If you’ve never had to struggle with a raging bull furiously charging at you and you only have so much ground to run away from it then you should know someone who has. Or at least you have watched a movie where it has happened or you have dreamt about it happening to you. If none of the above has happened to you then I’m not sure you have identified with your roots long enough. By roots, I mean the countryside and I’m hoping we all have a place in the countryside that we get to visit every so often to enjoy the fresh air and still environment. It definitely feels more of a home when you wake up and the first thing you see when you draw the blinds is the lush green grass or the freshly trimmed Kei apple fence or even better, the peak of the second largest mountain in Africa. For others, bliss is about being able to stare at some of Africa’s largest water bodies from a terrace or balcony and taking photos of the sunsets and sunrises in the horizon without skyscrapers standing in the way.
While people in the city complain about traffic jams, you can cycle or ride a cart to the market with no hustle at all. You hardly get to feel the pinch as city dwellers complain about the rising cost of consumer goods. In the evening you obtain onions, tomatoes, potatoes, greens, fruits etc for supper and sweet potatoes or arrow roots for tomorrow’s breakfast from your farm. Arguments on who came first between the chicken or the egg prevail when preparing for meals; when you want to have the chicken for supper but that might affect the availability of eggs for breakfast, or the opportunity cost of eating or selling the eggs or brooding chicks. Ok, it doesn’t happen that way all the time, but it does sometimes.
I love the countryside. I love being able to get nearly all kinds of fruits from the farm without thinking about the prices or that I can’t have enough of my favorite. I love the fact that the mango trees at my countryside have their fruits at a height that’s easy for me to pluck. A fifteen minutes trip round some part of the garden will see me get back to the house with a bag full of passion fruits, avocado, macadamia nuts, pawpaw and raw bananas that only need a few days to ripen. And that’s just fruits.
Despite my love for the countryside and everything therein I have always had a problem with farm animals. Though I am able to manage my phobia for chicken because well, they’re two legged like me, they’re edible and many people rear them, I still have a problem with cats. I won’t dwell too much on that one since Call it… irrational fear of simple things tells it all but it’s so ironical that cats find me good company. They just want to sit at my feet and listen to my words of wisdom and though that’s very flattering to say the least, I just choose to stand on the chair or sit on my legs as I talk. 😛 Other times cats just choose to lie in my shade while there are plenty of other places they could lay. When I try to shoo them away, the cats just sit pretty and stare; a complete mockery of my efforts. Is asking y’all to stay away from a little girl too much to ask? Surprisingly though I do well around dogs so long as they recognize me and they respond when I call out their name and they DON’T BARK. Many times I don’t go too close though. I just think that you can never be too safe around four legged animals, wild or not.
I have heard enough stories about cows that get violent and harm their owners. Sometimes a guy is just milking and the cow decides it’s time to ACT, so it hits the bucket with the hind legs and splashes milk all over the guy, then turns and charges at him, head first. That would explain why many zero grazed cows have a milking shed that’s narrow enough to restrict movement and some cows even have their hind legs tied to posts. Sometimes while grazing the cows just break off the tether and charge at anyone nearby. Now if a cow is running towards you and you see rage in its eyes, by all means, RUN! That has always been my mantra though I’ve never had a chance to use it till today. An animal that could be nearly four or five times your weight would easily crash you into a fence and break your limbs if not kill you. If you don’t believe me, get in touch with your roots and make enquiries. It happens more often than you know.
So imagine you’re walking hurriedly to church and you’re just about to cover the last hundred metres when you see a stray cow charging towards you on your side of the road. You look around and notice that the only people behind you are across the road so you’re on your own on this one. Note I said the cow, no, call it bull because it has horns, is charging towards you so you sense war. To be on the safe side, you immediately decide to cross the road since the pathway is not too wide and it slopes down to rice fields. Not that going down the muddy slope in heels is an option anyway. After doing a quick right-left-right check and you’re already midway you notice the bull has also changed directions and it’s crossing the road TOWARDS YOU. Even its pace has increased and you can read the rage in its eyes. Ok, maybe you’re just nervous but it’s furiously running towards you so how can you not be? People, this is the point you know it means WAR and I don’t know if there’s a better time to regret eating beef all your life. You know the bull is vegetarian alright but at this point you would rather it was able to eat you up in a few minutes rather than potentially maim you because it can’t do the former. If that bull is not on a revenge mission, then what else can explain the bull’s fury on a ‘harmless human’?
Now in the imagination above, change the bull character to another less harmful four legged animal; a GOAT. Note I used the term less harmful and not harmless and before you raise a finger in protest, the goat had HORNS too! Ok, the horns were small but they looked sharp and can you blame me for not underestimating the power of small things? 😀 When I saw the goat running towards me I was not sure if it was just being playful but since it was brown (maybe a white one would have looked friendlier), I couldn’t take any chances. In any case, I was feeling vulnerable because I wasn’t carrying a bag (I would have used it as a weapon to hit the head if it got too close), I was in heels (not too high though) and I was in pink which meant I would attract attention from miles away. I don’t trust my hands too much for karate tactics and since I wasn’t sure I could fight back if the goat attacked, I decided to cross the road; you know, to be better safe than sorry. You would rather be the one that cowed than the one who lost to a GOAT, right? 😀
I got a little confused when the goat followed me. Not that I was willing to go back home just because a goat couldn’t let me get to church anyway. As if things couldn’t get worse, I only had like a half a meter diameter to move about on the other end because there was a puddle of water that looked more of sewage than muddy water. Any wrong step would see me in that puddle or back to the road where I was at risk of getting hit by motorists or cyclists. I did my best to make calculated steps and shoo away the goat away as I bought time for the people I’d seen approaching to come help me out. Though I knew the goat couldn’t bite, it was capable of having me fall in the puddle head first and that would even be funnier. I was hoping the guys approaching would fasten their pace but nothing changed for them except they got to watch the girl they’d said hi to earlier make a spectacle of herself. People, where are GENTLEMEN when you need them? I don’t blame them for laughing but surely, what happened to gentlemanly acts? Was it too difficult to walk a little faster and help out a missus?
I really wanted to laugh at myself but I was scared that the goat would push me into the pool of waste water if I failed to focus so my face was just a contortion of mixed reactions. When the guys finally got to where I was, I shooed the goat and it sauntered away. See, all I needed was someone to team up and help shoo it away but the guys just thought it easier to laugh? Amidst giggles, they asked, “Mbuzi inakuuliza nini” and of whether I was going to Church. I answered in the affirmative and hurried away without even looking back. And no, my face was not red. 😛
As I walked back home two hours later, some guy ahead of me slowed his pace and waited for me to get to him so that he could teasingly ask;
“Eh madam, kwani mbuzi ilikuwa inakuuliza nini? Hamna mbuzi kwenu?”
Two hours later and quite a distance from the scene and people could still remember the incident?! I didn’t even want to imagine how many people had watched the spectacle and I was certainly not going to engage in that conversation so I giggled and paced on.
Going by how fast news spreads, if all the people around the hundred meters radius who watched the spectacle told their families and friends and the many bodaboda operators there told their customers as they ferried them to other towns, then almost the whole town knows about the girl who was running away from a goat. Then considering that several cars passed by as I hustled with the goat means a few people in neighboring towns may get to hear about it. No wonder I was tripping so much on my way home and there I was thinking that I should learn to walk better on uneven paths. But considering that many don’t know much about me, they’ll probably dismiss me as that primary school kid which is totally fine with me if the circumstances are anything to go by. It is easier to forgive if they don’t know how OLD I am. 😛
When it happened to me earlier today I thought about posting it but when I told my mum she couldn’t believe how I ran away from a ‘small harmless goat’ especially because we have always had goats on the farm for as long as I can remember. In my defense, that was A STRAY GOAT, it had horns and it was charging towards me so I had to take action. A few friends laughed at me but really, taking precaution only means I’m human. I take precaution every when I can. I react FAST to situations, which should not be confused with overreacting. But considering people will more easily remember me in pink, I’m not sure if I’ll wear it here in a long time to come. Oh, and if anyone asks, I’m that kid who was away in boarding school and has not had a chance to interact with the family goats. Let’s call it a precautionary measure… or damage control. And a seat for the chick in the pink, please?