Before I start, I must warn you that what is the follow is very creepy and you should only proceed with caution!
One of the most annoying, disgusting, creepy creatures the world over is the RAT and two nights ago, one (or more) struck a major blow in my room! Over the last few days, I have been spending the nights in another guesthouse due to the robberies going on and not wanting to be alone in my guesthouse (my two roomies are out of town). Now I generally LOVE being alone in any space, but this time I am forgoing that pleasure in the name of safety. BUT, when I am in my guesthouse, I've devised a whole strategy to keep rats out of my room at night. I put my yoga mat under the gap in the door where they usually enter and secure it with a brick and a heavy book. I came up with this strategy after two nights of being completely grossed-out by the rat scurrying around my room, running over the mat, bumping into things. I swear I could hear it chewing through my possessions. And no matter how many times I banged my feet on the mattress to alert it that a big scary human (that's me) was in the room, it wouldn't take the hint (it could probably tell that I was more afraid of it). So my tactic really works when I'm there and I can calmly slept through the night.
But like I said, I haven't been sleeping in my room for the past few nights so the rat(s) have regained access. Yesterday morning, I walk into my room and on the little on the lower shelf of a bookcase that substitutes as a place to lay my clothes, a rat had chewed through the cloth bag that I keep my dirty undies in and basically had a freaking party chewing through my underwear! It must have been having so much fun that on it's way out of the bag it was actually pulling one of the underwear through the hole it had chewed to get in and when I walked in, I saw the random underwear stuck in the hole. It was ABSOLUTELY the grossest thing ever.
What makes it worse is that underwear doesn't grow on trees in Juba. In the States, I admit to being one of those women who when time was running out, I would very quickly just run to Vickies and pick up 5 new pieces on the $19 special that they always have going on. And it was always fun because they come in such fun colors and prints and cuts! Needless to say, I had a LOT! But that option isn't available here. And while I can deal with the odd shirt or pant with the small rat chewed hole on the bottom edge (i.e. - if you splash juice on your pant in the afternoon and it dries and you forget about it, Mr. RAT will certainly remember on your behalf), clearly it is just too gross to do that with underwear! So when a freaking RAT eats through or even leaves one bit mark on my underwear - it's straight to the trash bin and I just have less to work with. I've tried all kinds of strategies - but basically there is no where this freaking rat doesn't find itself capable of reaching so now I'm in a complete wash and wear situation where everything on my body (especially underwear) needs to be washed immediately after use. Considering how hand-washing (again I was of the 'wash and fold' group in New York - you take the dirty clothes in and pick it up a few hours later everything is cleaned and neatly folded for you) anything isn't a strength of mine, you can only imagine how well this is going to go!
Anyway, I calling for back-up undie support from Nairobi so hopefully it will arrive soon!