"Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive...then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
Howard Thurman

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mark, Emily and Crazy Hen

One of the post-quake changes I find most interesting is the shift in animal locations.  They are almost as homeless as the hundreds of thousands of people here.  We've always noticed the large population of goats, chickens (especially roosters that crow 24/7), pigs, and even sheep living in the city.  Pre-quake they seemed to be inside people's yards.  Now it's a free for all with animals roaming the streets at all hours of day and night. The assumption is that fences and walls were knocked down and people had other things to worry about at the time.  I regularly have pigs and goats wandering through meetings in the camps.  When asked how people know to whom they belong the reply is always, "everyone knows".

Most fascinating to me are the chickens that found their way to the Healing Hands guesthouse.  We first met two of them at the end of February as cute little chicks.  They didn't appear to have a mother so were quickly adopted by the guest house staff and named Mark and Emily (it turns out they are both hens but the names stuck).  Mercia, who happens to be an amazing cook, fed them by hand and then lifted them up into a tree just before dark every night.  Fast forward five months... they are full grown but still follow Mercia around, including into the kitchen.  Last weekend I noticed the new puppy (Gracie) with Mark, patiently sitting under Mercia watching her prepare dinner.  

Mark and Emily remain closely connected and have picked up a friend that we call Crazy Hen -  strictly based on her behavior.  Every night at dusk around 5:30 (we're close to the equator so it's dark at 6pm year round) Mark, Emily and Crazy Hen prepare to launch themselves into the same tree they were lifted into during chickhood.  I honestly had no idea chickens could fly like that - and land on a tiny branch where they roost for the night.  Every time I watch it I remember my favorite episode of WKRP in Cincinnati when Les Nesman and Herb Tarlek do a Thanksgiving grocery store promotion.  They rent a plane to fly over the store and drop turkeys to the surprised but excited customers below.  The quote Les makes as reporting from below with turkeys slamming into the ground all around him is, "As God is my witness I thought turkeys could fly".  

The sad postscript to this story is that this morning at breakfast I noticed the tree our chicken pets live in had four enormous branches missing. Literally 2/3 of the tree, gone.  When asked, the staff reported that because the chickens were sleeping in the tree and the tree was over the patio the chickens were pooping on the patio.  The obvious solution to the problem was to cut down the tree.  In a largely deforested country I thought I was going to cry but decided it might be better to try to explain.  I hope they understood.  BTW - I watched Mark, Emily and Crazy Hen move into another tree tonight.

Emily waiting for Mark to leave the kitchen.
Mark, Emily and Crazy Hen getting ready to launch into the tree.
Mark, waiting for his friends to join him so they can snuggle in for the night.

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