Last year we had a bit of a rat problem. And you might have noticed in Paul's recent post, Our Akha Homecoming, that we are again sharing our Akha hut with these little rodents. Having dealt with rats before, we knew exactly what to do... (drumroll please!) Glueboard Rat Traps to the rescue! I don't think they are very common in the U.S., but they are the standard way to catch a rat here in Thailand. If you haven't already figured it out by the name, this trap consists of a piece of cardboard (about 15"x 15") on which a super-sticky-goo must be spread. Finally, a tasty treat is put in the center and when Mr. Rat goes for the food he gets stuck; the more he moves around trying to free himself, the more he gets stuck.
The other night we set our trap, and sure enough around 3 o'clock in the morning we woke to a commotion in the kitchen. We weren't particularly excited about having an execution ceremony then and there, so we left the rat alone and said "We'll deal with it in the morning", (...secretly hoping we could get one of our Akha friends to kill it, since we're both a little wimpy about that sort of thing.) We tried to go back to sleep, attempting to ignore the intermittent thumping and whining coming from the kitchen.
About 30 minutes later, we heard another commotion. The thumpings were much louder this time and we thought, "We must have caught a second one, a 'biggun' by the sounds of it!" However, after a few seconds, we heard the sounds move quickly towards the main room of our hut and it was obvious that this was no rat! We hopped out of bed and turned on the light. It turns out a village cat had heard the cries of the rat and assumed he'd get an easy meal, but he didn't plan on getting his tail caught in the super sticky glue! When we found the cat, he was tearing around the hut at near-light speeds with the piece of cardboard (rat and all) still stuck to his tail. While our hut has many cat-worthy escape routes, this terrified cat with the large piece of cardboard stuck to its tail was having a hard time getting out. Finally, armed with a couple brooms, we were able to herd the cat out into the night.
Although we're not keen on having a good night's sleep interrupted by a rat and cat fiasco, we have to admit that we still love the adventure in our lives! But even more than the adventure, we love living & working with the Akha people. By sharing in these simple day-to-day experiences, we come just a tiny bit closer to understanding the life that an Akha leads, allowing us to share the love of God in a way that's relevant to their lives! This is why we're here in the village!