Last week I read a blog post by a my friend Rebecca who recently moved from Dakar back to the US. She has two adorable little girls and she wrote that she cried when she took them to the National Conservatory Gardens. “It was just so wonderful to be back in America where things like this exist.”
I have to admit that after reading her blog, I got really jealous and foul-mooded over the things that Pape doesn’t get to experience since we aren’t in the US. You know, like playing in grass or going to little music classes.
But then… we got our very own petting zoo.
Okay, so it’s actually not a ‘petting zoo’. And it’s technically not ‘ours’.
But one of our neighbors invested in 20+ sheep which are all tied up out back, being fattened up for sale and then sacrificing this Friday. It’s the biggest Muslim holiday of the year and every family buys and kills a sheep. Depending on the family and their means, it could be a smaller sheep ($30) or up to several thousand dollars if it’s a really great specimen that has been blessed by religious leaders.
The sheep in our petting zoo are more in the $100-350 range. We are doing our part to help fatten them up by feeding them our fruit and veggie peels/cores/scraps. Yum yum.
In the evenings, we take our pile of accumulated sheep food downstairs. Pape starts bouncing in my arms and pointing at the sheep. I hand him over to Babacar, our building’s guard, and then Pape gets the royal tour of the petting zoo. He points to a sheep, he gets taken to that sheep. He points to another, he gets carried over to that one. He get to pet them, feel their horns (yes, sheep here have horns), ride bare-back… All these things he wouldn’t get to experience if we lived in America.