Friday, May 05, 2006
I’ve become a bit obsessed with donkeys of late. I don’t know what it is about them but I think they’re adorable and rather put-upon. A friend I work with from Kenya described the Sudanese donkeys as depressed and swears that they’re perkier in Kenya. I have to agree with him. While I can’t comment on Kenyan donkeys, the ones here do seem somewhat gloomy and, for lack of a better term, Eeyorish. They do have good reason to be so. They do all the grunt work while being whipped or beaten by drivers of the carts they’re pulling.
A guy I know is a IDP camp manager and he makes a practice of buying a donkey whenever he moves to a new location. He finds someone – usually an IDP - who will feed and care for the donkey during the week using it for small-business and then has him bring it around on the weekends so he can take it out for rides. (Mind you, this guy is Scottish and also brought his kilt with him so I’m not vouching for his sanity.) But I have a respect hare-brained donkey-owning scheme because I find them so interesting.
Now, what no one tells you about donkeys is this. Their bray sounds like something being wounded. Or, a giant whoopee cushion being landed on by a refrigerator. Or a broken truck horn. Proof that God ultimately has a sense of humor because this poor little creature simply does not sound right! Their braying makes me laugh every time I hear it...unless, of course it's the middle of the night and one is right outside the gate. Then, it's not quite as funny.
Of all the pets that you could acquire here the donkey is a good choice because they are non-political. I made the mistake of mentioning to my donkey-owning friend that I wouldn’t mind having a horse and taking that out for rides on the weekends. ‘Oh no,’ he was quick to answer. ‘Too political. Janjaweed means, evil horseman. You can’t do that.’ Camels and cows are apparently right out as well.
“Do you really think that I could be mistaken for the Janjaweed riding around Nyala on a horse?” I asked a colleague while driving home from work the other night and wistfully watching horse cart trotting along the road.
“Could do,” she said. “It’s the hair.”
“You mean they might think I was of the red-headed Janjaweed gang?”