Amongst all my recent frustrations I do have one shining light that comes in the form of a baby antelope called Latte. He came to us a couple of weeks ago. A lady turned up at the compound with him saying the mother ran off leaving him. I’d had a very bad night the night before and had not slept. I’d been up since 4am and was in desperate need of coffee. So in the middle of the night I battled the bugs zooming into my headlamp while I searched the store room for the blessed black beans, alas, to no avail. By 8am I finally asked the logistician and discovered we were out! Not surprising!
Anyway, this little fellow arrived and lifting our spirits was named Latte. We discussed it, and thinking I could let him go in Gambella national park in a day or two, bought him for 200 birr ($10). As it was he really must have been only a day or two old as he had no teeth and so is still with us today.
He is truly beautiful and brings a lot of joy to everyone who sees him. He’s about two-foot-high, a red brown body with black and cream legs and ears. I started by feeding him some powdered milk three times a day, which he took to, drinking from a bowl immediately.
He sleeps in the old chook house safely locked away from the genet and wild dogs. During the day he is often found sleeping in my tukul! When I go to the toilet, he waits at the step, when I have a shower he sits at the door. He really is attached only to me which is a problem as when I’m out on the clinic, he won’t drink from anyone else! When I got back from Ninenyang at 6pm, he greeted me bleating madly, flanks sunken and dry as a chip. The team told me they had tried to feed him but he refused!
Yesterday when I was seeking some solitude, I climbed in the boat, which is my favorite spot. Latte was running back and forth on the dock, next thing he leapt into the boat, back legs getting caught on the side, dangling precariously half in, half out! Crazy!
Each day I walk over to the Health Centre and he follows closely, no lead, just the clip-clop of his two pronged hoofs following closely. All the kids come running, adults too, for a quick pat and glimpse of the white lady and her antelope. The patients, caretakers and staff all love him and are happy to see him and he brightens their day too. So I’ve been looking for someone to take him for over a week as we have no grass in the compound and he really needs to be with other animals, although the goats are afraid of him. The problem is that both domestic and wild dogs will kill him. Nearly everyone who has goats has a dog to protect them. But he is eating grass now and has a few little teeth coming so I hope to find him a new home soon. Not that I want him to go but MSF can’t be seen to be keeping wild animals!