Friday, February 23, 2007

Babies and dogs....

On a more mundane note….My neighbors in the apartment next door have a 10 month old daughter. She’s adorable. But she’s recently taken to waking up and crying bloody murder starting at 3am!! She’s got a good set of lungs on her and her screaming goes right through the concrete walls, through the windows. For the last two nights I’ve found myself thankful for the super loud fridge that I have because it somehow muffles the cries of the child. Its weird, the cries of a child can pierce right through you. Its virtually impossible to sleep through that. I’d rather a freight train really. It wouldn’t tear at my heart so.

Then there are the dogs barking into the night... Kenya keep dogs for security purposes. Honestly, unless they are White, most Kenyans do not tolerate the idea of dogs as pets, all up in the house and on furniture.... Kenyan dogs live outside. But there is a history there. Dogs were used by the colonial state to terrorize Africans and were fed and treated better than Africans. I remember an interview with a colonial settler whose friend was attacked by the Mau Mau during the struggle for independence. She lamented how her friend’s dog was killed and neglected to mention the huge number of Africans that also died on that attack. That dog was more valuable in her calculations, than the Africans. From my time in Zimbabwe I know that dogs were also used in the same way by the Colonial and UDF Whites. Anyway, I digress…

So most Kenyans now have dogs for security. They are often intentionally underfed so that they are even meaner towards strangers and across many urban Kenyan neighborhoods dogs are heard barking late into the night. My parents’ neighborhood has a stray pack of dogs that are a menace after a certain time of night. In a strange way they kept us safe. No thugs would be crazy enough to venture out with stray dogs roaming about.

The thing with stray dogs in Kenya is that you don’t know if it’s a rabid dog or not. From my understanding (I admit that it could be misinformation), a rabid dog could act completely normal but then turn on you without any provocation since the disease gets into its brain. You could be walking along and cross paths with a perfectly normal looking dog that then turns on you and attacks you infecting you with the rabies. Because of this I’m always scared of dogs in the street. I hate it to in the States when some moron decides to take their dog off-leash while on a walk. You may know and trust your dog, but I DON’T!! grrrrrrrrrrr

Anyway, its about 10.30pm as I type this. I’m in my apartment. Well fed, watching T.V. on mute, and listening to a chorus of dogs in the neighbourhood. Tomorrow I have meetings with different organizations that would make good partners and friends to Akili Dada so I will spend my time doing that.

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