My housemates are dying.
It’s no news that most people have
pests pets. Some have Dogs; most have Cats; others even have Dragons. But me, I have Rats!–involuntarily.
My traps have been lying unproductive for weeks, it was beginning to seem like the guests for which they were intended had developed a higher level of reasoning unknown to their kind, and were now learning to outsmart humans.
This is weird since I have been called The Great Mice Trapper in the past for my uncanny ability to set bait at the most crucial spots. One day I caught 8 mice within 12hours. That’s a huge feat if I ever did see one. So you can imagine my surprise when come Sunday morning I was greeted by a corpse right by my cupboard. Over the next few days, there’s been more casualties averaging 2 per day at very strategic corners of the house.
Will someone tell me who or what is killing them?
There have been some theories.
Some say they were poisoned by an external food source. I wonder what kind of external source feeds ALL the rats in the compound, and why they chose my house as a worthy burial ground. Is my house the gateway to the Nirvana of rats?
The more traditional African part of me wants to scream Holy Ghost fire at the top of my lungs. Rats dying for no apparent reason is suspicious, and suspicious could just as well be spiritual. Perhaps someone from my village is killing the rats and keeping them in front of doors and freezers. Is this a threat?
Then there’s Ebola. Almighty Ebola. The only virus that has effectively taught children (and adults) to wash their hands 50 times a day.
Hospitals have been shut down and patients quarantined all for one man flown in from Liberia, who was allegedly killed by the virus.
An airline was suspended for conveying the body, and countries have been closing their borders.
Fifty nine people identified for having made contact with the same person.
People are being advised to stay off bush meat (which is code for undomesticated meat source and the best thing to have happened to local delicacies), Monkeys, Bats and dead animals.
Just one man and half the literate population’s already freaked out. But let’s not forget this is Nigeria where people have a death phobia and religion is the next best thing (money being the best) to have happened to the life of the average citizen. With over 729 deaths and 1,300 cases recorded within Africa, even doctors are threatened. It’s not difficult to see where the fear comes from looking back at the history of the first Ebola outbreak.
When diseases attendeth your way,
and a cure thou dost not see;
Fear not the doctors say,
for the blood of Jesus covers thee.
Which brings me back to rats. I confess that for a minute or more– most certainly more–I wondered if they’d somehow contracted the disease too. If Ebola can be so easily transmitted, then rats are very apt vectors. So if my domesticated rats are infected, then so many other rats out there probably are. And if people are touching these rats or they effortlessly crawl their way into our lives, then we might as well be dead too.
I’m only reminded of this virus when I spot a rat (like I did today). And even though I push the now pliant body onto a dust pan with my broom, my hands still feel miraculously infected that my feet drag me to the kitchen sink, where I methodologically wash every part of my hand–webs, nails, nail to elbow–while humming the Happy Birthday song. I learnt years ago that the Birthday song was a good way to time a hand wash, ensuring that you get the germs away. Not like I ever paid attention to that before.
Here is to hoping someone just poisoned their food source since it’s apparent my waste bin hasn’t been serving them well; and that these deaths will finally cease or at least they choose some other place to die. If this turns out to be a national phenomenon, then that would be creepy as hell.