For sure these are random musings again, so Mahegoat, sit down! I am borrowing from Biko – a celebrated writer and the king of blogging – when he knows he is up to a post which might not make a section of high school (a name he uses to fondly refer to his blog) happy, he tells them to “sit down”. You know a couple of times, I have experienced the wrath of Mahegoat; he has near rioted, telling me that the post does not meet the threshold. One time he said that he reads Project 44 because it makes him miss being in relationship sometimes. And we all now know that even if he tries to appear all ‘macho’, he has not ruled out the possibility of being a relationship. Then there is Wangari, our other avid reader, who when I blogged about my beloved animals, asked “What is it with Fridah and goats?” So, Wangari, sit down as well! This is about a cow, a goat and a kid.
Last month I was in the village and I am happy to announce (like anyone cares) that the animals have reproduced! A kid has been born, ‘cuddle lover’ – my beautiful goat which I blogged about a while ago – is a mother. The kid is black, and was named Kamwana’- long before I arrived in the village. Then there is the ‘grade’ cow which has a very healthy and nice looking calf who has been named ‘Zawadi’ and although there are other cows in the shed, this one is particularly loved because it produces and is generally a cow of good temperament. The brown goat (has remained nameless) which loved to eat and we all thought it was pregnant turned out not to be carrying anything! – I felt deceived after feeding all the supplements meant to build the kid’s (which I thought she was carrying) bones.
The ‘Kienyeji’ (free range) chickens too have increased! I am amazed, they surprised me for they have withstood the squirrels, illnesses and disease and keep reproducing. Joyce came to the village and I fed her, not one, but two of those chickens :). By the time I was leaving, one had hatched 8 chicks. I can only hope that they will all survive. Anyway, so I went home, very excited at the new developments, excitedly lifted Kamwana and lo! , the poor kid was full of fleas! I was devastated; the following day, I went to the vet store and bought some powder, which I was advised to dust the shed and animals with. I did exactly that and soon enough, the kid was happier, definitely more relieved from the itching; as evidenced by how she leaped all over the compound. Kamwana is strange; unlike its mum who loved cuddles when she was young, Kamwana does not care for cuddles; although the mum is also now all grown up, and all she wants these days is illicit feed – flour (I am told goats should not eat flour) – and to let her kid suckle.
Of course taking care of these animals is fun but demanding – they need animal feed and supplements to keep them healthy and productive etc. I miss them when I am away, and when I am near them, realize how demanding they are; they sometimes disappoint me by eating my flowers, and refusing to get pregnant like the brown goat hehhehe. They also fail to meet expectations like the ‘grade cow’ which looked very happy and healthy while pregnant and I thought the production would be super high, but she did not meet those expectations – although the level is acceptable.
So my love for my animals has taught me many things, hence my musings. They taught me that whilst you might put in quite a lot, it doesn’t mean you will always get your efforts’ worth. They have taught me that sometimes, I need to temper my expectations – more realistically to say “you will get a raw deal sometimes”. They have also taught me that, it is not always about me, I have them around me, I must take care of them and factor them in my plans. For example, sometimes, I tether the goats (yes, Wangari, the goats) in the compound, and it starts to rain and we are all far from home, and I think about them and how they will be drenched by the time we get home. But with all these highs and lows, they have taught me that you never give up, you keep trying, and you hope and have faith that somehow, it is worth it and continue to be devoted. They have also taught me that you cannot invest for ever – case in point is that at some point we decided to dispose of one cow, because after all the efforts, it was not going to meet the expectations and in the long run, it was a liability and the decision to dispose it, even though we all loved it, was unanimous.
Don’t our relationships mirror the farmer–animal relationship at times? Whether with our families, friends or to matters closer to this blog – relationships between Adam and Eve. I mean, we get into relationships with expectations, and we hope that our significant other will meet those expectations, or at least make effort to. Like the farmer, with the feed and minerals, the dusting powder, the jabs from the vet, we give and nurture and ensure that our end of the bargain is met. Even when production fails, the farmer keeps hope alive, just the way we do when our relationships seem to falter – we keep hope alive and hope that we will weather the storms. We do not let them go or give up at the first instant of a fight or misunderstanding; we do not judge them or should not judge them too quickly because they have failed to meet our expectations or seem to not have a grasp of their end of the bargain. And no, we do not brandish in their (our significant others) faces how they have faltered or how they are scoring zero on our wall. Stop raising eyes brows now, I know this actually take a conscious effort. In equal measure, don’t our significant others take us by surprise sometimes, surpassing our expectations and just amazing us?
I have also been reminded of something equally import, just like the farmer, that there is need to gauge between input and output. I know this is controversial when it comes to relationships, but actually it shouldn’t be – because this is the nature of man (and woman) – to expect – so truth be told, one can only put so much effort, but if the other party is not reciprocating, and the only constant is that expectations are not met (it is up to the person to decide what is realistic in their relationship and what isn’t), then surely, it does not make sense to keep going especially if all avenues have been exhausted and all pointers are that you will always be left feeling that you have the short end of the stick.
Therefore, there should be some kind of bench mark; the minimum that should be met and this varies from person to person. If this is not happening, then one is left with one option: to ‘dispose’ and chart a new path. Although I am not sure what he was referring to, I agree with Stephen R. Donaldson who said that “It is wrong to ask for more than you give freely. In this way, we come to resemble what we hate.”
On matters blogging, some of you have read Biko’s amazing blog. Finally, (I do not know why it took so long), he has been nominated in this year’s Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) awards in the best creative writing blog category. So, if you like his creativity, go there and vote for him and let’s celebrate the writer!
Have a good week ahead.