Thursday, March 6, 2014

What happens when an animal is stolen in Africa?

If you have visited Burkina Faso or have seen pictures then you have probably wondered..."with all those animals running around in the street, how do people know which ones are theirs and how would they notice if someone stole one of their animals?"

This week we got an inside look at animal theft and how it is handled. Barto, one of our beloved boys at the orphanage came to us saying that he needed a picture of his father's donkey. Someone had stolen their donkey and they knew who had it, but needed proof that it was theirs. Many people have visited Barto's fathers home in the village and, as luck would have it, many pictures have been taken with the donkey.

All week long Barto and his father went back and forth to the Gendarme (military police). After the first time he brought pictures, they said that they wanted more pictures. We sent a few emails out and received more pictures. This alone is very interesting because #1: out in the bush who has a camera? and #2: if someone in the bush had a camera, who would use it to take a picture of their donkey? We really felt that Barto had a fighting chance of proving that the donkey was his father's. There were distinguishing marks on the donkey that were clearly in the pictures.

All of this was not enough. Its seems that they called in the donkey's mother and a veterinarian to determine if this donkey was in fact the mother of Barto's donkey. When I heard this I figured that things must be pretty slow for the Gendarme if they are going to perform a paternity test on a donkey. Barto told us that they looked in the mouth of the maternal donkey and were able to determine how old she was and how many children that she had. Then they looked in the mouth of the stolen donkey and came to the conclusion that they could not prove that the donkey was theirs. Hmmm.

Today, Barto came to us saying that although he knows the truth, he is going to end fighting with the Gendarme, and he is at peace. There is a saying here..."WAWA". It means West Africa Wins Again.

There is another often used expression in French..."Ca va aller". It translates literally "it's going to go", but it means "everything is going to be alright". He doesn't know it yet, but Barto will be getting a new donkey.