So, it was a Sunday, market day in the city, aka day off. Ta’Mar, my volunteer friend and closest neighbor, was having a mouse problem. Specifically, one mouse. Terrorizing her house. She decided that morning that she was finally going to put out a mouse trap. She was confident that the battle would soon be over. So, she left her house, mouse trap set, hoping to come back to no more mouse problem. She came over and we had a movie night.
As we are watching this movie, out of the corner of her eye, she spots a mouse come into MY house, and screams. It came in from the bathroom and went into my bedroom. I was skeptical, you could say, I didn’t know I had a mouse and I hadn’t seen it. It had nowhere to hide in the bathroom anyways. “I saw it! It ran straight. It must be under your bookshelf,” she said. So we went in there, and I promise you I’m not exaggerating, bowls on top of our heads, just in case we see the mouse, and go rattle the bookcase. Nothing. We open up the cabinets. Nothing. We scoot the bookcase off the wall. Nothing. “I swear it’s in here!” says Ta’Mar, and no sooner than the words come out of her mouth, the mouse darts out from the bookcase to under the bed we are standing on. We jump and scream and run out the room. “Well damn, I’m not gonna be able to sleep knowing there’s a mouse under my bed. We gotta take care of this mouse!”
We go to the kitchen and throw some dried beans and marinara sauce (all I have to eat in my house) on a plate to lure it out. Then we backtrack the mouse’s steps. We search the bathroom. There’s no place for this mouse to live. Then, a breeze comes in through the window. We open the glass panes and lo and behold. There is a mouse-sized hole in the screen. He must be coming in every night through the window! That’s probably where he’s gonna try to escape. “I have the perfect thing for that. I just read this really bad book…” and we block up the hole in the window with the book then shut the bathroom door and wait. It doesn’t even take 2 minutes and the mouse is back. We spend 5 minutes both screaming in terror running around my living room with bowls trying to trap the mouse underneath. He runs back under the bed. Ok, we need a better plan.
We move the plate a little bit outside the door of the room and this time we’re gonna wait til he’s out then shut him out of the room so he doesn’t have anywhere to hide.
We wait and we wait and….THEN we see him! He’s snuck past us, he’s already at the door of the kitchen. “This is it, Ta’Mar. We gotta lock ourselves in the kitchen with him til we catch him.” And, in we go. Another 10 minutes of us screaming ourselves silly and running after the mouse, a couple of false alarms and finally, we have the mouse under a bowl in my kitchen. “Well, what do we do now?” “Let’s throw him out?” “No, then he’ll just be waiting around my compound til he finds another way in. We gotta kill him…or have somebody else kill him.” So we put some weights on top of the bowl and leave him there, til we figure something out.
(Ignore how dirty my house is, I just moved into a new house)
We finish the movie in peace, and Ta’Mar is ready to go back and check on the mouse in her house. “Call me if you need me!” I say as I stop by my neighbor’s house. He sends over his son to take care of the mouse for me. He lifts up the bowl just enough that his tail pops out of it, then smashes his head under the bowl, on my kitchen floor. Well, guess I’m not using that bowl of death again. He pulls the thing out and is like, “That’s not a mouse.” “What is it???” “C’est un mousserat(sp?)” “Mousserat?” “It’s stinkier than a mouse.” And he takes the thing out of there.
So, I immediately call Ta’Mar: “Get your French dictionary out and look up “mousserat.” That thing wasn’t a mouse.” “Well, you’re not gonna believe this, but when I got home, the mouse was waiting at the door for me and I chased it into my bedroom and now I’m locked in here with it. You wanna come over and help me catch it?” “Yeah, I’ll bring the mouse-killing bowl.” So, I run over to her house, find her in the bedroom, and we go through the same screaming, rattling, running around the room routine for another 10 or 15 min, til the mouse runs into her mosquito net and we trap it in the corner. Ta’Mar beats the mouse in the mosquito net with a broom for a few minutes til the broom falls apart (Togolese broom), but the thing is still alive. We call in a neighbor. He slooowly squeezes the mouse to death. “Is it dead yet?” “Not yet…” “Now is it finished?” “No, but he’s dying…” Three minutes later, “It’s finished,” and he takes it out of the house. “Go us! Two mice in one day! Today shall forever be known as mouse-killing day!” as we high-five. “Wait! Mine wasn’t a mouse tho!” and we consult the French dictionary only to not find the word. We even looked up rat and skunk and possum and weasel, but that wasn’t it. Well, mouse it is.
And that’s how it became Ta’Mar and my official mouse catching day (we didn't actually kill them ourselves). “You know what though, I hope nobody ever tries to break into my house while I’m here, because I could be screaming for 10 minutes straight and my neighbor wouldn’t even come by to check…”
And on another note: Update on my maternity house
My PCPP page is up, we're fundraising now and my village is excited!
When I got back from my 2 week visit to America, my counterpart, the president of the Village Development Committee had a "surprise" for me. While I was gone they had dug up the trees and completely cleared out the land for the maternity house.
The land/"Before" picture
Since then the villagers have been busy collecting the materials they will contribute and building bricks by the thousands.
My counterpart (president of the Village Development Committee)
Now we are just waiting til we can get all of the money raised and start building this thing. So PLEASE help us!! We have $3100 left to go! Contribute to my Maternity House Fund here: