Sunday, 15 June 2008

Amanda and the Mouse

Amanda and Alicia are two volunteers working in Rwamagana in the eastern province of Rwanda. Alicia is American and an English teacher; Amanda is Canadian and a Science teacher at the same school. Alicia has her own blog. This little gem comes with their permission.

SO, I think this dude called Gabrielle once attempted to take on a Lion. I don’t know how that worked out for him…. but I bet he never attempted to take on a mouse! Lions sleep like 20 hours a day.. really how hard would it be.. wait out those 4 hours when it’s awake, sneak up on it during one of the 20 hours it’s a sleep.. and boom! Done deal!! A mouse however….. does not sleep 20 hours! (and nor does Amanda as long as there is a mouse running around in her room!!)
So, before Christmas holidays, we discovered we had a mouse in our house.. oh what a louse!! We did some serious cleaning and removed a whole bunch of “stuff” we had been saving over the course of the year (toilet paper rolls, candy wrappers, boxes, every possible thing that had “potential” for becoming a teaching aid was saved…) however, as the mouse had found a house in the recycled goods, we decided it was time to release them and so burned them in a massive bonfire in our back yard. So, our logic followed that if the stuff was gone, mousey would be gone too. (logic is different in africa !!! We’ve leanred that time and time again!!) So, mousey having lost his house, relocated to another corner of the house… MY CORNER!! He took up residence in my room (or at least it became his toilet as his little “presents” were everywhere.) Having failed to find a trap before holidays, Tracy (my wonderful sister who came to visit me) and I simply packed up all the food, (he had alreay chewed through a tupperware container) packed up all my stuff into suitcases and piled it on my bed. I left for holidays and hoped for the best…..
…. I got the worst!! So, on my return from holidays, I’m hot, I’m sweaty, I’ve been on a bus since 6:30am, I’ve left Kibondo which I love, I have to start working again which I don’t love, I’ve walked up the hill with my BIG bag, and all I want to do I sleep!! But what do my eyes discover.. f*@&ing MOUSEY has found a new a toilet ALL OVER MY BED!! It’s absolutely COVERED in mouse caca and weewee!!! And he’s chewed up my sheet, the zipper on my suitcase, a blanket and a pillow!! YUCK!!!! I bet no lion ever did that!!!
So, spring cleaning began once again and the new year’s resolution was to BUY MOUSE TRAPS!! So, the next day in kigali , Alicia went on the mission of traps but unfortunately only found poison!! (we should have known better.. any mouse that can chew through a zipper cannot be stopped by poison alone).
So, the first night we spread out the pellets, 34 in 4 different spots. Then we covered all the water (cuz apparently the poison makes them thirsty.. when they miss water, they the leave the house and never come back.. sounds like a fairy tale… “and the little girls live happily ever after” hahahahah) So, that night it eats the 34 pellets! Every single one!! “the girls rejoice.” We dance a little dance thinking it’s over!! Alicia and Amanda have taken on the mouse and WON!! Yeahh!! Hooraaaaaaaaaayyyyy!! Girl power!! (what email doesn’t need a little spice girl reference!!!) So, then as we’re cleaning again… what do we see….. (any guesses???)
..MOUSEY!!! As we were cleaing out our cooking room (of the other recycled goods that we didn’t burn because they had real “potential” out ran MIGHTY MOUSE (mousey is too lame of a name for a mouse that can survive 34 poison pellets!!!!!) We discovered that in the cooking room, there had been a shower bag (a plastic baggie thing that’s black that heats up in the sun and works as a shower..??? don’t know, never used it.. ) but sure enough, it still had water in it!! AND Mighty Mousey had managed to chew THROUGH the bag to get to the water!! Hence surviving the poison of 34 pellets!! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!! We did manage to have him cornered in the cooking room.. but only to realize we didn’t know what to do…. Stab him with a knife?? Poke him with a broom??? What does one do when one has a mouse cornered?? (serious question.. not rhetorical… cuz you never know.. we may have him cornered again.. and we would really like to know what to do.. so please, feel free to write in with suggestions!!)
So, we had him cornered and somehow neither of us were ready for stabbing him so, we spayed Raid (insect repellent) on him, but then that ran out, so we sprayed deet mosquito spray on him…. and then dumped a bunch of poison pellets in the corner with him…. it didn’t work…. He later ran away…
So, once again that night, packed up the food, covered all the water and put out even more pellets!! He dined on the pellets in my room and left the other ones untouch. We knew that he was still alive.. and this was confirmed when later that night as I came to my room, ready for a nice sleep only to find FRESH mouse caca and weewee ON MY BED!!! Sheet number 2 ruined.. and this time on the mattress too!! DOUBLE YUCK!! So, cleaned up the bed.. loaded up the pellets..and attempted to sleep!! NO SUCH LUCK!! By 300am, I heard Mighty Mouse scurrying arounbd my room and chewing on something (which turned out to be my bookcase!!!) so, at 400am, realizing I wasn’t going to be sleeping any more, I started making the new schedule for the year (did I mention that I made the scehdule in october (the night I stayed up til 400am doing the impossible math problem… well, the director decided to reassing some classes, thus meaning that the schedule needed to be adjusted… changing one class is kinda like Jenga (that block game from the good old days..) Its like taking out the 3 bottom blocks and hoping that the entire structure doesn’t fall over!!! It’s not possible! So, at 400am, I once again tackled the schedule, and worked straight through until 1:30pm before finishing!! I’m not sure what I hate more scheduling or Mighty Mouse.. it’s a toss up!!!
So, again, we put out more pellets, (na├»ve little girls that we are.. but that was all there was as there are no traps in Musha..) and sire enough it ate more pellets, continued to poop in my room, continued to keep my up and continued NOT TO DIE!! I bet Gabrielle’s lion didn’t last that long!!! Yesterday (day 4 of the Mighty Mouse adventures) I was in my room, packing to go to Kigali and out runs Mighty Mouse from under my bed!! He scurries around my room a bit and them runs under my book case! I get out the mop and put on shoes and we have it out a little.. but not surprisingly, HE WINS!!! He eventually escaped my room and is somewhere that only he knows!!!
So, I’m now in Kigali helping to train (scary) the new volunteers and refreshed after my first mouse-free sleep in 4 nights! It’s wondeful! I’m not sure what havoc he’s reaping on my room right now but before leaving I packed everything in bags, I sood them on end and even took my mattress off my bed and stood it up!! TAKE THAT MOUSEY!!! So, I’ll fill you in when I get back!! Today’s mission is ONLY to find 10 mouse traps!!!!!! If the traps don’t work, I think we surrender, I donate my room to him, we’ll make a plastic little crown and he will become our ruler to which we will bow before!! I’ll keep you updated!!!
Hope everyone is doing well!! And living a mouse free existence!!!
Peace out!amazingamandainrwanda

I was talking to Amanda and Alicia at the British Embassy party and asked permission to copy this blog. I asked her how the mouse situation resolved. Answer – not in any way you’d expect. In the past the girls have had bats in their loft (noisy and dirty) and wild bees (dangerous); but mousie’s nemesis arrived when a pair of owls took up residence in the loft. Mousie was careless one night and ended up as owl food.


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