Rats Under a Mushroom Hut

Coming home after a month away is like opening the door to a haunted house hoping to see the glimmer of resemblance to the way you left the house. Granted, my host mom has my key and sweeps my house, so she moves things around for ease of work, so it’s not gonna be all the same. I came home thinking everything will be just okay and it was. Till, I went to sleep that night. And heard scratching.

It was rats. And a little mouse with a squirrel tale they call SekeSeke (saykay-saykay). And THEY WERE INSIDE MY HOUSE.

I WANTED TO SCREAM. Except something inside me had changed. I wasn’t afraid. I was angry. I left yes, but this is my house and there is no way any of them and their children will survive my wrath. A month away and I no longer wanted to scream for my older host brother Joe to come kill something. I wanted to do it.

Unluckily, with low sunlight and thus, low charged solar light, I had to sleep with them, scurrying around. I tucked my mosquito net tight and went to sleep.

I cleaned the entire house and found that a rat or mouse got into my luggage where I keep my clothes. . Holes were eaten through while it went through chapsticks and skirts. Even my hoodie and sweatpants had holes and needed patches.

I cleaned my house and for some reason, they had disappeared. Escaped? Ran out the door? I found another hole. So I still don’t know. But either I’m getting a cat or I’m gonna kill them with my own hands. Zambia has made this girl tough.

Rainy season has many benefits but when it comes to daily life, it brings a new set of trouble. Hot season was too hot to work. Rainy season…is asking people to come out from warm shelters for mud and snakes. And if they come out in the sun, it is to remove weeds from their fields.

So laundry is hard.

Water drawing is tedious.

Cooking takes longer. Everything is wet and groggy and smells. (Though my favorite smell in the world is petrichor or the smell of dust after rain), wet dog and wet clothes and humid air can get to anyone.

And then days past with heat that rose to the limit until the sky broke apart in showers.

But the beauty is that people are busy. People are working. People are moving under the sun but quiet under the rain. Everything is green and growing like snakes shooting into the sky. It’s frightening and blissful realizing nature and its power.

I want to quickly state the projects I am going to start. First a neighborhood health committee training workshop for a few days to fully teach the jobs of a member. Second, grassroot soccer for children using soccer to learn about HIV/AIDS. And a nutritional club that search and research nutritional ways and foods in the village that can help locally and maybe work to bring in nutritional food not available into the village.

Here’s to the next six months of service till mid terms filled with me trying to make these projects succeed. They are not the only ones but the ones I want to be successful.


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