I got a pet for two days, and though at the time I wasn’t sure what it was, I really loved that little creature. Leaving from the Volunteer in Butete’s house, a child called out to me, telling me to look where he was pointing. I complied, and saw this critter running around, trying to navigate its way through a crowd of people. It was kitten sized, and I had never seen anything quite like it before. It had a head like a fox, a body with leopardy spots, and a long, ring-tailed lemur-like tail. A villager bent down, picked it up, and placed it in my arms so I could pet it. It sat there, purring.
“Do you want this?” The man asked me.
“Are you giving it to me?” I asked carefully.
“No, you must pay me if you want this. Do you wish to buy this so you can eat it?”
I told the man that no, I did not want to eat it, but I might like to buy it anyways- how much?
“One thousand francs.”
I told him I would take it.
We went back to the Volunteer from Butete’s house, (which was about a minute away) and transfered the animal into a box so I could walk it back to Kagogo. I was told it was a baby leopard, which was easy to believe since it was decorated with the spots, and I was very pleased with my luck to have such an exotic pet. We later found out it was an african bush cat, known also as a genet cat: http://tinyurl.com/bushkitty
By the time I had reached my house, I had already mentally arranged the house into the configuration I believed would be best for my new baby. Emptying out my storage trunk, I lined what was to be my pet’s new home with blankets, and made a bed for it by filling a plastic wash basin with a sheet, and even filled a shallow bowl with dirt to make an impromptu litter box. I transfered my baby by opening the box, setting the box on its side, and waiting. When it finally emerged to check out its new home, I saw that it wasn’t using one of its legs (the man who had caught it had also dropped it, and I wondered if the leg might be sprained.) I spent hours that night petting my exotic kitty and watching it explore, but decided to call a veterinarian in the morning.
The next day I got help communicating with a vet, and I arranged for a kitty-checkup, a rabies vaccination, and a deworming pill administration. The vet came and did her thing, but was unable to tell me what my pet was. Sadly, this was a fatal ignorance, because she did not know how much medicine to give my pet- twenty minutes after she gave it a shot, it died. Overdose. I was devastated, but Adeline, Derick, and Muhumsa came for the burial, which was very sweet.
I didn’t have my pet for very long, but I really got attached to it, and decided that if possible, I wanted to get another one. No animal can ever replace my nameless baby, but while I am here in Africa and have the opportunity, I am going to try to get another one. I am on the hunt.