We got rats


There’s a rat in my room.

Nights I hear it clamoring behind the wardrobe. The other day I found my red boxers had been chewed proper. The ass area had a crater. Even my farts don’t do that level of damage. And my farts can kill. My farts can be packaged into a briefcase and sold to Putin as a chemical weapon.

My biggest worry, though, is that one day I’ll want to pick out a shirt for my Public Speaking class, but I won’t find any shirts because the bloody rat will have gone to town on all of them.

I don’t like rats. I don’t like their shape, the little oval heads, or the way they carry their bulbous behinds. Walk along Moi Avenue and you’ll see them on the pavements, ducking under parked cars. Rats as big as cats; long tails, whitish claws, furry and brown like sewage water.

The ones we get at our digs are tiny. We’ve killed about 10 rats since we moved here to Kitengela five years ago. They scurry along the floor like lightning. One once climbed on the couch’s armrest while my sister was Keeping up with the Kardashians. Another one hid behind the fridge, and didn’t get out until I poked it with a stick. Another one escaped, out of the living room and into the verandah.

Maybe it’s the same one in my room. Maybe it went around the house and came back in through the kitchen, because someone left the door open, again.

I suspect there’s a Mother Rat in our digs. And she’s breeding like crazy. I dread the day I’ll find Mother Rat, wedged into a corner, all fat and preggers. And if there’s a Mother Rat then there’s definitely a Father Rat. I dread finding him even more because Father Rat sounds huge and serious. Father Rat won’t be killed by a mere broom. Death by broom is beneath him. The only way to kill Father Rat is by poison. But then you’d have to use the strongest rat poison there is. The box of RatKill they sell at Kitengela market won’t work on Father Rat. Far better, I reckon, to use the Essence of Nightshade (‘Game of Thrones’ anyone?).

Apparently rats can mate up to 500 times in six hours. I hate to think Father Rat and Mother Rat are going at it behind the wardrobe, soiling my shirts with vermin lust. But a quick look on the Internet reveals that a Mother Rat can birth up to 20 rats, all before she’s two years old. I find that staggering. Especially after I saw what a newborn rat looks like.

God, they’re horrid.

And get this, from the moment a rat is born its teeth never stop growing. That’s why it has to chew constantly, to wear out its teeth before they become too heavy to carry around.

The internet also tells me that a pack of rats is called a mischief.

Last Wednesday Old man killed another rat. We were waiting for the UEFA match between Juve and United. The pre-game analysis was going on. (Brit’s accent: “I think United are going up against a strong team here.” “Match predictions, Andy?”) I saw the rat skitter across, from the kitchen to the corridor, brushing up against the wall, heading to the bedrooms. It couldn’t have been more than a millisecond. But that was definitely a rat.

“Ala,” I said, sitting up.

“Ni?” Old man said.


So we armed ourselves with brooms and went hunting.

We started by sealing all the entry points; closing doors, stuffing rags under them, Old Man standing point guard.

I had a hunch the bugger had gone into the store. A room full of tools and shoes and buckets struck me as exactly the sort of place a rat would hide. I pushed one bucket to the side and, true to form, the rat came out, looked at my legs, and my warrior-like stance, and disappeared behind another bucket.

Then Old Man suggested we switch roles. He’d attack and I’d defend. The kill shot was up to me if the thing was bold enough to go through Old Man’s legs.

Old Man brushed away another bucket, and the rat jumped out. He gave it a swift blow. It leaped, bouncing on the ground, trying to muddle through. But it was dead by the time it landed back down. Old Man had given it another whoop in quick succession.

We stood by and watched the life go out of him, a little rodent soul travelling to the other side. His hind legs twitched. The tail went limp. His eyes closed with excruciating slowness.

Then Old Man swept him onto a dustpan, opened the back door, and threw him over the fence. His boxer-chewing days were over. (The rat, not Old Man.)


Last night I went down to the kitchen for a snack. It was nigh on midnight. I couldn’t sleep. I’d spent the day at my desk, tinkering with a story that, despite my efforts, has gone stale, both in my mind and on the page.

I was holed up in my room, turning the story upside down, typing and backspacing. I plastered the holes with asterisks. I repainted the walls with adjectives. I clipped out the passive voice. I stripped down. I chugged coffee. I jammed to Chronixx. I moved to bed. Dusk deepened outside. I forgot to close the window. The light from my laptop broke the twilight like a bull’s eye lantern. I put my clothes back on.

Nothing worked.

I gave in at around 8 p.m. I shut down the laptop and went to brood in the sitting room.

I was feeling bummed out, and a midnight snack would surely draw me from the carapace of worry and exhaustion. A midnight snack would create some clement wind for my creative burn out.

I grabbed a packet of Dairy Fresh milk and two slices of bread. I carried the bounty to bed. Then I fired up the laptop again, only, this time I wanted to watch a bit of ‘Game of Thrones’.

I’m one of those people who won’t touch their food until some other simultaneous activity is found, like reading, or watching a movie. In the past I’ve almost starved to death because I couldnt find something nice to watch while I ate. The books in my shelf tell stories of long-dried soup stains and thumb prints of chili corn-on-the-cob.

Anyway, I finally turned in at 1 a.m., with vanilla on my tongue. I placed the empty box under the bed. And went on to dream about Cersei Lannister’s hair.

I woke at 2 a.m. to some commotion on the floor. It sounded like someone was wrestling with a piece of cardboard. Sharp and discordant, just like a rat. I hit the lamp switch and looked around. No rat.

But the milk box had relocated. I cursed under my breath. Why the hell do I leave my bag unzipped? I hoped the rat hadn’t found its way into my bag. The thing could have eaten my homework. And what kind of story is that to tell the lecturer?

I switched off the light. Maybe the rat would come back out. I waited. And waited. And waited. No rat. So I gave up and went back to sleep. My head hadn’t been on the pillow for three minutes before I heard it again, rat versus milk box, dragging across the dusty rug. I wondered if the rat knew how to use the straw.

Each time I switched the light back on, the rat had disappeared. Mischief, I tell you. Mischief. How would I even sleep knowing there was a rat? Was it a big rat? Would it climb onto my bed and chew my face? What kind of rat was I dealing with here? And what was it doing to that poor milk box? I had half the mind to fetch a broom.

Then I thought: “Hmm, am I really going to get up at 2 a.m. to kill a rat?”

A rat that’s stupid enough to fight with an empty box is really not worth the effort, so I took my pillow and slept on the sitting room couch.

I don’t know if that makes me a coward or a man who just loves his sleep.
Follow Mike on Instagram: mikemuthaka

All things lovely
Playing House

Comments (2)

    • Mike

      Thanks a lot, bro. 👍

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Florence Bett-Kinyatti


Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾 eepurl.com/igmN8P
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,

  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 


No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.


It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)


The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker

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