DEC 14, 2009
I finally got a baby goat her name is Henrietta. She is light brown with an ashy white face and her favorite food is mango leaves. I bought her at the Arjo livestock market last market day, Wednesday. I was actually really nervous. I’ve been talking about getting a goat for months now but talking about it is much different from actually going and bargaining at a livestock market for a baby goat. Previously I was using the excuse that I already had two chickens and a baby chick taking up my back hut but last month my neighbor’s kitten decided to burrow into my chicken’s house and eat my baby and well since then my chickens haven’t really wanted to go in there… who could blame them? Now my chickens are sleeping at my other neighbor’s house which leaves my back hut vacant. So with no excuses I grabbed a piece of extra rope I had lying around and headed to the market.
Arjo’s livestock market is nothing short of overwhelming but I have to say I held my own amongst the hoards of men, cows, sheep, donkeys and goats. I sorted through them all with a distinguished air of someone who definitely knows what she is doing. Finally I came up on a scrawny little brown goat tied up to a post with a red wire. She looked pathetic, and I am a sucker for pathetic. I bargained with the sloppy, toothless man that claimed to be her owner, although from the little conversation I picked up around me I’m not all that sure it was true, and bought little Henrietta for 40 birr (about $3.50). Feeling pretty proud of myself for getting a fair price I looped my rope around my new baby’s neck and started to head out. For some reason I had it in my head that once I had purchased her she would automatically recognize me as her mother and come trotting after me with a smile on her little face and a sparkle in her eye. No such luck, the minute she felt a little resistance on her rope she buckled down to the ground and started bleating like a banshee and to my extreme embarrassment would not budge. Laughing a bit with the crowd I bent down to scoop her up in my arms cooing ‘its okay muca koo (my baby)’… she was not having it. Once off the ground her bleating rose to new levels. I ran out of the market, waving off anyone trying to help me with a big smile and a ‘rakotta hinjiru (no worries)’.
Once safely out of sight from the livestock I put little Henrietta down and tried to figure out how to work her. I’ve seen plenty of baby goats walking around in the last year to know this can’t be rocket science but whenever I tried to start walking she would plop down and yell “no way Jose, I’m not coming!” UGH… After many trials of walking a few feet, her stopping, me pulling, her sitting, me carrying, her screaming, I finally let a kid help me. Like magic he gave a little nudge to her behind, left a little slack in her rope and walked steadily behind her. She trotted along, given at a snails pace, but at least we were moving in the forward direction. I nodded to the kid, I think I got it now, and we slowly and painfully made it the rest of the way to work.
Since it was a Wednesday and I had a meeting in the afternoon I didn’t have much of a choice than to go to work even though I would much rather have headed home to investigate my possibly misguided purchase. But once at work we became the center of attention. My co-workers and friends all gathered around to check out this sorry little goat I had just spent money on. Not going to lie, we got a lot of laughs. “Jaaili, why would you buy such a small goat? It must be sick.” “Jaaili, you can’t have just one baby goat it will cry all the time” “Jaaili, when will we eat it?” “What do you mean she has a name?” But no matter what they said, I didn’t care, she was my baby now and I loved her.
It’s taken a few days for her to get use to me and my strange Ferengie ways but I think I’m starting to grow on her. Wherever I am is where she wants to be. Not in a needy puppy kind of way but in a ‘hey, where you going? I might want to be there too’, kind of way. When I cook dinner at night she follows me back and forth from my inside kitchen area to my outside stove. When I leave her out front to graze she notices immediately if I haven’t stayed to watch her and she pokes her head back in the front gate as if to say ‘mo-om, you’re not watching me!’. She’s a funny little thing and at least for now she’s given me one more reason to stay.