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07.10.2008 Feature Article

“Abrokyire” Palaver: The American Mouse

Being in a foreign country has its own challenging and funny moments but it is a completely different ball game when you realize how people from different cultural backgrounds attempt to devise solutions to the simplest issues that have to be dealt with.

I woke up one night to use the bathroom and saw something running over the cooker in our American kitchen. A mouse? But I thought rodents were just an African thing- at least per our folks who travel to 'abrokyire' and come back to condemn everything that we have or ever did. And this was just a couple of months after I landed here to study so the weather was warm and nice- a good environment for mice to breed in. Anyway here came the real test for an apartment occupied by three 'internationalese'- from Ghana, Kazakhstan and Kryzakstan.

The next morning I called my two roommates to figure out how to deal with this animal (as they called it). What I did not know was that they had seen it earlier and had tried finding some information about it.

One said oh I think this is a rat because I am told a mouse is white or grey and can only be found in laboratories. I laughed and handed her a dictionary to look up the definitions of a mouse and then a rat. That was also my own way of helping them deal with their English deficiencies.

The other one quickly called the landlady's boyfriend who promised to get us some mouse traps. Yes the abundance of traps and all kinds of 'killing agents' in stores confirms that rodents and insects that fly by day and night can all be found here- even mosquitoes. You dare not leave your doors opened in the summer.

Well so here comes the traps and I am given strict instructions not to bait the mouse, and this I conveyed clearly to my roommates. In all we had five traps set up for this tiny creature which was having its own fun time at our apartment in the night.

All this while one of the roommates who had carved a profession in hiding her food in her closet and always wanting to 'taste' what I cook was apparently having a good time in her room, no in fact in her suitcase, which was loaded with pastries, chocolates, cheese and anything that could keep you indoors for a week. And that poor little mouse must have had a good time! Initially she did not show much enthusiasm about the mouse until she opened her suitcase in day time (gives you an idea when she was sneaking into that suitcase?) and saw that she had actually been sharing her prized food pantry with the mouse. That was when she decided to seek out the mouse and deal with it.

When I woke up that night (in case you are wondering I do 'go' every night because of my high fluid intake) there was something sticking on one of the traps. Hey we got it, I exclaimed and moved to switch on the light to catch a glimpse of this mouse which had succeeded in setting three female students on a hunting expedition but to my utter disappointment I only found a piece of chocolate on one trap and a piece of cheese on another. Who could ever use chocolate and cheese to bait a mouse? Apparently the “most affected” believed that since it had done such a good job in her suitcase it will be a good way to catch it but unfortunately not with that smart mouse. I guess it decided to look for alternative feeding sources in the apartment.

We stayed the whole Summer unable to catch the American mouse but I am sure the Winter took care of it somehow. So I told my roommates, “next time you want to catch a mouse ask the African- no chocolates, no cheese- I will hand over to you a piece of dead meat the following morning”.

As for my other beloved room mate who did not know how to differentiate between a rat and a mouse, she left it to the third room mate to deal with since she had more to lose than any of us.

Credit: Dot Asare-Kumah [Email: [email protected]]

MyjoyOnline, © 2008

This author has authored 338 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: myjoyonline

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