Friday, February 10, 2012

Stories from Kenya from the vets

Wow! It is hard to believe that this wonderful journey is coming to an end. Our last week has been phenomenal. We started the week in Sweetwaters Park for a fun filled weekend of adventure. We were out on a few safari drives where we had the chance to see both white and black rhinos, giraffes, cheetahs, elephants, wart hogs, a ton a little gazelles, baboons, velvet monkeys and more. There was a watering whole by our tents, so we could watch animals drinking and playing at all times of the day.

Apart from this surreal African safari experience, this week was busy and we experienced a few touching and amazing moments that I would like to share with you:

Our local friend invited us to visit her family farm. I am usually animal oriented and was happy to see her cows, but I was mostly impressed by their biogas tank. This family has been trying to get electricity in their home for 20 years and it may not happen anytime soon. Last year they thought they would invest in a biogas tank. All the cow manure gets digested in this tank and generates methane for their cooking stove. Turns out they are now supplying methane gas to two houses on the property, are no longer using propane in their home, and use a lot less fire wood than before. They paid 120 00 ksh for the tank (a little less than $1500) and plan to have it paid within the next few years. The life expectancy of this tank is >25 years! That’s something to think about.

This story is to make you sit back and think that despite our cultural differences, we are all made the same. We met a very nice man that worked at a dairy that we collaborate with and he shared with us that his wife if battling cancer. He has to travel a few hours to get to the hospital every few weeks and the treatments are very expensive. He was organising a fundraiser next week, but we were going to be gone by then. Cancer touches all of us, even at the other end of the world. We were able to put some money together and contribute to the fundraiser.

Lastly, we have been teaching here for three weeks and every time we mention that cows can have twins, we get great laughs in the crowd. Twins are rare here! On our last day of clinics, a cow presented with difficulty calving. She had been in labor for over 12 hours and still no babies. The farmer said she had seen something come out of the cow’s vulva the night before, but still no baby! After assisting the cow for a little while, we were able to deliver one healthy heifer. Marissa mentioned that the calf was small, but we are in Kenya so we didn’t think much of it. It is a routine procedure to perform a thorough exam after obstetric manipulations to make sure that everything is healthy in there. John says: ‘there is another foot’. We didn’t believe him because twins are rare here, but there is was another heifer calf! What an amazing case for our last day.

Thank you for reading my stories 
Melanie Mallet

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