Hi, I’m back! Put the kettle on, pour yourself a cuppa, and travel with me to the wilds of Zimbabwe.
Mum and I spent our days grazing on whatever grass and bushes we could find. We stayed close to our village, always on the lookout for hyenas and other predators. With water and food being so hard to find, we were all becoming weaker. The nasty smelly hyenas knew this, and skulked in the shadows hoping for an easy meal. My dear mum was getting very old. Her ears had started to sag, and her teeth were wearing out. In the last fifteen years she’d brought twelve foals into the world, but only I and one other had survived.
The rest of my brothers and sisters had been eaten by hyenas; see why I hate those creatures so much?
Mum’s previous owner didn’t know what had become of my siblings, he just thought mum wasn’t a good breeding mare, so he sold her.
But this owner, my owner too, would never sell us. He showed us so much love, and he worked so hard to buy mum. He chopped wood, sold it, and saved every dollar he made.
He didn’t know much about caring for a donkey when he got her, but he was
prepared to learn. Mum loved him dearly. He was the first human to ever show her kindness.
He was a young man who owned very little. Two sets of clothes, a holey old jacket and two shoes. I say two shoes because they weren’t a pair. The left was a size 7, the right a size 9, and his feet were size 8, so one was too big, the other too small.
Every morning and evening he took mum and I to the village well for a drink. As I
got bigger he made me a harness using old rope and cloth. He’d place it on my back
and balance cans of water on it so I’d learn to help carry the water from the
well back to the house for his family. I enjoyed doing this as it made me feel important. At the end of my training he’d gather seed pods from high branches neither mum nor I could reach, so we’d have something to eat.
As days turned to weeks and then months, I grew bigger and stronger. I was
learning what I would need to do to help my owner and his family, and when I saw how the other donkeys in the village were treated by their humans, I was so thankful my owner was loving and caring. I saw most of the other donkeys being beaten, and left to find their own water and food after working in the roasting sun all day. Sometimes, they had to walk far from the village to where the nasty hyenas were waiting.
To begin with my master called me Pikinini, but that was what called anything small. One day, while walking to the well, he announced my name would be “Mkuru Ndoda,” which means “Big Man.” This was because I’d grown so big because he took such good care of me!
Whenever he needed me, he’d call my name and whistle, and I’d gallop to him.
My training continued and at first it was hard to balance and carry the containers of water. But as my back got stronger it became easier. My muscles developed, and my owner hitched me into a cart so I could get used to wearing a harness. The harness attached to a long pole that would pull the cart.
Let me tell you, it sure took a lot of getting used to! It was a heavy weight pulling on my back, there were chains attached to my harness, the cart was close to my back legs, and I was scared the cart would roll too fast when going down hill and run into me! But my master needed to prepare me for my working days, and they were approaching fast. All the other young donkeys my age in our village had already been working hard for a long time. Many of them were already injured, some so badly they could never work again! Those ones were left to look after themselves; their
master’s didn’t care if they lived or died.
I was so very lucky to have an owner that loved and took care of me.
That’s all for this post, but I’ll be back soon! If you are enjoying my story, don’t forget to share!