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Dried cloves

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So it was our first day in Kenya.

We’d finally arrived at the Karundas Center, met some of the kids, and seen Brittany’s house. After offloading our stuff and choosing rooms, we sat down to a marvelous dinner of beef stew and seasoned rice. Of the seasoned rice, I say this: there were cloves involved. Do you know how good cloves taste in everything? True, if you bite down on one you’ll feel as though all hope has been sucked out of the world, but cloves do a marvelous job of seasoning food. I ate a bowl of rice for dinner I was so jazzed about the cloves.

My digestive system made me pay for that later.

But that’s all I’ll say about that.

It had been a while since our group of friends had been together so we sat around the dinner table for a while laughing, talking, and catching up on each other’s lives. Just before we got up to go to bed, there was a pause in the conversation, and we heard something heavy scratching and clawing in the ceiling. We all looked at Brittany and she said shyly, “Those are the rats. They live in the ceiling. They’re active at night.”

She then took a broom and started pounding the ceiling with it.

As though the rats were really loud upstairs neighbors.

And not vermin that will eat your face while you sleep.

She assured us that we had nothing to worry about. The rats only made a ton of noise. They didn’t really cause trouble. She did however tell us to be sure we tucked in our mosquito nets before we went to bed.

Now, I have a very active and irrational imagination.

When you tell someone with a very active and irrational imagination that there are rats in the ceiling, he or she is going to spend the entire night laying awake thinking of all of the possible ways Ratamir Putin King of the Ceiling Rats is going to come down and kill her.

Needless to say I was a little on edge.

Of course no sooner had I laid me down to sleep and prayed the Lord my soul to keep the rats started scratching.

Tesia and Meredith were dozing quite peacefully across the room so when I cried out, “Oh my goodness, did you guys hear that?!”

Meredith replied, quick as a whip, “If you go to sleep you won’t hear it.”

Check and mate.

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