This last comment surprised me as it was the first mention I’ve heard of cholera at Mathombo. The teachers explained how a few years ago cholera killed many, how people died within hours of showing first symptoms and how helpless all felt in watching the suffering. Shivers ran down my back as they spoke as I recalled bits and pieces about cholera from novels read over the years. I’ve been thinking about this conversation and thinking about one of my favourite books, “Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Especially after our health officer stopped by last night and told me he was concerned that my namesake (the baby born when I arrived last year) might be suffering from cholera and he was heading into Makeni to confer with the district medical officer, just in case. On going to check on baby Carol Kadiatu this morning, I discovered that her family has taken her out of Mapaki to a small village some distance away, a major concern as we have the only health centre around. I’ve just been told that her father has just gone to Malimp to bring her back and I’m anxiously waiting to hear how she is doing. Next day’s update…I found Kadiatu and a second baby in the house still violently ill (a third newborn was fine). Later in the day both babies recovered and are now doing well, thanks to the timely intervention of Lewis, the health officer.
The great goat escapade. All of Mapaki is talking of the foiled great goat heist last night. This is what happened. Round about midnight we heard a car pass through the village, an unusual circumstance. About 45 minutes later my neighbour received a call from an outlying village that a group of goat thieves had been intercepted and were headed our way. A hue and cry went up and the youth of Mapaki quickly erected a barrier. Not fast enough, though, goat thieves, vehicle and bleating goats burst through the barricade headed for the junction. More calls (the chief had been notified as well) and a second barricade went up at the junction, seven miles away. This barricade was made of heavy branches and the vehicle ensnared. Escaping overland in bare feet, the thieves ended up in Magburaka, where their lack of shoes and trousers gave them away. The goats have been returned, thieves are in lock-up and all are shaking their heads. As usual, the thieves came some distance for the heist as the vehicle was registered in
I read a small book this week about a project in