Barking on Zorro

Indima was happily riding Zorro, when all of a sudden she heard a dog barking, and happily pretended to be a dog. Video by @debrajoykahn (story continued from yesterday’s post).

I was so deep in conversation that I failed to notice a young woman walk by; on her head she carried a large metal bowl filled with freshly-ground millet. “Clang!” fell the bowl, spilling the millet into the sand. Unhappy cries followed. The woman, flabbergasted to see you holding the rope and me speaking with the donkey, had lost her balance. I looked up just in time to witness her tearful distress, as she labored frenziedly to scoop up the top layer of grain, its sweet scent permeating the street. Men and women from all sides chuckled — though some felt badly for the woman, I’m sure. Millet is so expensive, and quite possibly 20 kilos of it lay on the ground. I was tempted to let Zorro eat the remainder. One guy snapped a photo of us with his phone. Over the past month, we have become the neighborhood “live series”. People stop their taxis just to take a photo or shoot a video of us with Zorro. I am told that we have become stars on Nigerien social media.

I stood up, taking the rope from your little hand, while placing you on his back. With everyone observing our next moves, I secretly prayed that Zorro would heed my request. Please don’t make me lose face in front of all these people. I gently tugged on his rope.  Drum roll, please… he moved.  He walked.  He even walked swiftly. A real donkey trot! I held my head up proudly.

From then on, any time he slowed down, I’d stop and whisper gentle words in his ear, all the while caressing his ears or muzzle. Your mommy has become “the donkey whisperer”. Post that on Facebook, Nigeriens!