During the middle of our clinic week in Nigeria, I had the opportunity to go on a field trip.
After breakfast, I ran over to the hospital and got registration set up. The volunteers hadn’t all arrived yet, so I left before they were able to start. After I concluded that everything was in order, I went to find Sarah, our veterinarian. Each day she spent her morning out in the bush treating cows for the nomadic Fulani tribe. And I got to go with her.
We squeezed into a little pickup; a driver, a security officer (he had a big gun), the Fulani chief, Sarah, a pastor who spoke the language and went along to help, the local vet tech, me, and a number of other young guys who helped out. It was a fun ride. At one point we were literally driving through a field. Slightly bumpy. I’m not sure how the driver decided where to stop, since we weren’t necessarily on a road anyway, but he would pick a place, and we would get out. Then they mixed the medications to use for the animals at that location. As far as I know, it was mostly deworming and things of that sort (and an antibiotic?), but I’m not all up on my animal medication classifications, so I’m not entirely sure.
Sarah had me watch her give a few shots, and then she handed me the syringe. A young guy named Gideon (I think) carried the bucket of medication for me, and took the cap off of my syringes for me when my hands got to slippery. It was a pretty exciting morning. I’ve given plenty of shots to people, but I’d never given one to an animal before. It wasn’t vastly different though.
Pretty early on in the morning I got stepped on by a cow, but it wasn’t too serious. Just a reminder that cows are large creatures, and I’m a small person. We kept going, and I got to hold a baby sheep and cuddle a little calf. Day made.
After we finished at the first location, we drove on further and got to another site with more people, and more cows and sheep. These cows were a lot rougher. A reflection of how they are handled, I was told. They didn’t make me give the shot to the huge bull that went crashing into the brush and fell down in an attempt to escape while they were trying to catch him. I was cool with that. Somewhere along the line I got stepped on again, this time a little harder. Took my toe awhile to recover. In addition, as the day went on I began to turn red and crispy. It was pretty sunny. At the last place we went, I was trying to give a shot to one disagreeable cow. She was not pleased, and she kicked me. I was a little shocked. Again, a reminder that cows are large creatures. I was very excited though, when I got home and discovered that I had a nice purple bruise just above my knee, extending in patches halfway up my thigh.
Now, a couple of weeks later, I just have a farmers tan, and slight remnants of a bruise. Oh, and pictures of myself with baby livestock. :)