The goats at Papa’s house.

The goats at Papa’s house are so darn cute!
There are somewhere between 3 to 6 of them – I’m not sure of the exact number because they run away when I get too close, especially when Sheba is around. There is a black one, a brown and white one, a mostly brown one, and I think a mostly white one with brown patches. At least two of them are pregnant, I think. I really should know, since I am an OB/GYN, but I’m not a goat doctor, plus I don’t even know for sure if they are female, as I can’t get close enough. It might be that they are just full of grass, or poop!
Anyway, I’m hoping they are pregnant, because all I can think about are the cute baby goats that will be here soon, hopefully just in time for the kids to get mesmerized by baby goat cuteness, further solidifying their love of Sierra Leone!
There used to be more goats, but sometime last year, thieves jumped over the fence, went through the roof of the barn where they are kept at night, and bonically lifted up and stole 2 adult goats! Obviously an inside job by folks who are familiar with our home – my Dad doubled the height of the back fence after that to make it goat proof.
The goats have a pretty idyllic life. They get let out of the barn in the morning and roam the compound the whole day, exploring the nooks and crannies and climbing the landscaped areas surrounding the fence, where there are all kinds of goat delicacies like flowers, banana plants, tamarind plants, mango trees and other fruit trees. There is also a guy who cuts and brings long strands of fresh green grass everyday for the goats to eat. He sets it up in the old tennis court that is now a goat play area. The goats know him well and run towards him when he comes through the gate.
There are also dogs, but somehow, they have learned to co-exist well with the goats and they don’t bother each other. I’m not confident that Sheba will get to bond with the goats on that level – only time will tell!
The function of the goats is not entirely clear – they are part pets, part potential barbeque material. Now that the grand-kids are coming, I am sure their chances of being eaten in the future will drop down to close to zero, because once they receive names, it will be pretty difficult to explain their disappearance. It is part of the reason why I can’t eat goat meat or lamb for that matter – baby goats and baby sheep are just too darn cute for me to enjoy lamb chops! Shekou, you have been duly put on notice, since you are a lamp chop aficionado!
There is also a crocodile at home, at least a couple of years old, rescued as a baby when someone brought him/her by and he/she was noted to have a mouth injury. The crocodile is in a concrete enclosure and fed fish and water. The dilemma now is what to do with the crocodile – I don’t even want to think about it!
There have been many animals over the years. My dad is an animal lover and has a penchant for rescuing them from wherever he would travel through the country. Over the years, there were so many animals that he brought home.
There was Bubu the baboon who was really smart and knew how to open and escape from his enclosure, but would only do it on weekends when everyone was home, so that he could run around and terrorize us around lunchtime.
There was Edward the adult chimpanzee who nearly bit my middle finger off as a child. I was trying to remove a snail that one of my brothers had put into his cage to terrorize him with (chimps are scared of snails), when he grabbed and bit me! Thankfully I kept the finger but I have limited sensation in it – having all the fingers in my right hand has been very useful in my career as a gynecologic surgeon so praise the Lord for that!
There was a baby chimpanzee who was bitten by Edward and did not survive long.
Our neighbor across the street had the most famous chimp of all, Tom Babu. Tom had been around for years before I left home and was still there until a few years ago, before he was taken to the chimpanzee sanctuary. He is still there now and is probably around 45 years old. Tom also had his share of biting, and he bit a chunk off my sister Namina’s hand when she was a child. We all loved him though, and would visit him and bring him mangoes, coconuts, oranges, bananas, and pawpaw leaves every time we came home to visit. The bottom line with all the biting is – chimps do not make good pets – thankfully, I think we have learned that lesson!
There were also a myriad of other monkey pets – AA monkey, Chico, the list was endless, and they were of various sizes, species, colors, and temperaments.
There were also different freetambo which are some kind of deer, some small cat-like animals, and of course sheep, chickens, etc.
Papa also had horses, but in his Makeni house, never in his Freetown house.
Our home was a literal zoo, and it was truly an amazing experience growing up. We will not be replicating that in our home, however! We will limit the pets to Sheba and maybe another puppy and a cat. We will leave the exotic animals for Papa’s house.

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