The rat

Chris and I have found an oasis here in Santa Rosa de Dinamarca; a sanctuary that exists every night at 6:30 until 7 the next morning. Beautiful, a vision in white. Cascading to the floor where it meets the woven blanket that we call bed, our mosquito net unfailingly protects us from the horrors that arise as the sun sets, the flying, biting bug invasions called Sangudo (no repellent or long pants/shirts work against it). An embroidered blanket, orangy-red by night, our sleeping bags, a clock, a flashlight and some hydrocortisone spray for bugbites are the permanent fixtures, with occasional appearances by neosporin, crackers (for a late-night, 7pm snack), some clothes for a pillow, etc.

It really is a nice place, our asylum. From 6:15, when it is already dark, until 7pm or so, a solitary lightbulb dangling from the cieling rafters (and powered by a car battery that in turn is powered by solarpanels during the day), illuminates the space, casting light over our mosquetera on one side of the room and the bags of rice, sugar and pasta, boxes of eggs, onions, garlic and potatoes, that are stored along the other.

And when the light is off and everyone is going to bed, Felix (14 years) and Melvin (12), whose mosqueteras are lofted above the porch next to our room, entertain us for a while practicing English pronunciation or asking questions (What is the capital of Paraguay?), or giving Chris a Shipibo name (Bawangxeka) or reciting poems (Lucerooo, Lucerrrooo), until we all say good night (guk nai)

And in our mosquetera, we can take off our hot sweaty, usually smelly clothes from the day to cool down in our pjs.

All in all, despite being a little stuffy and having uneven floor boards sticking into my back, we are totally comfortable in our mosquetera, a haven from mosquitos and a place to unwind and freely speak about all our thoughts and impressions of the day.

Until a middle of the night ….
-¨What was that?¨
-¨Something just hit our net, it fell from the cieling. Didn´t you hear it shreik?¨

So we lay there, perfectly still and silent (and I for one was perfectly terrified), listening for what it could have been. (A bird, the cat, a rat?)

A rat. I had seen one running along the rafters of the grandma´s house next door. Probably one had been running along our rafters, lost its footing and fell. Ugh is there a dead rat outside our net now?

-¨Wait! What was that?¨ Now from over by where the food is stored, a rustling sound.
-¨Ugh it´s eating our food! What should we do? What if it comes to eat us too?¨

Suffice it to say that all that night not much sleep was had (not that it did much to fix the problem). We just lay there listening, perfectly scared of our food being contaminated (Chris) or of being attacked (me). Even the next night (even though it seemed like no food was eaten and we were not attacked), I hardly slept. Had the protective quality of our mosquetera been compromised?

Not to fear, a couple nights later, the whole experience seems much less vivid, and returning to the mosquetera at night once again feels comforting.

One Response to “The rat”
  1. heliopath says:

    haha i like this one. nicely written. probably a lot less amusing at the time.

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