything, right?
I returned on Tuesday with a certain amount of pessimism…. And fear.
I should tell you before I get into this; I met the newly arrived Germans this week. This time its 3 girls are they are all incredibly sweet but I’m pretty sure they think I’m a crazy person that lives in filth because my life revolves around these rats right now.
So upon arrival on Tuesday I greeted the Germans and told them I was going to lay more poison and get rid of any dead critters if there were any and one asked if she could come see. My condition was yes, as long as you don’t judge me by the current state or smell of my house.
As I turned the key in the lock I cringed in terror expecting to have either nothing or 50 rat bodies lying dead. The door opens. There aren’t 50 dead bodies so I enter with extreme caution with one of the Germans following close behind. My eyes first scan the plates where the bread once was. Gone. All of it. That’s a good sign. Then I see him. My first victim lay dead at the foot of my bed on the floor. GROSS GROSS GROSS GROSS GROSS, yes I believe those were my exact words. The German found another dead on my cooking table. GROSS GROSS GROSS GROSS. That’s it, just 2, I can do this. I mean, I can’t, but I will…. Eventually, I will work up the courage to do this.
I grabbed two plastic bags and nested one in the other (just in case) and put on my last latex glove and stood for a moment of silence, not for the rats but for my own personal sanity. With the German cheering me on I marched (in slow motion of course) towards my first victim. I kneeled down. I’ll grab him by his tail. The minute my fingers his tail I thought “Nope, not gonna grab him by his tail, nope nope nope.” So I reached through the outside of the plastic bags and quickly grabbed the little corpse and flipped him into his body bag. A sigh of pride and total disgust.
On to victim number 2. I grab one of the now empty plates and slide the dead critter off my cooking table into the same bag with his family member. I proceeded to tie the bag shut and decide I’ll throw them in the burn pile with the rest of the trash. Holding the double bags as far away from my body as my arm would allow (in case of an critter resurrections?) I walked out to the burn pile and gave them the heave hoe. Bye little guys! Your friends will join you soon!
I laid out more bread with more poison and will be heading back over today to see the damage and hopefully start cleaning up the aftermath of their invasion.
Needless to say, rats are a large part of my life right now. However, I do have other things going on.
The teachers in Kenya are currently on strike for their 3rd week and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. I’m watching my last term of teaching fly by without actually teaching.
Last term. My time here is starting to feel more and more final. Every time I see an African sunset I think, I have less than 100 of these left. Every time I see someone I wonder if it’s the last time I’ll see them, ever. This country has been my life for 2 years and it feels beyond strange to think that I’ll just be leaving. Leaving my home, my friends, and my students. A piece of my heart will always remain here. Kenya will be a part of me forever.
In almost no time at all I’ll be packing my house and saying goodbyes. What gets me through is knowing that once those things are packed they’ll land with me in a place where I feel overwhelming love and understanding.More to come on rats and the final months of my Peace Corps experience.
Thanks for reading!