Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Leapin' Lizards!

We make it a practice to welcome guests at Rotary House, but the place became a little too crowded recently for even gracious Emmah. I mentioned Sunday night that I had been startled by a two-meter snake slithering over my foot as I stood at the back-door sink earlier in the day, brushing and flossing my teeth. (Hear that, Dr. Adams?) I didn't realize Emmah was terrified of snakes, so no amount of reassurance helped after that. Hours before, I had promptly swept the intruder out the hole he had probably come in. The snake was long gone, but poor Emmah was in orbit.

First she burned a bucket of plastic in the house because a friend had told her that would help prevent another similar uninvited guest. Eyes and throat burning, I retreated to my bedroom and closed the door. The fumes took hours to dissipate. Snakes are more welcome than burning plastic any day.

Then she doused kerosene around the entrance ways because another friend had advised her that would help. Fortunately, the kerosene was poured after the smoldering plastic had cooled. With one last burst of adrenaline, our indomitable Emmah stuffed the (admittedly numerous) foundation holes with old newspaper. She was up all night.

I thought the worst was over yesterday, but Emmah told me today that she hadn't slept a wink. This, from a fiercely-determined housekeeper who wages daily war (and invariably wins) against ants, flies, jiggers, spiders, cockroaches, banana slugs, mice, mosquitoes and all manner of mean microscopic menaces that cause wazungu to get sick. The only critters left alive at Rotary House are the geckos who feed on the mosquitoes and the frog in the toilet tank who feeds on their larvae. (The frog apparently swam in as a tadpole and grew too big to get out.)

Ordinarily, Emmah has full confidence in "Doom," the equivalent of "Raid," which successfully gasses (in its tried-and-true, bullet-spray fashion) most living creatures known to man. This time, however, we may need to resort to nuclear weapons before Emmah can sleep again. I suggested an old-fashioned panga/machete at her bedside, but that didn't go over too well. And somehow I don't think de-sensitization will help -- either of us. It is obviously also too late to worry about any respiratory or environmental damage. So much for biodiversity.

At least we haven't seen any more snakes lately.


tinkerbug said...

I'm almost in tears laughing! As a snake lover - albeit at a respectful distance most times - I would only pull an Emmah if it were a giant spider (but then even nuclear weapons might not suffice). Please wear slippers when brushing teeth in future? I'm delighted you can laugh and write laughter even when so much of your life there is filled with heartache. Blessings on you for being you and being loving! xo,l&h&b

Anonymous said...

Sounds like your bugs and beasts are even worse than our Georgia ones. Amazing what you can get used to, isn't it?? Love you. Kim