Heather in Senegal

Monday, July 24, 2006

I still have no cat in my life, but there are other animals, and kind of a cat.
Jenny raises bunnies to eat. A bit back she had four babies. Recently her hutch broke, so now the young'uns and a few full grown rabbits are free-range in her yard. It feels like Eden to be munching a mango while a handful of fluffy baby bunnies hop around and sniff at me, and I am watching a pair of adult rabbits take turns stealing mango skin from each other. Later on the day I visited Jenny there was a tiny tiny yellow little chick in my yard. No one would tell me why. I held it for a little while. It laid its head down on my palm and closed its eyes. Fluffy sweetheart. I was on my way to work, so I could not dwell long with the chick. I put it down with so much fear that it was resulting in chest pains. Would someone step on it accidentally or squash it intentionally? Later my Neenee told me who the chick belonged to, and I gather it will be well cared for until slaughter day.
Last night I noticed my bedroom smelled like a litterbox. I sniffed around and discovered the smell was coming from my bed. I tentatively lifted my mattress. It appears that one day, not so recently, I jumped onto my bed and took a mouse by terrible surprise. I was able to deal with the dead lizard, but squashed dead fuzzy animals are different. I told my host mom, and she, Omar, and another teenager came into my room. They were pretty nonchalant about the whole thing. When they looked at the mouse they told me not to worry: it's dead. They do not understand me. Live mice run around my room all the time. Aside from their snacking on my garden seeds, I have no gripes with the live mice. It is the dead ones, especially when swung at me, as Omar insisted on doing a couple times before taking it outside, that make me squeal. I was pretty surprised by the hysteria in my voice.
However, it was not the mouse making my room stink. Two nights ago I thought I heard a person walking on my roof. Just that day I had walked on my roof to fix the plastic up there, and as far as I knew the ladder had not been moved from the side of my hut, so it seemed plausible that someone had gone up there for a stroll. I mentioned this to my mom yesterday, and she laughed, promising me it was just a cat; she had heard a pair brawling on her roof the same night. It took me a while, but I finally put it together. The plastic does not completely cover my straw roof. I've gone to sleep in contorted positions to be clear of raindrops. A cat, who did not even give me the satisfaction of a moments petting and affection, indirectly urinated on my bed. And to think, my mother in the US complains about squirrels walking on her solid, perfectly waterproof roof.


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