As the days become drier, we have had some unexpected encounters with village livestock. Due to the fact that our dogs like to chase and eat local chickens and goats, we have been careful to keep them behind our fences and inside. I have taken our dogs on runs around Nkhoma recently, and have been happy that they no longer try to chase the roaming animals at all costs – these days they are able to whine a little and just jog by.
But there’s an area in front of your yard, just outside our gate, where our grey water runs off out, and this results in lovely green grass even in this dry season. We laughed last week when a huge bull was nonchalantly munching away on it. We encouraged him to go back the way he came through the bamboo that skirts the side of our yard, before our dogs decided to make him angry. I knew our chain-link could hold our dogs, but I wasn’t sure about a full-grown bull. Later this week Greg had to chase out a whole herd of cows that were trudging through. It seems like our little patch of grass will be a temptation at least until the rains start coming.
Then there are the goats. Yesterday we were so concerned about keeping our dogs inside while a plumber worked on our pipes that we didn’t think to close the gates to keep the neighbors’ animals out. Two mother goats and their adorably cute kids trotted in. They were so desperate for food that they tore down our compost bin to get to the leaves neatly piled within. Unfortunately, when we tried to escort them back out, they kept running circles in the yard and even abandoned their babies in a corner. In the end, Greg picked up the two cornered kids and stood outside the gate with them, letting their cries direct their mothers out.
It was a trick he used last week when we found a newborn goat separated from its mother on the side of our house late one night. The mother had trouble finding the kid, then had trouble getting it to move out of the bushes where it was hiding. Greg picked up the kid and walked it to even ground. The mother followed after a while and then trotted home with her newborn as Greg set it down. We hope that those two at least got away from the hyenas and home safely that night.
At least the chickens are staying out of our yard these days. There have been a few tragedies when chickens in the past found their way into our dogs’ domain. And the monkeys stay clear of our property as well, much to Greg’s regret. I guess we’ll have to enjoy their shenanigans when we’re away from home in the future. It’s a bit of a different life than our first years living in a more urban setting in Malawi. It’s fun to see the surprises of the changing seasons in this new-to-us house.