Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I am in Senegal because I received a scholarship from the Rotary Foundation. With the scholarship I will do a community service project. BUT in order to do a project I need to get the real deal insight information about what is going on out here. I want to learn about the difficulties farmers, or anyone who owns animals face in taking care of their animals. What are their animals used for? Food? Work? Only holiday sacrifices? I want to learn how veterinarians function here. What are the more common cases the work on, what types of people visit them? I want to know if there is a need for an outside source to help. I had an idea of what the use of animals are here, but that was only information from the internet and some books.
So I thought I would get more information. I mentioned this to my French teacher, and he was excited! “Let’s do it tomorrow!”He said. So I came up with some interview questions and last week I interviewed the boys and men who have the horse drawn carriages and carts. From school at 9 am we walked to the market on the peninsula and searched for les caliches. We found a couple. Actually, they found us. Whenever we stopped to ask one questions, others gathered around in a “Me Next!” attitude. Most of them only spoke Wolof, which means they didn’t go to school. My teacher translated for me. I asked them questions like:
• What do you do when your horse is sick or hurt?
o Do you take him to the veterinarian?
• What is your daily care routine?
• What are some difficulties with owning a horse?
• How much does it cost to feed it?
• How much does the horse work, and how much time does it get to rest?
I surprisingly found out that they really care for their horses (the ones I interviewed so anyway) as much as they could. Food is expensive for them and so is the medications the veterinarians give. One guy washed his twice a day in the river. Some guys even had names for their horses! A big white male with brown speckles was named “Bad Boy”. His owner was so proud to tell it too. I even got to pet them! We are going to go out a couple of more times so that I can gather a good amount of information.
I’m surprised about how they care for their horses, because so far, I’ve seen some pretty bad stuff. There is a dog that is “security” for Plan Senegal (some kind of health service for mothers and their babies) that has half of his fur because of mange, bleeding ears from bugs biting them, and he’s super skinny. Most of the time when I see him is just laying in the street, sleeping or just too weak to do anything else. When I first saw him I really wanted to knock on their door and ask them how they think the dog can secure their building when he’s starving and sick. Then I thought about maybe paying to treat him back to health. But I don’t think they would continue to feed him, and care for him after I leave.
There is also the way they treat the sheep. They are put in sacks when they need to be transported, pulled by their legs when walked….. I guess to make a long story short Senegal is not the place for those who are sensitive towards animals.