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Chickens, Donkeys, Dogs and Cats. The Ugly truth… by JM

Posted by on May 23, 2012

Chickens:

As you may have read on Carol’s post, there was a problem at her school with chickens messing up the school garden.  Many of the 35 houses on the school campus have up to 15 free roaming chickens.  Well, not exactly free roaming since most teacher have a dilapidated chicken coop looking shelter for night rest.  The chickens that don’t have these luxury accommodations fly into the trees and try to make it through the freezing nights.  The chickens are raised for eggs and food.

Unfortunately the chickens are not treated well and almost never have water and are literally never fed.  They must fend for themselves by scratching around and digging up yummy bugs and worms.

The school has an unwritten and completely ignored rule that basically says no one is allowed to have livestock on school property, and if they do, it must be kept in pens.  Teachers that don’t have chickens (which includes those earning a lot of money, meaning the upper management) “complained” and teachers were ordered to get rid of their chickens or be fined.  Most got rid of the chickens, but then everyone realized there would be no fines, because that requires an administrative process the school admins are simply too lazy to fulfill.  So the chicken raising teachers built better coops and have made a better effort of keeping chickens in their new chicken jailhouses 24/7.  This makes it really hard for those poor chickens to scratch up much food – so they found a way out and started roaming again.

The school administration then made a blanket statement to the 900 children (who are already terribly mean to the little snack food chickens) that the problem is out of control and the new brilliant solution is to break the legs of the chickens if they are out and about – because that would stop them from walking.  This is a horrible solution, but evidently our neighbors think it will work.  So I have had to endure the last 2 weeks with sadness viewing my favorite rooster standing stationary with just one working leg, and the other bent at an ugly 45° angle.

At least the chickens disappear rather quickly, so their tortured little lives are fairly short.

Donkeys:

Speaking of horrible animal stories:  There are donkeys everywhere.  There is not supposed to be any livestock in the village proper (down town).  However, no one pays even the slightest attention to that law and there are chickens, donkeys, cows and goats all over.  The donkeys just stand there, in one place, waiting to be harnessed and used to pull carts.  Sometimes they wander a bit looking for some thorny bushes to chew on.   One of the sadly common local solutions to wandering donkeys is to tie a heavy rope around their front hooves with just 4” of slack.  This essentially hobbles them and they are unable to walk.  They do frequently try to “hop” on their two bound front feet, and it’s very sad and pathetic to see.

Dogs:

All the dogs here are very skinny, because they don’t get fed other than table scraps.  People don’t name their dogs and they like them to be vicious to scare other people away from their home.  They beat them mercilessly for the slightest misbehaving.   I often put my hand out to pet them and am sorry at seeing them wanting so badly to be pet and loved, but so scared that they will get beat.  I have called to dogs that plant their front feet to keep from coming near while their back feet push them forward to get the smallest human affections.

Cats:

Cats are simply kept as mousers, and they are all flea bitten feral creatures, but cats seem to be just slightly better taken care of than the donkeys or dogs.  Except the black cats.  They are viewed as a part of witchcraft and therefore chased and beaten whenever seen.

Although these things are inhumane and cruel, they are an integral part of this culture and a necessity to survival and preservation.   Cultural differences are sometimes very hard to accept.

 

On a lighter side, some miscellaneous, but noteworthy things …

This morning when I woke up it was 1°C outside, which is roughly 34°F.  This afternoon when I left work it was 28°C, which is roughly 82°F.   With at 50 degree swings in temperature it is difficult to dress for the day.  Winter is coming and it is supposed to get colder, but allegedly it never freezes, so I’m not sure how much colder it can get.

Ironically we still sleep with a fan on in our room, mostly for the nice rooster drowning sound, but also because for some reason we both go through these hot and cold spells throughout the nights.  It’s weird how you just have little sweat attacks for 15 minutes or so and then cool down until cold, then another sweat attach….. it keeps us off balance.

 

Next weekend we are travelling to a faraway village to see, of all things… The Overthrust Winter Metal Mania Fest!  This is a huge music festival that focuses on Heavy Metal Music for 24 hours.  I’m so excited!  We will travel 8 to 9 hours each way by hitchhiking or possibly an overstuffed 5:00 am bus for one day at the fest!  That’s just what we do.

http://metal4africa.com/gigs/ghantsi-western-botswana-02062012-gantsi-community-hall-botswana-overthrust-winter-metal-mania-fest/

 

With the colder weather, we are forced to forego the nice morning showers we have come to enjoy (and really appreciate) and now have to bathe at night.  This is difficult for me as my hair is out of control.  I will soon resort to wearing a hat to look presentable without a shower, but I’m worried about the hot afternoons.  The biggest problem with morning showers is not so much the cold in the house, but having lengthy wet hair on my long walk to work in the morning chills me to the bone.  In addition to this, the road is roughly a mile of extremely dusty gravel and each time a big truck comes raging by at ridiculous speeds it puts up inescapable clouds of dust that immediately and entirely negates the morning shower.  I can taste the dust and grit in my teeth by the end of the road.

 

Binks

Tomorrow we are getting Binks!  He is supposed to be an indoor/outdoor cat, but I’m guessing it won’t be long before he decides that he is exclusively an indoor cat.  Between the colder weather and all the attention he is about to get, I can hardly blame him.  I’m hoping in return for our hospitable offer that he will provide a bug and critter free home for us all!

The name Binks will probably morph into Mr. Binks, which will inevitably lead to Mr. B.  I sure hope the real Mr. B doesn’t think I’m cheating on him!

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