November 22, 2004

Of Mice (and Cockroaches and Grubs) and Men

(Alternative title, "Lions and Tigers and Bears...and Mice and Cockroaches and Grubs...oh my!". I'm so witty I amaze myself sometimes.

My little baobab trees on the balcony were looking quite sad the other day and my persistent talking to them, watering them and preening of their leaves further threw them into a funk. I decided that the only way to revive them was to apply fertilizer. Problem: where the heck can you find fertilizer in Dakar? Alas, there are many clothing stores but not a single flower nursery to be found (OK that's a lie but they're too far from my house and damned if I'm going to negotiate with a taxi just to get there).

Dorothy had this brilliant idea to Make Her Own Compost! No only would it revive her plants but she would take an active part in Saving the World through Recycling. My hippy friends would be proud.

I took a bucket, promptly filled it with vegetable matter and cut newspaper. Every day I used my spatula to move the rotting foodstuff around, shoo the fruit flies away and aerate it to "create aerobic conditions within the composting chamber". It all went fine and dandy until I decided to add Niebe, the African equivalent of a potato. Big mistake! Not only did the Niebe take forever to rot but it smell quite unpleasant and attracted little white grubs. I thought this was not a danger until I got up one morning to hang my clothes on the line, only to feel wet things burst between my toes. The balcony was overrun with little white grubs wiggling and giggling, trying desperately to find something more filling than Niebe. Eeewwwwww! I ran to wash my feet, promptly disposed of my compost (encased in TWO sturdy plastic bags).

To make matter worse, I noticed little black specks behind my living room curtains. This is very much indicative of mouse poop and I swear to Allah, if I find it, it's toast. Then I went to throw the mice poop and the maggoted compost in the garage, only to find myself doing an elaborate dance to miss the multitude of cockroaches.

And I hoped I would get to see Wildlife. Moral: Be careful what you wish for.


Anonymous said...

That there may be the funniest thing I've heard all week! I told my friends the story at lunchtime, but as they were trying to eat, they did not seem to enjoy it overly much. Shame :-)
Miss you!

007 in Africa said...

I hear grubs and cockroaches are an excellent source of protein. Be careful about the mice though, they carry diseases sometimes.