Saturday, March 26, 2011

See a man about a goat

We have 4 dogs. One is a South African Boerboel/ Rottweiler mix, he is a beautiful beast. I call him a beast on purpose- he is a beast. One day, shortly after we had moved to our house, we found 2 injured goats tied to our fence. As it turns out a neighbor's goats were grazing at our fence, Fezzik (said Boerboel) saw the goats, escaped from our gate, frightened the goats by trying to taste them, thus injuring them. At first the neighbor wanted 80,000 shillings (the equivalent of $984!!) which is an OUTRAGEOUS price for 2 village goats for the damage done to the (living) goats. Chris went to the village elders to discuss his fair responsibilities in the matter. After MUCH discussion and signing of official documents in the very dark room where official village matters are decided Chris was advised to treat the goats only. Every day Chris and our kids (no pun intended) traipsed down our dirt road to the home of the injured goats and injected them with antibiotics. The goats regained strength and the matter was closed, or was it???

We ended up in Nairobi for a long time and so were away from home. Chris received a call from our guard who said the owner of the goats was asking for money again. This time he wanted 40,000 shillings. We were planning a trip home and decided we would handle the matter when we arrived home. The day after we arrived home Chris had to go out to handle some business, when he arrived home the goat-man was waiting. The man said he wanted 40,000 shillings. Chris offered 8,000 and said he would like the goats (and the baby that had been born in the meantime to one of the injured goats). The man countered with 10,000 and he would keep the goats (hmmm...interesting negotiation tactic). Chris then asked the man what he would take as a fair "deal". The man said he wanted "pole" (pronounced Pole-lay). "Pole" is the word for sorry (in an empathetic way) and is used here to mean "sorry for the troubles". Chris had discussed this with some Kenyan friends and they all agreed 500-1000 shillings is a generous "pole". Chris offered the man the "top pole" of 1000 shillings. To this the man said "never mind"!? They shook hands and then pronounced the matter closed. "Really closed?" asked Chris. "Yes, closed", was the reply.

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