Day Five: Ants in Pants and Pelibuey in Arms
So a vague itch turned into a strange burn and then a rapid panic. The next thing I knew, I was dancing around inside a latrine shaking off red ants that had somehow scurried up my pants legs. Mosquitoes I prepared for. Ants? Not so much.
Ant-free, I rejoined the team as they prepared to meet a family who will be featured in our Offering of Letters video. German (pronounced “Herman”) and his wife, Fidelina, showed us around their farm. They’re one of the families working with Acción Médica Cristiana, our hosts here in La Dalia, to learn new agricultural techniques and, ultimately, to purchase this land from A.M.C.
Besides a variety of fruits and vegetables and a small parcel of coffee (which won’t be harvested for two years), they also grow many herbs and plants that are used for medicinal purposes. Fidelina gave me ginger root straight from the ground to chew to fight my lingering cough. Other families from the surrounding community come to her for similar remedies. Not a bad idea when the closest farmacia is more than 15 miles down a mountainside.
We met their oldest daughter, 15-year-old Esther, as she walked home from school. Esther is beautiful and poised, and seemed completely unflustered when a bunch of gringos greeted her with the request that she pose for a photograph holding a baby pelibuey. This is my new favorite animal. (Red ants are out of the running...) A pelibuey is a cross between a sheep and a goat. Someone called it a naked sheep, and that’s about right.
There was an 8-day-old kid pelibuey at the farm, and Richard, our photographer, asked Esther to cradle it for some shots. First someone had to wrangle the thing. The mother was not happy that we took her baby away, and she voiced her displeasure the whole time. Richard described the sound a pelibuey makes: it’s like an old man throwing up. You’ll be able to hear the sound in a future Bread for the World podcast thanks to our intrepid multimedia associate, who will interview anyone or anything.
Fifteen minutes of an angry mama pelibuey making that noise. Horrible.
But Esther posed patiently, Richard got his shots, the baby ran back to its mama, and the kid-napping was over.
Kimberly Burge is Bread for the World's senior writer/editor.
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