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The Honeymoon is Over

My wife DeDe is a wonderful writer.

She’s also cleaning my clock on Swahili.

What she wrote about a rat problem we had is worth sharing.  Enjoy!

When the Battle is Over.
When the battle was over, only one was left standing.
Actually Curt and I have never been better.  However we live in what is affectionately called the “Honeymoon Cottage” at the retreat center where we stay.  While we were in Uganda the rainy season began.  This encouraged a very large rat to move into our home. You know the saying, “When the paka (cat) is away the panya (mice) will play.”  Well, this is not a mouse, but a  large rat.  The type that like to live in barns. I am wondering if Ken remembers the rat we stoned up at the barn one time when we were feeding.
So I went to the office to see if I could have a rat trap.  Nothing so simple as that could be done.  A work order had to be completed and the fundi (expert) would have to handle the situation.  He came to the house to interview me about the rat problem.  We discussed where the rat had left droppings and what he had chewed on-mainly two pairs of our shoes and my watch band.  This was all written with carbon copies.  We had to turn in a key so that he could address the problem while we were at school.
Upon returning from school he had left a note in Swahili.  One of the comments on the note told where had left dawa ya panya.  The next day at language school I learned that this means: medicine of rat.  We hope the intention is for the rat is to die and not to become more healthy.
DeDe and Jonas' Communication on "Dawa ya Payna."
DeDe and Jonas’ Communication on “Dawa ya Payna.”
Friday after school Curt and I went to the local market to purchase a mouse trap. Curt had much fun describing the mouse trap to several different duka owners.  They were really enjoying the plight of the wazungus trying to describe a mouse trap.  Finally Curt found one.  I have attached a picture. This is the only size mouse trap that could be bought.  Last night Curt met the mouse head-on.  As I washed dishes this morning he ran over the backwash of the sink.  We now wonder if this trap is big enough!  We are ready to rid our Honeymoon Cottage of this unwelcome guest.
During the Battle with the Rat, I recalled Jerry Clower’s story,  “A Rat Killin’ ”   Enjoy it here:  “Momma, Momma, what a rat!”
When we go to the local market it is rare to see another white face.  Our Swahili is poor, but we are beginning to function better at the market.  We ate supper at a local restaurant.  Kenyans are so delighted when we eat at their local restaurants of hotelinis.  I have attached pictures of our meal.  I ordered chapatis with nyamba ya kuku or meat of chicken.  Curt ordered chicken with a local favorite sukuma wiki.  This is a type of green that is very strong.  The name means it will “push you through the week.”  As you know, Curt is not a picky eater. (once Momma served him a little coon that she was cooking for Donald Ray.)  However, he could not eat the chicken. Kenyan meat is very tough.  He could not cut it with a knife or even take a bite off with his teeth.
 
DeDe and Jonas
at Tigoni Baptist Church
Our job assignment is going through many changes.  We are now on a new team.  We will be working more in South Sudan and Chad.  We still have some time before this begins.  Language school last one more month for us and then we have a month of bush training.  Bush training may sound harsh, but from what I hear from the people that go through it is that they really enjoy the time and the training accelerates their work with Africans in urban and rural settings.
We feel blessed to be in Africa and lonely not to be with you,
Curt and DeDe

About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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