From the Spring 2003 The Storyboard by Mike Sweeney
I’m in the midst of a war. It’s a battle of wits, of strategy. A clash of intellects.
And I’m losing.
The humiliating part of it all is that my opponents have brains the size of marbles. You see, they’re mice.
When we first moved to the village, I threw together a bush house for us to live in. Except for the metal roof, it was made almost entirely from round timber and bamboo, with holes all over the place – kind of like Disneyland for rodents. I can recall one three-month period in which I dispatched 69 of them. (For those of you concerned with such things, none of them was cute.) But here I am, always winning the battle but losing the war because of their preponderance of numbers.
So when I built our new house, I went overboard to make everything rat-proof. Milled timber, every joint tight, every door snug. Mosquitoes have to knock to get into my house.
I still recall how, early on, when we first moved into the new house, we were still having rat problems, and I said to Linda, “Well, at least we know the pantry is totally rat-proof, since I’ve lined all the walls with plywood.” With that I opened the pantry door only to see a rat scurry across the shelves, knocking over a can of peaches.
For pity’s sake.
At least this gives me an opportunity to prove myself to my wife as a Great White Hunter. They may still get in, but after all these years I’ve become quite adept at catching them.
Now here it is, years later, and they’re still getting in. I just spent two hours going around the house for the twelve-hundredth time, plugging all possible entrances; and as I sat down to type this, I heard one of the little beggars in the ceiling right above my head. I could swear he was laughing.
But hey, I’m sure I’ll get him tonight, and with all the work I did sealing up the house today, he should be the last one that ever gets in. After all, I’m a man, and they’re just a bunch of dumb mice.
Mike was a Bible translator for the Mum language group. He also served as PBT’s Assistant Director of Language Affairs. He and his wife Linda lived in the village of Katiati. Their two boys, Christopher and Ryan went to school at the Ukarumpa International High School.