Tag Archives: sad realities

RIP Boo

The latest addition to our small pack of dogs was a puppy named Bono, lovingly referred to as Boo. He arrived in our compound sometime in May or June and while he initially belonged to the night-guard, John enthusiastically insisted that we keep him. From that day on he was our (but mostly Roz’s)  puppy.

While Simba is the alpha of the compound, I’m sure he’s also part wild banshee and not all canine. He’s wiley and protective but not very loving. Nara, our adopted girl we share with the neighbor, is more like a friendly human stuck in a hairy dog body. She is emotional, smart and curious.  But Boo, well Boo was the only real dog-dog around.

As a real-dog he it was his responsibility to eat every gross thing on the beach and roll in smelly goat carcasses that he’d pull out of the neighbor’s trash.

Maybe it was because he was a loved puppy or maybe it was just in his mixed mutt breed, but he was a loyal and sweet creature.

We had a few close scares with mysterious illnesses (probably caused from some particularly nasty beach meals), but we knew something was really amiss when he stopped being his friendly self and refused to eat. The great drama was that we weren’t sure what the problem was. The district vet came and gave him medicine but he was convinced that Boo had rabies. He told us that typically rabies symptoms include aggressive behavior and roaming at the mouth, but alternatively it can make a dog sensitive to light, physically uncomfortable and reclusive. Those symptoms fit the bill. 

The worst part was that the vet would not allow us to put him down immediately. He gave him a vaccine and said that if it was really rabies, then Boo’s behavior would show more typical signs and only then we could put him down. It was important to do this because he needed to confirm the case and report it to the government. (Sounds like a really awful idea in hindsight to induce aggressive behavior and keep him around but we weren’t really given another option.) So Boo was tied him up away from the other dogs while we waited to see if he got better or worse. We were all hoping that he’d perk up and prove that he just had a bad bout of food poisoning but sadly he only got worse, and with after 3 days of suffering he died.

His passing came just a week after Sonia’s death and again it was a stark reminder of some of the harsh realities of life in Mozambique. We’ve inquired with the state vet about the tests to see if it was rabies but have yet to hear back.  We’ve been told by others that it’s very unlikely we’ll ever hear, since the government does not want to post statistics on how bad the rabies problem is in the country. Even though his life was short, I’m glad that we got to give him a good life while he was here.

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Sonia

It’s been a long time since I added a post and it’s not that Okay?Okay! hasn’t been on my mind. It’s just that, honestly, I don’t know where to start. The last three months have been a rollercoaster ride of great highs and real lows.

I’ve had 5 visitors come visit me and I’ve done some fantastic traveling; through Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and back. And while I want to review all these great highlights, I am still struggling with how to write about the more serious moments. They are important too. It feels wrong not to address them or to pretend  that my experience in Mozambique has not been shaped by some of the more sad realities of life and death in Africa.

The most serious news is that my counterpart passed away in June. Sonia was not only my main colleague in the arts and crafts sector at CARE, but she was also my next door neighbor and friend. Although we had the occasional communication breakdown and frustration, she was an asset to the SEED Project and was dedicated wholeheartedly to the improvement of rural women’s lives in Mozambique. We were all shocked by her sudden death and left reeling while the future of the arts sector seemed vulnerable and uncertain.

Sonia was only 33 years old. She had a 16-year-old son and a great fiancé. She was building a house and planning to open a store when the project ended next year.  My heart sinks when I think of her family these days and I wonder how they are rebuilding their lives and coming to terms with this tragedy.  I’m sure they miss her incredibly and there is no way to replace a mother or life partner, but I have found that Mozambicans are particularly stoic when it comes to loss.  Every Mozambican I have met has experienced deep sorrow at some point in his or her life whether it was during the gruesome civil war or at the hands of HIV. But I am living in a country of survivors and deep misfortune is met with great courage and maturity.

Three months later, things here are strangely almost back to normal. I was a bit of a mess after Sonia’s first week gone – trying to figure what was done, what was not, and what responsibilities were to be divided and absorbed. In true African fashion her death was met with deep sympathy and a sense of realism and pragmatism – probably one of the more efficient transitions I’ve seen since I got here.

I think of Sonia often and still struggle to fully realize and understand that she is really gone. It is a surreal feeling to lose such a young friend, but I am ever grateful that she was apart of my life, even for a short time,  and she will always be ingrained in my memories of Mozambique.

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