Friday, April 14, 2006

Stranger Than Fiction

On the way to Rugerero for the closing ceremonies of genocide memorial week, our car came upon a big group of people on the side of the road. With all the people walking along the road that day, I imagined that it had to be a pedestrian accident. We stopped the car.

As it turns out, truth is stranger than fiction. A child had been chasing a blind cow out of the road, and the cow fell headfirst into a 3 foot-by-3 foot drainage hole.

Nine people were trying to haul the poor thing out of the hole, pulling on its back legs and its tail as it howled in agony. It was too heavy (and certainly unwieldy), so they sought the help of our Land Cruiser. Using some old rope and wire, they attached one of the cow’s legs to the car and we drove forward. The rope snapped several times.

While everyone was struggling, half of Gisenyi drove by, and asked us how we could be so careless as to hit a cow. No one believed that we just stopped to help!

Someone found some new rope, and this time, it held. After more heaving, we pulled Blind Bessie out of the hole. Her back legs were bloody from the irritation of the rope, and she was moaning in agony. But we managed to save her, and it looks like she’ll probably survive. The villagers were immensely thankful. I think it can safely be said that that was probably the first time in UNHCR history that a blind cow was rescued!


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