Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Kenya Diaries: Day 16, Part 2 - Thirsty Animals

During my time in Bondo, again and again I saw the impacts of the dry season - and not just among humans. Here are some photos I snapped of animals finding food and water anywhere they could.

The dry season isn't only hard on the people - it's hard on the animals too. Any time we humans did the laundry or dishes or anything else involving water, the critters were right there, eager for a drink.

Turkeys doing the dishes

As Rose does the dishes, the chickens help themselves to the dishwater

Bees taking a drink in the chicks' waterer

Goats get into Amy's laundry water

Amy chases them away

Goats come back...

... and help themselves

The goats in particular made trouble because when it's dry like this, owners can no longer tie goats up and expect them to find food where they are. Instead, they just let the goats go free to find food where they can. Some goats found Malaki's mom's sweet potatoes and ate them all up, in fact. And one day while I was using the toilet i.e. hole in the ground, I heard something behind me and it was a goat, eating through the bush that is supposed to be there to give you privacy in the loo!

Here are some goats we found on the loose as we walked through the village:

As Malaki cleared the bush for the area where he will build his home, the goats flocked to the delicious green leaves they could now reach, which were unattainable before.

What must be said here is that these are - with the possible exception of those turkeys - all local breeds of animals that can survive in this dry environment with water and food scarcity. For people who have fancy exotic breeds of livestock (like German Alpine dairy goats or Friesian cows, for example), they must not only fetch water for their household needs but also fetch it for their animals. The critters in these photos are fairly good at scrounging up what they need to survive without requiring a human to see to their every need. As Sidney (the Maasai man I spoke to) said, the exotic breeds are capable of producing more milk or growing faster to produce beef, but only with a lot of effort and perhaps expenditure and risk from a human caring for them. That said, Amy also noted that she thinks people might get better results from the local breeds if they do put a little bit more effort into their care. Not as much as is required for, say, a Jersey cow, but a little more than the care the local breeds of animals are given now.

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