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May 2017

A Noseful of Goat

By | Stories | One Comment

The girls have gotten used to me waking them up with music from my phone that I play on a little Bluetooth speaker. It is our sound system in Africa. I start the music at 6:30am and go upstairs to make sure Lia and Naomi are getting up. Carole gets up and dresses in her scrubs for working at the herbal clinic, or a visit to the government clinic to see if there are any women giving birth that day. Lia and Naomi put on their school uniforms and come downstairs for breakfast. They usually have cold cereal with UHT milk that we don’t have to store in the fridge until it’s opened. I make oatmeal porridge or fry some eggs on our propane stove and make tea for Carole. The girls grab snack food and fill a water bottle and are out the door for school which starts at 7:30. It’s a short walk over to the church where they attend classes.

The missionaries have a devotion time together at 7:30am on weekdays, so Carole and I hop on our bicycles and ride down to the path and over to the farm. It’s a rough path that sees a lot of traffic every day, but it’s fun to ride on and I high-five kids as I try to go as fast as I can without hitting anyone, or a stray goat or cow. Everyone smiles and says hello, either in English or Shona as we ride by. In Shona culture it is extremely rude to not say hello to people you meet, whether you know them or not. Sometimes I stop to talk to the building crew or one of the students.

There is a small hill as you approach the workers’ village and unfortunately this is also where the pen for the male goats is, so just as you are working a little harder as you go uphill and are breathing heavily, the wind carries the stench from 50 goats wafting over and you get a noseful of goat. I try to hold my breath on that section, but it never works. The path goes past two of the teen girls’ houses and the house mothers are always outside, cooking over the wood fire, sweeping the dirt around the doorway or hanging laundry on the fence.

We go past the new herbal medicine clinic and the staff is already there. A queue of patients has already started, the benches are usually full and someone is giving a devotion talk before the gate opens and the day begins in the clinic. By the time we get to Rory and Judy Ervine’s house, about 1.5 kms from our house, we’ve already greeted 50 people. It’s awesome.