November 14th – onwards and upwards…. again…. and again… and again…

Workshop number 2 was to begin at 9am… which meant we thought we should eat at 7am, so that we could begin walking at 8am, to arrive by 9am. However, due to technical cooking difficulties (which we don’t really comprehend) breakfast wasn’t started until 8am, which meant we ate at 8:30am and didn’t leave until 8:50am. Ironically we were still the first ones there…

In fact we had time for tea, and for the headmaster to clean the area we would be teaching in, before the first participant even arrived. We discussed randomly going out and grabbing people to participate at one point because we didn’t want to talk to the wall, although we would have been willing to talk to the goats. They potentially would be more excited about everything we say than some of the people we talk to.

The group this time round includes a woman, which we were very excited about! And some very interested young men. It also includes an older gentleman who because he has a friend who is a “veterinarian”, feels he knows everything there is to know about all things medical. So far we have managed to rein in our urges to keep him under control. Tomorrow during the clinic may be a different story.

Discussions today were a little more like pulling teeth than our previous group, however this bunch has a much better grasp of English, and so they seem to understand what we are saying and only look to Sangita for details in translation. This has caused some hilarity as they understand what we are saying, and we have no clue when they are making jokes (sometimes at our expense).

Throughout the day Tonic had a devoted group of child followers… this included the walk to the school, as well as during the sessions, and going home. The most interesting situation occurred when she attempted to go to the washroom, and wound up with what amounted to a small village escorting her there, and then patiently waiting for her re-emergence from the building. One almost expected them to break out into applause and song and dance at her appearance. Gin got to go alone.

The practical sessions also didn’t go quite as planned, as the initial exam was to be on a buffalo. Unfortunately the one we were going to look at wanted to kill us, so we were deciding what type of restraint to use when suddenly some random guy decided to go get his buffalo because she was “well behaved”. So after finishing the exam on the calf, we went to the main square where he had brought his cow and she was definitely NOT well-behaved. Add to the issue there was no where to secure her, and a pile of rusting metal bars that were tetanus wounds waiting to happen, and WE were having none of it. So the gentleman suggested we go to his house where he tied her to a short stake…. And still there was nowhere to restrain her, and no one was willing to assist in tying her. Needless to say we did not examine a buffalo today. We did get to examine a very patient goat. Her kids were not patient, and seemed to understand what was in store, so every time they were caught, they ran away. Even the chickens made themselves scarce, which is the first time we have ever seen chickens disappear here.

After the session we were asked to go visit some sick goats. We said no. We were very proud of ourselves, since this was the first time we have been able to use that word here. Of course the only reason we felt comfortable doing so was because Sudarshan’s brother had asked us to look at his buffalo, who supposedly had a prolapsed uterus. On arrival, she too wanted to kill us (what is it with all of these herbivores wanting to eat meat… the community doesn’t eat them, so really they should be much more loving towards us). However, she was moving around enough Tonic could assess that she was not in a poor state. Her calf on the other hand was trying to die. Gin’s examining of it elicited an attempt to nurse, however it was very weak and dehydrated. This made Tonic excited at the potential opportunity to tube feed it, but no one was capable of grasping either the necessity, or the action. So… it is likely we will be passing a dead calf tomorrow…

Our walk home today was actually in daylight! And we were escorted all the way by Tonic’s entourage, which seems to grow and change like an amoeba with every few steps. At least we are feeling well loved.

Now we are contemplating dirty socks and smelly scrubs. But washing things is somewhat more complicated than simply throwing them into the machine – and the idea of trekking over to the communal shower pipe in the dark for clothing is less appealing than when it was about us getting clean. So it is likely we will just continue to be smelly.

Hope you all are feeling as well loved as we are today.

More soon.

GTS xoxo

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